Health | Did You Know

7 First Aid Mistakes You've Been Making That Hurt More Than They Help

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When you get a minor injury, you might think you know what to do about it. But here's the thing, a lot of us have been doing our basic first aid all wrong.

Whether it's the tricks our grandma taught us, or what they used to do in school, it turns out that they weren't always doing what was actually the best option, even though they thought it was.

There are a few things you've been doing all this time that have probably been detrimental to your recovery. Here are the first aid myths we've all been believing.

MYTH: Lean your head back when you have a nosebleed

We've all done it to try and stop the blood from dripping out of your nose, but it's actually really bad.

Doing this will cause the blood to drip back down your throat and can make you choke or get blood in your stomach.

What to do instead:

Instead of leaning back, lean forward while you pinch the bridge of your nose. Most nosebleeds should stop within ten minutes, if not, head to the ER after packing it with a tampon.

Pinching the bridge of the nose should help slow the blood flow, but even though it's kind of gross, it's better to have the blood drip forward than back!

MYTH: Put something in a seizing person's mouth to stop them from biting their tongue

There is a rumor that when someone is having a seizure you should try to put a wallet or belt in their mouth to clamp their teeth down on, but that's super dangerous.

They won't be able to bit off their tongue during an epileptic fit, even if they do bite it a little bit. But the strain you cause from forcing their mouth open or depending on what you put in their mouth can cause a lot of issues for their teeth.

What to do instead:

Instead of blocking their mouth at all, try to make sure their are no obstructions in the way and try to put something soft under their head to keep them safe from a concussion. Make sure someone calls 911, and if the seizure stops before the emergency services arrive, turn them on their side.

MYTH: Putting ice or butter on a burn

I've heard this one countless times, put butter on a burn and it'll stop stinging. Well, as it turns out, putting any kind of home remedies can actually trap the heat inside the burn and make it worse.

As for ice, the goal is to get your skin back to its usual temperature, and using ice will make it too cold, too quickly, and can be damaging.

What to do instead:

Run the burn under cool water for several minutes before you do anything else. After that, you can dress it with gauze before seeking medical care if it's serious enough. If it's a minor burn, you can apply antibiotic ointment after a little while, but don't rush it.

MYTH: If you cut the tip of your finger off, putting it in ice will save it

While it's partially true, the important thing is HOW you put it on ice. Say you're chopping veggies and slice off the tip of your finger, don't just throw it in a container full of ice.

What to do instead:

Instead, wrap the severed piece in gauze and place it in a watertight bag (like a Ziplock) before putting it on ice. That way, it's not going to get all the bacteria from the water embedded in it before it can be reattached.

MYTH: Wash out a tooth that was knocked out

If you've been unlucky enough to loose one of your adult teeth, you know how annoying it is. But here's the thing, while you might think that washing it off is your best course of action, it's actually the wrong call.

What to do instead:

Instead of rinsing the tooth with water, put it in a cup of milk and head over to your nearest dentist as soon as you can. If you get there soon enough, there's a chance they can reattach the tooth if it's preserved properly.

MYTH: Use heat to treat a sprain

While you might think that applying heat to what often feels like a strained muscle might help, it's actually going to do the opposite of what you want it to.

What to do instead:

Sprains are very different from strains, because while strains can be soothed by heat, sprains are actually made worse by heat. It'll actually make a sprain swell even more.

MYTH: If someone is bleeding you should always make a tourniquet

You always see characters in movies using a belt or shirt to cut off the circulation to a wound, but in reality, that can cause more harm than good.

What to do instead:

Instead of risking damage to the surrounding blood vessels, apply pressure with gauze instead of cutting off circulation completely. Bandage it up and elevate it while you seek medical attention.

Have you ever made any of these first aid mistakes?

Source - Reader's Digest / Brightside / Good Housekeeping / Newsweek

Tanya has been writing for Shared for two years. She spends too much time thinking about dogs, Marvel movies, and ice cream. You can reach me at tanya@shared.com