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First Aid Mistakes That Are More Dangerous Than You Think

Do you know the first thing to do if you burn your hand on the stove? If you run to the fridge for butter or ice to put on it, be aware that both are the wrong things to use. To help dispel common misconceptions about first aid measures, Reader’s Digest has offered up seven suggestions for properly treating injuries in health care emergencies. Cautions include not removing gauze from a bleeding wound, and not putting heat on a sprain or fracture.

Unfortunately, proper first aid techniques are not something you want to learn “on the job,” as it’s important to do the right thing, right away. For example, running cool water on the burn you got over the stove is the correct procedure — save the ice for treating a sprain. Another thing that I believe is important to know is CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which gives emergency treatment to someone in cardiac arrest until medical professionals can take over.

Cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction of the heart that may be triggered by a blockage to one of the coronary arteries or from an electrical condition. An irregular heartbeat will disrupt blood flow to your brain, lungs and other organs, leading to death. When CPR is performed in the first minutes after a heart has stopped it can double or triple the person's chance of survival.

These are some of the signs you may look for to determine that someone may need CPR: Someone appears fine one minute and you see or hear them collapse; you check for a heartbeat at the carotid artery and can't find a pulse; a near drowning victim who is not responsive and/or doesn't appear to be breathing; you don't see or hear any respirations (breathing); you don't get a response from shaking, yelling and otherwise looking for a response; look for eye movements, sounds from the mouth or movement of the arms or legs.
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