First Aid FAQs: Common Myths and Misconceptions

First aid is a critical skill that can save lives, but it's also an area riddled with myths and misconceptions. Knowing the facts can make a significant difference when providing assistance in emergencies. In this guide, we'll address some common myths and set the record straight on essential first aid topics.

Myth 1: Butter or Toothpaste Can Soothe Burns.

Fact: Applying butter, toothpaste, or other home remedies to burns is not recommended. These substances can introduce bacteria and may make the burn worse. The best approach is to cool the burn with running water for about 10 minutes and cover it with a sterile dressing.

Myth 2: You Should Tilt Your Head Back During a Nosebleed.

Fact: Tilting your head back during a nosebleed can cause blood to flow into your throat, which can lead to swallowing blood or choking. Instead, lean forward slightly, pinch your nostrils together, and breathe through your mouth. Apply gentle pressure for about 10 minutes.

Myth 3: Rubbing Alcohol or Hydrogen Peroxide Is Best for Cleaning Wounds.

Fact: Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can be too harsh for wound cleaning. Use mild soap and clean, running water to wash the wound. This helps reduce the risk of infection without damaging healthy tissue.

Myth 4: You Should Put Something in the Mouth of Someone Having a Seizure.

Fact: Never put anything in the mouth of someone having a seizure. It's a common misconception that people can swallow their tongue during a seizure, but this is not true. Instead, clear the area around the person to prevent injury, and let the seizure run its course. Afterward, help the person into a recovery position.

Myth 5: CPR Always Involves Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation.

Fact: CPR guidelines have evolved, and in many cases, hands-only CPR is recommended. It involves chest compressions without rescue breaths. Hands-only CPR is effective for adult victims of sudden cardiac arrest, and it's easier to perform for untrained bystanders.

Myth 6: You Should Tilt Your Head Back to Stop a Nosebleed.

Fact: Tilting your head back during a nosebleed can cause blood to flow into your throat and may lead to choking. Instead, lean slightly forward, pinch your nostrils together, and breathe through your mouth while applying gentle pressure to the bleeding nostril.

Myth 7: You Can Remove a Stinger from a Bee or Wasp Sting with Tweezers.

Fact: Using tweezers or your fingers to remove a stinger from a bee or wasp sting can actually squeeze more venom into the wound. Instead, gently scrape the stinger off sideways with a credit card or your fingernail.

Myth 8: CPR Can Restart the Heart.

Fact: CPR is not intended to restart a stopped heart. Its purpose is to circulate oxygenated blood to vital organs until professional medical help arrives. A defibrillator is typically needed to restore a normal heart rhythm in cases of sudden cardiac arrest.

Myth 9: You Should Wait for a Burn to Cool Before Treating It.

Fact: Immediate cooling of a burn is essential to prevent further tissue damage. Run cool (not cold) water over the burn for about 10 minutes to reduce heat and alleviate pain.

Myth 10: If Someone Is Choking, You Should Perform Back Blows Before Abdominal Thrusts.

Fact: Current guidelines recommend starting with abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) for choking victims before resorting to back blows. Abdominal thrusts are more effective at dislodging an obstruction in the airway.

By dispelling these common myths and misconceptions about first aid, you can ensure that your response to emergencies is based on accurate information. It's crucial to stay informed and updated on first aid techniques and guidelines to provide the best possible care in critical situations.

 CPR + First Aid Certification

Back to blog