What works and what doesn't when it comes to first aid?

Well, we're here to bust a few myths wide open thanks to Rodale Publishing.

  • First, do you remember that episode of "Friends" when Monica got stung by a jellyfish and Chandler helped her out? Well, according to Dr. Sean Bush of the Loma Linda School of Medicine, he didn't help her out the right way--When you get stung, the cells adhere to your skin. If you splash them with fresh water, you cause the stinging cells to shoot their poison into your body. It's better to rinse the sting with vinegar or salt water. Either of those will wash away most of the stingers and the vinegar is acidic enough to stop any remaining stingers from firing.
  • Now what about that old wives tale about putting butter on a burn? Well, putting butter, Crisco, or any grease on a burn can trap heat, cause scarring, and lead to infection. You also don't want to use ice water   the drastic temperature change can cause more pain. It's best to use room temperature water to soothe and clean the area.
  • And we've all seen in Popeye cartoons to put a raw steak on a black eye. Forget it. According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the only thing about a raw steak that'll help is the coldness will reduce swelling. But there's no enzyme in a raw steak that'll do anything else--In fact, you could transfer some bacteria to the affected area. Your best bet is a bag of frozen peas or crushed ice in a plastic bag rapped in a towel.
  • One last first aid myth--Putting baking soda on a bee sting. This one actually works! Mix baking soda with warm water to make a paste and slap it on a.s.a.p. The sting is caused by acid and the baking soda will neutralize the acid.

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