10 Common First Aid Myths That May Seriously Injure You

This article debunks 10 common first aid myths that may seriously injure or kill you, and what you should do instead.

While there are plenty of relevant information you can pick up from the internet, not all of them are going to be correct. It’s especially important to get accurate information on medical information for emergency situations. 

That’s why we need to debunk some popular first aid myths. Otherwise, administering the incorrect first aid treatment might lead to more serious injury or harm.

It’s also crucial that you contact 911 as soon as possible. Their operators are trained to keep callers calm and guide them through the proper procedures.

Let’s dive in.

Sprained Ankle First Aid Myth

Heat is only great for relieving sore and aching muscles, not for sprains. Applying heat to a sprain will only make the swelling worse. 

It’s important to know whether you’re only dealing with a sprain or if there’s bone fracture involved. However, this can only be determined with an X-ray. So what can you do to ease the pain in the meantime?

Instead of heat, apply ice on sprained area for about 20 minutes to relieve the swelling. But don’t apply the ice directly, otherwise your skin might get damaged. 

In case you don’t have the ready-to-use ice pack, you can simply put ice cubes in an ice bag or plastic bag. Make sure to wrap it in a thin towel or cloth to protect the skin from ice burns.

For the first 24 hours, use the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation).

2. Put Hot Water on Frozen Skin

When it comes to frostbite, the immediate tendency is to put the affected area under hot running water. However, this extreme contrast in temperatures is shocking to the system, and may cause burns and skin damage.

What you should do for mild frostbites is to gradually warm up the affected area by soaking it in warm water. Do this for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the numbness subsides and the color, more or less, goes back to normal.

3. Rubbing Alcohol Brings Down Fever

People mistakenly think that because rubbing alcohol has a cooling effect, rubbing it on someone with fever can help. However, the fact is that this can actually make the fever worse.

Because of this cooling sensation, the body interprets it as you getting cold. The body then sends out a signal to turn up your temperature even more, thereby making this myth more counterproductive than efficient.

This should especially be not applied to babies and children because of the high risk of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol is easily absorbed by the skin, and emits a strong smell that can irritate the nose and throat. 

Prolonged exposure through inhalation can also lead to respiratory issues later on.

To be safe, use a fever-reducing medication that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Contact your healthcare provider if you’re not sure what to do or if the fever won’t go down.

4. A Bandage Speeds Healing

Antibacterial ointment applied to a wound, and then covered with a bandage for a lengthy period of time, does not speed up healing. It does, however,  increase the amount of unnecessary moisture on the cut. 

Clean the wound and apply ointment to it, then allow it to recover in the open air. If a bandage is required to keep the wound hygienic, change it at least twice a day. 

When changing the bandage, keep the entire region clean and dry by using mild soap and water.

If you want to learn when it’s too late to use a butterfly bandage, click there.

5. Ipecac Syrup Can "Fix" Poisonous Chemical Ingestion

Ipecac syrup is a vomit-inducing medication widely believed to be an effective remedy for poisoning. 

However, researchers found that while the syrup is indeed effective in inducing vomiting, this doesn’t mean that it is able to treat the damage inflicted by the poison.

In fact, using Ipecac syrup for poisoning might even prove more harmful in certain cases, particularly those where chemicals that cause burns upon contact, or medication that cause seizures, are involved.

This medication is no longer available in the market, but in case you still have it in your home, it’s best that you dispose of it. Even the National Capital Poison Center recommends you doing so.

In case of poisoning, get assistance from a health professional or call Poison Control (800-222-1222) as soon as possible.

6. Butter Helps Burns

Butter on Burns First Aid Myth

If you’ve ever heard about putting butter on a burn for first aid, don’t do it! Any oily substance on a burn traps heat in the body, making it difficult for the burn to heal or be treated correctly.

If you have a burn, apply cold water to relieve the discomfort. After that, carefully dry the area and cover it loosely. Seek medical attention if the burn blisters change color or seem infected.

7. Hold Your Head Back For Bloody Noses

Do not hold back your nose when having a bloody nose. Doing so causes the blood to flow down the back of your throat. 

If you swallow it, you could get stomach irritation, which could further lead to vomiting. This, in turn, could aggravate or resume the nosebleed. 

What you should do is tilt forward and squeeze the fleshy section of their nostrils together for 10 minutes to treat nose bleeding. If blood does collect in your mouth and throat, simply spit it out. 

For nosebleeds in children, remind them to breathe through their mouths and spit any blood into a basin or tissue. Here is how to prevent it.

8. Stick Fingers Down Throat When Choking

Never put your fingers down someone’s throat — you might restrict the airway further or cause it to swell. Begin by bending the victim forward from the waist and delivering a Heimlich maneuver, or other variation of an abdominal thrust.

9. Urinate on Jellyfish Stings

Urinating on a jellyfish sting is not the healthiest solution, and any competent doctor would advise against it.

In actuality, peeing on a jellyfish sting will not relieve the discomfort, and may even trigger the jellyfish’s nematocysts to inject additional poison into the body. 

What’s been proven to be an effective first aid solution for this is to rinse the affected area with vinegar. Applying heat will also help alleviate pain and prevent the spread of venom.

10. Put Something in a Seizure Victims Mouth

Do not put anything in someone’s mouth if they are experiencing a seizure. This could cause more problems if they break the object and end up swallowing or choking on it. 

Don’t worry about their tongue; they can’t swallow it because there is tissue underneath that holds it in place. Your first concern should be to keep them safe until expert medical assistance comes, if necessary.


Here is a video containing more debunked myths, with the correct information on what you should actually do. Pay attention because they will definitely come in handy.


In this article, we debunked 10 common first aid myths. If you were surprised by any of them or liked this article, follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterestReddit, and Instagram. Also, consider sharing this content and subscribing to get 255 free ebooks.

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1 thought on “10 Common First Aid Myths That May Seriously Injure You”

  1. Wow, there’s so much to learn here. These suggestions can save lives, particularly for individuals who learned first aid from movies.


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