7 First Aid Mistakes That Are More Dangerous Than You Think

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Treating an injury promptly and properly can have a huge effect on recovery. Still, many patients fall for common misconceptions and handle common wounds the wrong way. We’re debunking those myths once and for all.

The Mistake: Not treating a burn long enough

Forget butter or ice—the best way to soothe burned skin is to run it under cool water. But a few seconds or minutes isn’t enough; you need to do it for at least ten to 20 minutes, says Jeffrey Pellegrino, PhD, of the American Red Cross. “The heat from a burn travels deep into your skin, where it can continue to destroy tissue even if you’ve cooled the surface,” he says. “You need the cold to soak in to prevent further damage.”

The Mistake: Tilting your head back during a nose bleed

This can cause the blood to drain into the back of your throat, which can make you gag or cough, potentially obstructing breathing. Instead, apply direct pressure by pinching your nose, but keep your head in a neutral position with your chin parallel to the ground. Sit and stay relaxed.

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