Top 5 First Aid Myths

first aid myths

Many first aid myths exist that can cloud an individual’s judgment, making it exceedingly difficult to avoid mistakes. Fortunately, we’re here to debunk some of the most common first aid myths – here are five first aid myths that you need to know about.

1: Throwing back an individual’s head can stop a nosebleed.

A nosebleed may seem like a minor problem, but the issue can escalate quickly. And even though you might have heard that throwing back an individual’s head may stop a nosebleed; this myth is false.

Emergency medicine physician Richard O’Brien tells WebMD that tipping an individual’s head back after he or she suffers a nosebleed can be dangerous. In fact, doing so may cause blood to move into the lungs and affect an individual’s breathing, O’Brien says.

If an individual suffers a nosebleed, you should apply pressure to the fleshy part of the nose. In addition, O’Brien notes if a nosebleed lasts beyond 10 minutes, it is essential to contact advanced medical personnel for assistance.

2:  Applying only a cold compression to a twisted knee or ankle will heal the injury.


Twisting a knee or ankle may occur if an individual is running or playing outdoors. In this scenario, it is crucial to do everything possible to heal the injury correctly.

If an individual twists his or her knee or ankle, resting the injured area is paramount. Also, this person should apply ice to the affected area for about 20 minutes for the first 24 hours after the injury and keep the injured area elevated during this time.

Of course, if pain persists beyond 24 hours after the injury, you should contact advanced medical personnel.

3: You can squeeze out the stinger from a bee sting.

If an individual is stung by a bee, the consequences may be fatal, particularly if this person is allergic to bee stings.

It may be tempting to try to remove the stinger of a bee sting by hand, but doing so may cause severe problems. O’Brien notes squeezing the stinger may cause its venom to move into a person’s body, and as such, could be fatal.

Comparatively, O’Brien recommends using a credit card to scrape the stinger away. And if an individual’s skin turns red or he or she struggles to breathe due to a bee sting, call 911.

4: Applying butter to a burn can soothe the skin.

Treat a burn with cold water – not butter. By doing so, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of infection. Also, butter or other greasy ointments or foods may cause additional damage as they reduce the release of heat, which is beneficial in the healing process.

Furthermore, if severe blistering or swelling of the skin occurs after you treat a burn with water, be sure to visit a doctor for additional support.

5: A tourniquet offers the best option to treat a bleeding extremity.

A tourniquet may seem like a good idea to stop a bleeding extremity, but it actually can cause permanent damage to a limb.

Typically, a tourniquet will stop the flow of blood and should be used in severe emergencies only. As an alternative, you can use sterile gauze to pad a wound, apply direct pressure to it and wrap the wound securely.

Want to put other first aid myths to rest? Enroll in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes at SureFire CPR, and you can learn a wide range of life-saving skills.


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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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