Summer, with its whirl of sports and outdoor activities, can produce an appalling number of minor injuries, but you can make matters worse if you follow wacky, outdated advice and don't know the correct steps to take.
Has sudden hives with swelling in the face, difficulty breathing or coughing, dizziness, or fainting
Has hives after being exposed to a substance that caused a serious allergic reaction before
Develops hives after a bee sting, new medication, or exposure to a highly allergenic food, such as peanuts
"Ludicrous!" Richard O'Brien, MD, an emergency medicine physician at the Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, Pa., tells WebMD. Grandma's tried-and-true remedy of slapping butter on a burn is just adding unclean, foreign proteins.
Second- and third-degree burns -- when the skin is blistering or white and without feeling -- need to be treated by a doctor. First-degree burns -- when the skin is red but feeling is still normal -- can be treated at home.
"You need to cool a minor burn," O'Brien advises. "Run cold water on the burned area for at least 10 minutes; then apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment." Put a cloth over that, he says, and then you can apply another cold compress for pain control. A bag of frozen veggies works nicely. Never put ice directly on the skin.
"Don't put your head between your knees or tip your head back," O'Brien 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.