Toothpaste for a burn? Definitely not!

Toothpaste for a burn? How about butter?

These ill-advised myths, along with many others, were debunked during an Emergency First Aid and CPR course I took yesterday in Toronto.

Like many others who attend first aid courses, I was there because I am required to take first aid and CPR courses as part of my work – as a communications delegate with the Emergency Response Unit field hospital, it is mandatory to have first aid certification. Yesterday, I renewed my certification with a Red Cross training partner called First Aid 4 U.

During the class, I remembered different times in the past when I needed first aid. In so many of those instances, there has been a lot of misinformation or myths – all of which were clarified in class.dcreoezdi-1-(2).jpeg

Take burns, for example. About 10 years ago, while travelling in South East Asia, I stepped off a motor bike and burned the outside of my leg on the exhaust. A blister the size of an egg ballooned, and many people told me to put toothpaste on it. Actually, this common myth is a no-no because it seals the heat in when you should be running water on it and cooling it off.

And how many think that holding your head back is the right thing for a nosebleed? Just last week, my nose started to bleed and a friend advised me to do just that. Thankfully, I remembered from previous first aid classes what to do. I pinched it and tilted my head a little forward.


The list of times I’ve had to use first aid goes on – recently, I saw a young man faint in a restaurant and helped move him into a recovery position, and just a few months ago, I called 911 and assisted an elderly woman who fell in the middle of an intersection. I remember another time when a friend cut herself on the lid of a tin can and I was able to wrap it up and take her to the hospital for stitches.

The one common thing in all of these incidents is that they all happened in my personal time. So, while first aid training is mandatory for so many of us through our work, it’s been my experience that I’ve used it more often outside of work – a great reminder that we could all benefit from a first aid course!
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