What you don’t know can hurt you. And what you think you know can hurt you even more.
There are some first-aid myths out there that have been around for so long, people think they are legitimate. Most of them are not.
In times of major crises, it’s every person for themselves. It could take hours, even days, for professional medical help to arrive if you’re physically harmed. Therefore, it’s key that you know how to attend to your own medical needs.
For starters, let’s fact check eight widely believed first-aid myths. Not only are they unhelpful, some are downright harmful. Here’s what NOT to do:
- Use Butter or Ice for a Burn – Absolutely not. Mark this down as an old wives’ tale. The butter will make it difficult for doctors to treat the burn later, and ice will only make the damage worse. Be sure to pour cool water over the burn and check in with your doctor.
- Booze Will Prevent Hypothermia – This might seem to work for actors in the movies, but it’s completely false. Alcohol does nothing to the temperature of your body. Because it impairs your judgment, you can become so inebriated that you no longer feel the cold. But that’s about it. If you’re looking to fight the cold, consider drinking something hot.
- Pee on a Jellyfish Sting – Instead of easing the pain of a sting, urine can do quite the opposite – making the sting much worse. Experts say you should remove the stinger. Then rinse the area with saltwater and apply vinegar or a baking soda paste (with sea water) for about 20 minutes. Then take a hot shower. To relieve the pain, you can apply calamine lotion or a mild hydrocortisone to the affected area. Some also use oral antihistamine for relief.
- Use Peroxide and Let It Breathe – How often have you been told to put peroxide on a cut and then just let it “air out?” Studies show this isn’t the wisest action to take. Some experts say peroxide does more harm than good. There are cells in your body that fend off germs and bacteria trying to enter the wound. But some authorities say peroxide kills these cells. Stick to soap and water to clean the wound. Then add antibiotic ointment and bandage the affected area. The quicker you protect the wound, the less likely dirt can infect it. Be sure to change the bandage twice a day.
- If Something Is in Your Eye, Just Rub It – Some people have the idea that if you rub your eyes, tears will wash out anything that’s in your eyes. What they’re forgetting is that the rubbing can cause irritation or a serious scratch. It’s always best to rinse the eye out with water.
- Use Home Remedies for Allergic Reactions to Bee Stings – No, no, no. If someone is having an allergic reaction to a bee sting, the longer you play doctor, the longer their life is at risk. Take them to the physician immediately. If you notice breathing complications, call 911.
- A Raw Steak on a Bruised Eye – Save your steaks for a nice dinner. You’d be better off grabbing any bag of frozen vegetables. The goal is to put something cold on a bruised eye, while also making sure it’s clean. Raw meat can carry E. coli. The last thing you want with your black eye is an eye infection.
- Head Injury? By All Means Stay Awake – And last but not least… Many are told to stay awake if they have an injury to their head. But this does absolutely nothing to treat the injury. It is, however, important that someone keeps an eye on the injured person.