10 Useless or Even Dangerous First Aid Myths

“To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy.”

- Hippocrates

First AidWe all know some remedy myths or old wives tales, but some of them have no effect on conditions, ailments, or illnesses of the human body. If you try any of these myths, you may run the risk of having an adverse reaction or the opposite result of what you would like to happen. So here are ten classic emergency fixes that definitely won’t do in a pinch:

1. Sucking venom from a snakebite.

Cutting the skin of a snakebite victim to suck out the poison may be a classic first-aid technique, but doctors now say it’s useless and even dangerous. “Cutting and sucking, or applying a tourniquet or ice does nothing to help,” says Dr. Robert Barish, an emergency physician at the University of Maryland. The outdated measures “may do more harm than good by delaying prompt medical care, contaminating the wound or by damaging nerves and blood vessels,” Barish says in an article released by the university’s School of Medicine and the Rocky Mountain Poison Center.

“The victim should be moved out of harm’s way and transported to the nearest medical facility as soon as possible,” Barish advises. So the best cure for snakebite: a cell phone and a helicopter.

2. Peeing on a jellyfish sting.

You’re far more likely to suffer a jellyfish sting than a shark bite, so here’s what you need to know:

First, don’t believe the rumors. Peeing on a stung bit of skin won’t do much to relieve suffering, and you’ll suffer some odd stares, too, doctors say.

“Urine has not been scientifically proven to help in jellyfish stings”, said Dr. Paul Auerbach, an emergency physician at Stanford University Hospital and an expert on jellyfish stings.

“Instead, vinegar is the best first treatment,” he said, when treating stings from North American jellyfish.

But the question still lingers, if no vinegar is in sight is urine better than nothing? While studies haven’t proven it, Auerbach admits he’s known a few people who said urine worked for them.

3. Drinking booze to ease a toothache.

“A shot of whiskey is not going to kill the pain of a toothache,” says Charles Wakefield, D.D.S., director of advanced education in general dentistry at Baylor University medical school. Instead of a whiskey on the rocks, just order the rocks: A Canadian study found that rubbing an ice cube on people’s hands killed tooth pain in 50 percent of them. Wrap the cube and rub it on the V-shaped soft spot of your hand, where the bones of your thumb and index finger meet. The cold, rubbing sensation travels on the same pathway to the brain as tooth pain, and by icing your hand, you override the signals from your mouth. When you’re finished, call a dentist. And pour yourself that whiskey.

4. Slathering butter on a burn.

Putting butter, Crisco, or any other kind of grease on a burn can trap heat, cause scarring, and lead to infection. “When you’ve burned yourself, you’ve damaged the integrity of the skin, and butter is not the cleanest thing in the world,” says Ben Wedro, M.D., an emergency-room doctor at the Gundersen Clinic in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Your impulse to douse the burn in ice water is off base as well; the drastic temperature change can cause more pain. Instead, use cool water to soothe and clean the area.

5. Slapping a raw steak on a black eye.

In the movies, you always see someone put a raw steak over their black eye. While it may feel good, the grease from the steak might get into the eye, causing more inflammation.

“The only medical merit this has is if it’s a cold steak,” says Flip Homansky, M.D., who’s seen his share of shiners in his work for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which regulates Las Vegas’s boxing bouts. “The cold will decrease swelling, but there is no enzyme or anything else in a raw steak that will help otherwise.” The fact that the steak, compared with blocks of ice or ice cubes, can be formed to fit over the eye is another benefit, but a cheaper and less bacteria-prone solution is a bag of frozen peas, or crushed ice in a plastic bag wrapped in a towel. And remember, you will still end up with bruising.

6. Apply peroxide to cuts and scrapes and leave open to air.

“I am not a fan of peroxide,” Richard O’Brien, MD, says. Some authorities even think it can kill the body’s cells that are rushing to fend off intruding bacteria and germs trying to enter the wound. O’Brien prefers soap and water – or just clean water – to flush out bits of dirt and irrigate the wound. Even hose water will do.

“We go by clean, treat, and protect,” he says. Clean a cut or scrape, apply antibiotic ointment, and bandage it. “Some people like to let wounds air, but I find they heal faster if they are protected. More importantly, if they are bandaged, the person, especially a child, will protect them better. You can’t imagine how many times people will reinjure the same place! I see it all the time. Bandaging makes it less likely the wound will be reopened.”

Any cut that goes beyond the top layer of skin might need stitches. Generally, the sooner stitches are put in, the lower risk of infection.

7. People may swallow their tongues during a seizure.

It’s commonplace in movies. Someone has a seizure and a passerby sticks something in the patient’s mouth so they don’t swallow their tongue and block their airway. “People can control their own airway,” Richard O’Brien, MD, says. “Don’t stick anything in there.” If the person is outside, let him or her roll around on the ground. It’s OK.

When a person is having a seizure, don’t hold the person down as this can result in injury. Just remove sharp objects – glasses, furniture etc. – from around the person to prevent injury.

8. If you get a bee sting, you must squeeze out the stinger.

Never do this! Squeezing the stinger may allow venom still in the sac to get into your system. “Scrape the stinger out with a credit card,” Richard O’Brien, MD, says. “Even those acrylic nails work, if they are clean.” If the person is getting red or having trouble breathing, dial 911. This can be serious or even fatal.

Another bee sting remedy is putting baking soda on it. This one actually works. Mix baking soda with water to form a thick paste and slap it on ASAP. “The sting is produced by an acid, and if you put baking soda on as soon as you can, it neutralizes that acid,” says Stephen Purcell, D.O., chairman of the division of dermatology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. If you don’t have baking soda, wet the affected area and rub it with an uncoated aspirin; the aspirin will help control swelling, pain, and inflammation.

9. Throw your head back to stop a nosebleed.

“Don’t put your head between your knees or tip your head back,” Richard O’Brien, MD, says. The latter is especially bad because you can breathe the blood into your lungs or get it in your stomach and vomit.

“Press the fleshy part of your nose,” O’Brien says, “and not the part where your glasses sit – lower than that – as if you are trying to stop a bad smell.” Now – and this is the important part – press firmly for a complete 10 minutes by the clock. “People don’t do that, they let up every three seconds to see if it stopped,” he says. Ten minutes! O’Brien says there are also medications and little nostril plugs for people who get frequent nosebleeds.

If a nosebleed lasts for more than 15 minutes, occurs following a serious injury, or is accompanied by severe blood loss, you should call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

10. If you get shin splints, running more will ease them.

Anyone who has run or hiked too much without conditioning has probably experienced shin pain. “This is really called medial tibial stress syndrome,” says Jim Thornton, MA, a certified athletic trainer and head trainer at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Basically the muscle attached to the shinbone is tearing loose. The inflammation – or pain – is a response on the way to healing.

“If you continue to pound the tears,” Thornton tells WebMD, “it will not heal. The key is to have it evaluated because it means your muscles are out of balance. If you run again when the pain lets up, dial back the mileage, because shin splints can end up in a stress fracture.”

So, next time you have softball in the eye, don’t reach for a raw steak! You can make matters worse if you follow wacky, outdated advice and don’t know the correct steps to take.

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66 Comments

  • Please cite your sources. You may know it is outdated advice, but without a source on each quote, I don’t know whether you’re getting your advice from Dr. Phil or Dr. Who.

  • Mark says:

    Who cares? The advice is always to do nothing.

  • john says:

    > Dr. Who

    Certainly the more knowledgeable Doctor.

  • keshet says:

    Two things I have used regularly with good results, handy in the outdoors:

    1. Urine on cuts and wounds. A few years ago I stopped using anything
    else for cuts or wounds. Urine (if you are not sick) is sterile and contains
    salts which keep the wound clear of infection. No bandaging, nothing,
    just pissing on it two or three times is enough. Doesn’t work for serious
    infection (streptococ).

    2. Heat for bee / wasp stings. Light a cigarette, get it going. Hold it as
    close to the sting site as is bearable (never touch the skin with it).
    By the time the cigarette is finished, there is no more pain. I think the
    heat breaks down the poison. May not be suitable for awkward places,
    I don’t think this helps with allergic reactions (just normal ones).

  • spoonyfork says:

    Regarding jellyfish stings, I’ve used baking soda mixed with water to form a paste then covered the affected areas with it. There is instant relief and smells better than vinegar.

    Reference for the scientifically biased:
    http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/faq/faq.asp?faqid=96

  • Ivan Minic says:

    People are wierd…

  • Regarding snake bites, some people may be hours from a hospital so the best advice in that case could be a bit helpful.

  • Andreas says:

    I used to work as a paramedic and we certainly put something into the mouth of a person having a seizure. Not so much to prevent them from swallowing their tongue, but to prevent them from simply biting onto it (which can result in severe bleeding).

    The author suggests that “People can control their own airway”. How many times has it happened to any of us that we bit on our tongue accidentally while eating? Now imagine a person having a seizure – they will have much less control over where their tongue is at the moment of their teeth closing.

    I agree with previous comments that it is dangerous to give medical advise as such without backing the information by proven facts.

  • YouAreIdiots says:

    I once knew a guy who had a friend who saved a man’s life by peeing on a vodka marinated raw steak and placing it in his mouth so he didn’t swallow his tongue while I was smoking a cigarette, I SWEAR IT REALLY HAPPENED…

  • Dr. B says:

    Even worse than the article not citing its sources are the retarded suggestions of peeing on your wounds and putting a lit cigarette near a bee sting.

    People, take this advice with a grain of salt. There’s nothing inherently dangerous about any of the suggestions in the article – but some of the comments… wow.

    I work in emergency and wilderness medicine.

  • Ririan says:

    The advices were taken from an article written by Star Lawrence, and were also reviewed by Michael Smith, MD.

    SOURCES: Richard O’Brien, MD, emergency physician, Moses Taylor Hospital, Scranton, Pa.; spokesman, American College of Emergency Physicians. Jim Thornton, MA, head trainer, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, Pa. American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Robert Barish, emergency physician at the University of Maryland. Dr. Paul Auerbach, emergency physician at Stanford University Hospital and an expert on jellyfish stings. Charles Wakefield, D.D.S., director of advanced education in general dentistry at Baylor University medical school. Ben Wedro, M.D., an emergency-room doctor at the Gundersen Clinic in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

    Also I’ll get the link to the article and post it latter, thank you for your comments guys.

  • WALKDONTRUN says:

    100 years ago I used to run track and shin splints were a common topic. We were always told to “run backwards” for awhile to relieve them. Any validity, Doctors?

  • iuyuf75dyjv55eduj says:

    “The cold, rubbing sensation travels on the same pathway to the brain as tooth pain, and by icing your hand, you override the signals from your mouth.”

    Is this how acupuncture works?

  • Quinn says:

    > Is this how acupuncture works?

    If by “works” you mean “”works””

  • Jim C. says:

    “Instead of a whiskey on the rocks, just order the rocks: A Canadian study found that rubbing an ice cube on people’s hands killed tooth pain in 50 percent of them. Wrap the cube and rub it on the V-shaped soft spot of your hand, where the bones of your thumb and index finger meet. The cold, rubbing sensation travels on the same pathway to the brain as tooth pain, and by icing your hand, you override the signals from your mouth.”

    That’s myth #11. There is no such pathway connecting the mouth and your hand. It’s chiropractic/osteopathic pseudoscientific garbage. Good work on spreading more ignorance.

  • John Bokma says:

    “Regarding snake bites, some people may be hours from a hospital so the best advice in that case could be a bit helpful.”

    There is no general advice on this as far as I know other then don’t do anything, and get the person as fast as possible to the hospital (there is either some time to get there, or none, depending on what bit you).

    How to give first aid depends a lot on the species of snake, so basically get educated if you walk a lot in places with snakes.

    From what I’ve read so far, people giving “first aid” might result in the hospital having to amputate a body part, because they made it worse. So next time you want to start cutting out a snake bite and suck, and then apply a tourniquet maybe you shouldn’t.

    All from the top of my head, so I might be wrong here and there :-)

  • doozy says:

    @ Jim C.

    He doesn’t say anything about pathways connecting mouth and the hand. It says they “travel on the same pathways”. Think of it as a reversed fork in the road. They aren’t connected but they lead to the same destination. So the ice rubbing sensation mask or over power the sensations from the mouth. As it is said in the article.

  • Jim K says:

    No, Jim, it’s about distracting yourself from the pain. Sure, his or her hypothesis is bogus, but that does not mean that the method is without merit.

  • Bob says:

    Heat does work on insect stings and bites (poison oak/ivy as well). Doctors poo-poo it because they are afraid you’ll burn yourself, but I guarantee it works. After discovering that high heat applied to poison oak rashes relieves itching for 12 – 16 hours I have never feared it again. Ammonia works even better if you wipe down with it within a couple hours of exposure … it destroys the oils that cause the rash.

  • Ceara says:

    “Regarding snake bites, some people may be hours from a hospital so the best advice in that case could be a bit helpful.”

    Cutting and spitting is STILL bad advice, as is a tourniquet.

    I live in Australia, and we’ve got most of the worlds deadliest snakes ^_^ The first aid that we’ve learned from childhood was to make sure you use a pressure bandage all along the limb and immobilize the person as much as possible. Most snake venom apparently travels through the nervous system and you need to put pressure on the lymph nodes rather than stop blood flow.
    At least, thats what I’ve been told when doing my first aid cert.

  • Geo says:

    “Even worse than the article not citing its sources are the retarded suggestions of peeing on your wounds”

    Actually, “Dr.B”, you might wanna check up on this one. Urine is, in fact,
    probably the best way to disinfect minor wounds.

  • Hiccupstopperer says:

    To stop hiccups put a spooner of suger in your mouth and hold it there for 30 seconds letting the sugar dissolve. Works every time.

  • EMT Man says:

    If Dr. B. works in wilderness medicine, then he would know that using urine as a rinsing and sterilizing agent IS IN THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM HANDBOOK FOR WILDERNESS MEDICS. It is not the first choice, but there is actually a couple of paragraphs on using urine. It isn’t your first choice, but it shouldn’t be excluded, either.

    Also, the beesting and venom sucking poolah from people who claim to be physicians is also bunk. Mosby and O’Keefe’s books (the two leading texts for emergency medicine in the field) both cite the use of a device called The Extractor to remove bee and snake venom. The wife never had one in her breakout kit until I had a scary experience with ground bees (I luckily had one in my kit). Now she carries one, too.

  • Placebo effect says:

    The putting pressure on the thumb webbing is taking advantage of the placebo effect. and yes, it is the same quakery as acupressure, acupuncture, and the less reputable chiropractors.

  • Kenny says:

    1. Wear boots when hiking. Don’t handle any snake, as all can bite.
    2. Don’t swim in the ocean.
    3. A pint to a fifth of vodka and a few tylenol 3′s works wonders.
    4. Ice water and pint to a fifth of vodka and a few tylenol 3′s.
    5. Don’t drink your vodka at the bar, thus avoiding fights.
    6. Don’t drink your vodka at the bar, thus avoiding fights with knifes. This works too – http://blog.scifi.com/tech/archives/2006/10/26/liquid_bandage.html
    7. Detoxing off of vodka can induce seizures.
    8. Don’t handle bees, wasps, hornets, etc.
    9. Again, don’t drink your vodka at the bar, thus avoiding fights.
    10. Sit at computer, drink your vodka and reply to blogs!

  • spam says:

    “Andreas” – it depends on your protocols. Some say to *not* put anything in the mouth of a seizing patient.

    “EMT Man” – again, it depends. Our local protocols have said that any cutting/sucking device is just a waste of time. In fact, the chief of emergency medicine (Bob Norris) at the Stanford Medical Center is also an editor for some Wilderness medicine journals and has said that “The Extractor” is just a waste of time as well.

    From Medline: “While applying mechanical suction (such as with a Sawyer Extractor) has been recommended by many authorities in the past, it is highly unlikely that it will remove any significant amount of venom, and it is possible that suction could actually increase local tissue damage.”

    http://www.emedicinehealth.com/snakebite/page5_em.htm

    And since “Wilderness Medic” isn’t a nationally recognized standard, I don’t know where this ‘national curriculum” you speak of is. W-EMT isn’t a National Registry standard.

    “EverydayEconomist” needs to read the article a bit better, as the doctors supporting the information are mentioned in the article. I hate seeing idiots that can say nothing but ‘cite your sources.’ Google for the information your damn self.

  • me says:

    Stupid people. Quit claming to be in some medical whatever, you guys are wrong…

  • It's all about me says:

    Never ever urinate on your cuts or wounds! Urine is only sterile when it is stored in the bladder. Once it travels through the urethra and especially outside the body, it is contaminated. I am a nursing student, E. coli is commonly found in urine, without the person even knowing they have an infection, so I would hold off on the pee while you find some antibiotic cream for your wounds.

  • 1) Just because someone is spouting nonsense does not necessarily mean they are not indeed a medical professional.

    2) Peeing on you wounds just sounds like a bad idea. Period. There is evidence to support both ways, but I’d recommend against it. Ice on the hand to stop toothache is almost definitely a crock. That is probably why it only works on 50% of people.

    3) If you get a snakebite, it is important to stop moving. The venom travels much faster if you move. Then again, you need to get to a hospital. If you are out in the wilderness by yourself, you just have to decide between these two options. You should always have a buddy with you anyway. That way you can sit tight while they go get help/helicopter.

    I am a boyscout. I am a human being with common sense. No other medical experience/knowledge.

    Remember, the professionals used to say that leeches would cure everything. They sucked out evil spirits. Other professionals said that killing black cats and witches would stop the plague. Never trust professionals over common sense. And never ever trust a closed source survey or study.

  • Neil says:

    The most sensible thing to do is actually do a first aid course. Quickest way to dispel myths and arm yourself with the correct choice in an emergency. Most interventions are actually quite easy to do (being able to maintain an airway – head tilt, chin lift etc) and can help save a life.

  • Molotov Cocktail says:

    Years ago I had a mate who burned his hand with a cigarette. When asked why, he said ” to stop the tooth ache”
    I don’t know what happened to him. Maybe he died of cancer.

  • Molotov Cocktail says:

    Love the reply from You are idiots ****** 9. Made me lough thank you. That is a best cure for everything. Loughter

  • Ryan says:

    A good hard punch to the solar plexus will also stop hiccups, most effective (if not painful) cure for hiccups I have ever found….

  • MexiPexi says:

    Hey KENNY..Nice Reply….
    And as far as every remedy here…. either which way… you have to get medical treatment…
    So, might as well relieve that pain any way you can and get your hooha to a doctor!
    Basic First Aid!!!!! You can never go wrong!!!

  • Neil says:

    Molotov -
    burning your hand with a cigarette to distract yourself from tooth ache is not an uncommon method of dealing with pain (I recently read somewhere [yeah, marvellous source ref] that Napolean would lightly singe his fingertips to ‘distract’ himself from abdominal pains). This process works on the principle of ‘pain gating’ in the spinal cord – essentially pain signals to the brain are blocked with the addition of other signals (a sort of signal control). As temperature sensation and pain sensation travel up the same pathway (the spinothalamic tract) – using ice or a heat pad may utilise this gating principle. Obviously using ice or a hot water bottle for pain is a more sensible idea than doing yourself additional damage.

  • Shas says:

    I have heard another wives tale about snake bites.

    If you are too far from a hospital, tie something tightly above the wound (eg. if bitten on the ankle, tie around the knee) This allegedly slows the blood flow, and therefore slows the progress of the poison throughout the body.

    Is there any validity in that?

  • Former NREMT says:

    To the person asking about a tourniquet for use with snakebites:

    The theory is that the tourniquet will slow/stop blood flow (I don’t know how effective it would be with the lymphatic system if one of the other poster’s information is correct). Slowing/stopping the flow prevents the spread of the venom. Obviously, this would only work if you’re bitten on an extremity (the farther away from your core, the better). Additionally, once bitten, do not exert yourself (get your heart pumping faster) as that, too, would speed the flow of blood and of the venom as well.

    The truth, though, is that using a tourniquet in ANY situation is potentially dangerous and is NOT a recommended solution unless you are HOURS away from more advanced medical care. If you have no choice and no other available options… and application of a tourniquet is the only idea you have, please following these guidelines:

    1. Apply the tourniquet as far away from the core of the body as possible, usually right “above” where the bite is.

    2. When applied, note the EXACT time and date applied. Write it in marker on the person or on the tourniquet itself where it can be read by the ER doctor who has to remove it. The time is very important.

    3. Do NOT apply a tourniquet to the neck, even if you were bitten by Dracula or bitten on the head. I know, this might seem obvious, but…

    Remember, it’s a LAST resort – one that may cause the person to lose the limb below the site of the tourniquet. Additionally, because people ask, using a tourniquet is NOT generally needed for amputations. The body has an autonomic response and generally closes off severed blood vessels automatically. Direct pressure against the “stump” is all that is needed. Find the severed limb, wrap it loosely in clean cloth, place in a plastic bag and set on TOP of some ice (keeping it cool, but not giving the limb frostbite). Send the limb with the person to the hospital. Do NOT use a tourniquet on the severed limb either. :)

  • kg2v says:

    Toothache – First – call the DDS – if you can get an appointment soon, your done. If not, a nice dose of hydrocodone tends to cut down the pain

  • Kate says:

    Clove oil works to temporally relieve toothache as does baby teething gels. These are also good for pain from braces.

  • scott says:

    “Regarding snake bites, some people may be hours from a hospital so the best advice in that case could be a bit helpful.”
    I agree with that.

  • Current EMT says:

    Bee stings should be removed as quick as possible, no special technique necessary.
    bee sting removal method

    and current treatment for Seizures is to NOT put anything in the mouth unless iit is an OPA to help control the airway, but you wouldn’t insert that into an actively seizing patient unless their muscles had fatigued.

  • nka says:

    My opinion is that urine can be used to clean wounds. But only in the most extreme conditions. Urine is relatively sterile. So it may or will contain some traces of microorganisms. And in cases of urinary tract infections the urine will contain lots of bacteria. Therefore it should only be used when nothing else it available. And it should be used “fresh”. Meaning peeing directly into the wound. Urine consists of about 95% water. It also contains small amounts of red and white blood cells. Except in cases of infection(plenty of white blood cells) or bleeding(plenty of red blood cells). Also some amount of epithelial cells from the urinary system. Urine contains also plenty of metabolic byproducts. The pH balance of urine can vary a lot, as low as pH 4 and as high as 9. So urinating in someones wound can be pretty painful. Depending on it’s concentration.

    So what “It’s all about me” said is right. If you have and antibiotic ointment use that. Even tap water is better that pee. But if all you have is some muddy water and you don’t have an urinary tract infection then yes, you can pee in you wounds.

  • 7oby says:

    What about tobacco on bee stings?

  • kev says:

    I have first hand knowledge and can say for certain that urine on a jelly fish sting relieves the pain. trust me on this.

  • Matt C says:

    “Please cite your sources.”

    Just some MD you’ve never heard of. Riff-raff, really.

  • MrG says:

    I really hope that the person who claims to be a paramedic never had to actually attend to someone having a seizure (although in most cases, there’s no need for a paramedic in the first place, but that’s a whole separate issue).

    Plain and simple: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should ANYTHING be placed in the mouth of a person having a seizure. EVER. The hypothetical “risk” of bleeding from biting their tongue or cheek is far less than the very real danger of damage to the teeth or jaw, choking, or suffocation.

  • allfury@sbcglobal.net says:

    I agree with the 1st part about allowing them to thrash in contained, but flexible space.

    Now if you are saying that by virtue of using an “implement” to prevent them from swallowing their tongues, you thereby restrain the victim, then yes, it is not a good idea.

    I know a guy who unfortunately has started experiencing seizures [rather acutely and it's only theory as to the cause, at this point].

    Not wanting to get into all the medical theory, just know that due to his brother holding him down during one of his seizures, he tore both of his shoulders up [very bad] and his brother did some “incidental” damage to himself.

    And a host of other related “physical” damage. So yes I’d offer that #7 is solid advice.

  • bob beadle says:

    Most of you sound like witch doctors. VOODOO!

    Personally, I believe EVERYTHING can work. Or not. Usually depends on the situation. If I told you personal treatments I’ve done that worked, you’d say I was crazy. Like honey to heal coral reef cuts in a few days- WITHOUT a scar.

    See?

    The “good doctor” dispelling the “myths” may be doing more harm than good. And “suggesting” a helicopter and a cell phone for snake bites is inane! Get real. If you don’t know the answer, don’t suggest what the impossible.

    Bob

  • td says:

    Hi, I’m a med student so I’ll share my two cents on myth #3. I think that it’s plausible that rubbing ice on hand can alleviate pain from toothache. It will make more sense if you understand about the brachial plexus, innervation of the upper limb. If the nerve signals from the brachial plexus shares the same pathway going up the brain with the cranial nerve VII that innervates the jaw, then you can get that overriding effect. Nerve signals sometimes can share the same pathway, that is why you see people getting referred pain down the left arm and diffuse pain over left shoulder when they have a heart attack.

  • floydigu says:

    I am not a doctor, but, true shin splints usually occurs in only one shin at a time, because once the damage happens in one leg, people usually stop running (or walking) – the right advice. If you have pain in both shins the day after, say, going for your first run in 5 years, you probably just have DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Still painful, but completely normal, and a little light exercise won’t do you any harm.

  • AdamV says:

    The thing which people seem to be not mentioning about snake bites is that keeping the bitten part lower than the rest of the body can help slow the spread of the venom through blood or lymphatic systems.
    Lying down is NOT a good plan if bitten in the leg (one of the most common places), but you need to find a comfortable sitting position you can maintain without stress and which helps you to relax.
    On the other hand, if bitten on the arm, lying down with this limb lower than rest of body will help (eg downhill or by lying on a log, across back seats of vehicle etc).

    If you do apply a last resort tourniquet (pretty much only for a major bleed you can’t control) then write “TK” and the date and time applied – ideally on the person’s forehead. Don’t use magic marker / sharpie unless you have nothing else, as you will need to periodically remove and re-apply or risk limb death, and re-write the time. Use 24-hour “military time” rather than am/pm. I keep an inch-long stub of eyebrow pencil in my first aid kit for this – and for writing on a window, fridge, tiles, or other tricky surfaces. A normal pencil and cigarette papers do for other note-taking.

    For a simple, less restrictive blood slower, hold a balled pair of socks, an orange, a hacky-sack or similar tightly under the armpit. Also works in the groin but much harder to get the position right, and easy to end up numbing BOTH legs instead of just one.

    As for baking soda on jellyfish stings, this is nuts, surely? The point of urine is that it is slightly acidic. Baking soda is alkaline and will make this worse (unlike on a bee sting where it can help as mentioned above).

    I have suffered from really bad pain from misaligned wisdom teeth, and I can tell you that a shot of whiskey is great – but not just to drink. Hold about a third of a shot in the mouth in the offending area and let it soak in. After a few seconds, swallow and repeat. This also kills of lots of bacteria if there is any possibility that you have an infection (eg if the pain is caused by having jabbed a bone into your gums, rather than general dental movements).

    Bad burns can get very easily infected. If you have a VERY clean linen teatowel then this can be OK if damp (a dry towel may stick). This is a reason to steam iron your towels and handkerchiefs – it kills off anything remaining after the wash and then you keep the clean surfaces folded against each other. Not perfect but better than something dirty. I am also told that cling film (ceran wrap) is ideal as it is very clean due to being made in such a clean environment. It supposedly helps the body to keep it’s own moisture in the burn without introducing water, and of course you can get it to hold itself in place by wrapping right round to stick to itself (not too tight of course). I have yet to find out from an ER whether this actually works without sticking too much, but I figure it can’t be much worse than a cloth would be.

    By the way, frozen peas on an eye (black or otherwise) hurts like hell! A raw steak in a bag, or a bag of cold water or even a very cold wet towel do a pretty good job.

  • subcorpus says:

    so am uessing here that there is no such thing as first aid …
    if all we need is a cell phone and helicopter …
    that what exacly do we do when we see someone dying from something …
    am confused … hehe …

  • Joy says:

    I agree with # 6 about Hydrogen Peroxide. I also don’t like to clean my wounds with that substance because it is very strong and it can easily kill your cells and tissues.

    I’ve also observed that people who used Peroxide for cleaning their wounds have deeper and more visible scars compared to those who didn’t.

  • Fredo says:

    Mr G, I am sorry but I have to agree with Andreas: in Germany paramedics to place a rubber item in a patients mouths during seizures. This doesn’t mean we grab anything that comes along and shove it in a person’s mouth taking the risk of the patient suffocating. This is a controlled measure to ensure the patient doesn’t bite on their own tongue. They cannot swallow the item, nor can they damage their teeth.

  • Ben says:

    Your research may be flawed. I haven’t looked, but I am taking a wild guess here that *there is no* research on whether peeing on a jellyfish sting makes it better or not.

    I can imagine the recruitment poster would turn off most people:

    Anyone not had a jellyfish sting? We are going to blindfold you, sting you with a jellyfish, then either pee on you or tip vinegar on you (you won’t know). Email stupidity@reserach.org to take part, and take the human race further!!

    Seriously – has this actually been done????

  • Dan says:

    My father used chewing tobacco on insect bites and once I was stung on a job site and he suggested slapping a dab of mortar mix on it. The pain ceased and I was fine

  • bilard says:

    Great and excellent article it’s realy helpful. Thanks again.

  • mike says:

    Good post,thank you for your great words!

  • dave says:

    yep just did a article about shin splints – the only thing that will heal them is REST.

  • As a doctor i personaly suggest peeing on a cut or scape it acctually helps.

  • as a doctor i personally reccomend pourring coca cola or tobasco sauce up your nose when you have the hic ups it works for my son patients and even myself

  • im not sure about the pee for wounds but i do know its really good for clearing acne and it can also be used to help prevent some “stuff” that is, IF YOU”RE HEALTHY. im talking about with ur own pee. this has proved true as my grandmother used it and her face was as clear as day. you have to be healthy thugh, and use your own pee. meaning, dont save ur pee, but use it when u have to pee. catch my drift? anywho, never store pee as it will start to stink of ammonia, UNLESS u store it in an airtight container in cold area so bacteria wont grow in it(kno this cuz my mom had to save about a quart of pee for her physical).

  • MichaelM says:

    Glove has always been effective for my family going back several generations for minor tooth aches. A whole clove is bitten or pressed on the tooth in question for an extended amount of time. No medical evidence to site, just experience with it myself.

  • fred says:

    what about the USDA food pyramid?

  • Nice article. Where sucking venom from a snake wound is considered its extremely dangerous as many humans have small cuts in their mouths which they are unaware of.

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