“When providing first aid care, it is always important to know when not to do something,” says outdoor emergency care instructor Steven Shotz. The Hippocratic Oath includes a warning to doctors: “Above all, do no harm”. When we see someone in trouble, it’s natural to want to offer advice, but advice based on myths, whether it comes to first aid or finances, can often do more harm than good.

Shotz offers examples of common first aid-related myths:

Rub frostbitten body parts with snow.
No! Frozen body parts require rapid re-warming. Instead of rubbing with snow, remove any objects that constrict the extremity, such as rings, bracelets, watches. Separate fingers or toes with loose sterile gauze, loosely wrap in gauze, and elevate affected arms or legs.

Apply butter or grease to treat a burn.
No! Grease causes the skin to retain heat, exactly the opposite of what you want to do. Instead, immerse the burned area in cool, sterile water for less than ten minutes. Cover with a cool, wet dressing.

To control a nosebleed, tilt the head back.
No! Patient may swallow a lot of blood. The patient should sit with head tilted slightly forward. Pinch the nostrils together and hold for fifteen minutes, without stopping to check until the entire fifteen minutes have passed.

As a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana for close to twenty five years, I’ve found that there are many common myths about bankruptcy. As well-meaning people pass these myths on in the form of incorrect advice, they often cause harm to the very friends, neighbors, or co-workers they mean to help. In my earlier bankruptcy blog, “The Fate Of Bankruptcy Myths Is In The Stars”, I debunked four bankruptcy myths, explaining that:

No, you won’t lose everything in a bankruptcy.

You will be able to obtain credit post-bankruptcy.

If you’re married, that doesn’t mean both of you have to file.

Yes, you can file bankruptcy more than once.

Here are three more common myths concerning bankruptcy:

Myth: Chapter 7 bankruptcy can wipe out all debts.
Fact: There are certain debts which cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, including child support, alimony, and most student loans.

Myth: Bankruptcy can actually improve your credit rating by erasing your debt.
Fact: While bankruptcy does not mean you won’t have access to credit, it will show up on your credit report as a negative element, and will remain on the credit report from seven to ten years.

Myth: Everyone will know if I file bankruptcy.
Fact: Bankruptcy proceedings are a matter of public record, but unless you’re a celebrity, it’s unlikely anyone will know you’ve filed.

When are myths about bankruptcy harmful? When misinformation prevents people from seeking needed help, when myths stop people in dire financial straits from learning about their options for recovery, that’s harmful.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code was established to give honest debtors who suffered severe reversals in life, a chance for a fresh start. Debunking myths is a good part of what my bankruptcy blogs are all about!