Freshen Up on First Aid this Summer

Jun 6, 2024

Reading time: 3 Minutes

parents bandaging a child's foot

Summer is upon us! That means pool time, vacations, adventure, and no-school seasons are here, too. However, mishaps can easily accompany all the adventures sure to happen.


Would you know what to do if you child sprains an ankle hiking down a trail? What if you cut yourself on a rock exploring the seashore in an unfamiliar place? There’s a good chance there are some first aid myths we all still believe from long ago and we’re here to debunk them and talk about how to properly care for those minor accidents that may come along.


A gift of modern technology is the accessibility of information to anyone with a question and a screen. Along with this blessing of accessibility comes the danger of misinformation, especially concerning the critical topic of first aid. Accuracy is key to the quick healing of common first aid injuries. Let’s look at some of those first aid myths:


  1. Burns

    Applying oil, butter, or toothpaste to a hot burn can increase the likelihood of blistering and infection. Instead, the Mayo Clinic recommends rinsing the burn in cool water for up to 15 minutes. Once the burn has cooled, keep it dressed with gauze coated with a burn-gel or aloe vera.

  1. Nosebleeds

    Our natural tendency can be to tilt the head back during a nosebleed; however, that causes the blood to flow down the throat, leading to the swallowing of and potential choking on blood—yuck! Harvard Medical School says to sit leaning slightly forward for 5-minute increments up to 15 minutes and pinch the nostrils closed. If this does not stop the bleeding, seek medical advice.

ice pack on ankle

  1. Sprains and Strains

    Applying heat to a sprain or strain increases injury swelling. Cold therapy—a towel wrapped around an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas, or bag of ice—is generally recommended during the first 48 hours to reduce inflammation and associated pain. Remember: Cold packs are not intended to be applied directly to the skin as it can cause nerve and tissue damage.

  1. Wound Care

    Clean wounds with mild soap and water, and apply an antiseptic solution if available. Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, according to the Cleveland Clinic, damages healthy tissue which complicates the natural healing process.
  1. External Bleeding

    Untrained application of a tourniquet can lead to tissue damage and limb loss. Direct pressure with a dressing is usually more appropriate to control bleeding, per the American Red Cross. A tourniquet should only be used as a last resort for severe, life-threatening bleeding that cannot be controlled by other means.

  1. Seizures

    A common misconception about how to help someone experiencing a seizure is to place something in the mouth to prevent tongue-swallowing. That will likely cause harm to the mouth, teeth, or jaw. The American Red Cross says to move nearby objects that could cause injury and, if safely possible to do so, roll the seizing person onto their side into a “recovery position” with their head tilted back.

Be ready for summer by staying updated on first aid recommendations! Guidelines have a tendency to change based on research in the medical field. Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with them to provide the safest, most effective responses to a health incident. When in doubt, seek medical advice from your healthcare provider or the nearest urgent care facility. And if you are a Medi-Share member, don’t forget your 24/7 access to telehealth through your Member Center from any mobile device!

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