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How To Create An Emergency Splint

Emergency Situations

The information below is for emergency situations:  when professional medical assistance is unavailable or several hours off.

That being said, accidents happen. Indoors, outdoors, camping, hiking, boating, splitting wood, chasing butterflies … doesn’t matter what. Stuff happens and folks get hurt. They need first aid. And they may need an emergency splint. A splint that stabilizes and supports the  injury.

hand splint

Basic Splints

Before you apply a splint, treat the wound. “Treat the wound” is complete topic in itself. For another post. Also, if a joint or digit is dislocated, set it back in place first.

And as part of your basic bug out bag, you may want to include the lightweight and compact SAM Rolled 36″ splint.

Splint Basics

How does a Splint Work?

A splint consists of a rigid material accompanied by the use of adhesives or tying material to hold the rigid material in place. This prevents the targeted area from movement, which reduces the possibility of future injury.

The rigid material should be placed from one side of the injury to the other and secured on the ends. Once secured, the entire affected area is commonly wrapped to ensure a secure hold. Be sure however to not block circulation by over-tightening the splint.

Splinting Fingers

Fingers and thumbs are commonly splinted body parts, as we tend to unfortunately put our hands where they don’t belong. For digits, a couple of standard Popsicle sticks, (or any similar object) wrapped with tape usually does the trick.

Before splinting, carefully straighten the digit and first treat any surface wounds. If you know a digit is dislocated, it should be set back into place before being splinted.

Splinting Fingers

Fingers and thumbs are commonly splinted body parts, as we tend to unfortunately put our hands where they don’t belong. For digits, a couple of standard Popsicle sticks, (or any similar object) wrapped with tape usually does the trick.

Before splinting, carefully straighten the digit and first treat any surface wounds. If you know a digit is dislocated, it should be set back into place before being splinted.

All other arm injuries should generally be splinted with a sling in front of the body. Use any piece of cloth and fold it into a triangle. Carefully bend the uninjured forearm to a 90° angle, placing the elbow snugly into the folded part of the cloth. Tie the sling between the shoulder and wrist. Lastly, tie another piece of cloth around the victim’s waist and sling, immobilizing the arm against the side of her/her body.

Splinting Legs

Lower leg and ankle injuries should generally be immobilized together with the foot placed in a neutral (standing) position. To do this, use long, rigid objects such as branches/sticks, pieces of metal, foam from a sleeping pad, etc.

These should be run along both sides of the leg between the knee and bottom of the foot. Secure the splint above and below the affected area. Take care when securing around the ankle, by wrapping underneath the foot to the side of each splint.

Source:  Travis Hoglund first published this article in the Prepper Journal. He’s the founder of eBugout, a company that allows you to create custom bug out bags.

Image: OpenClipartVectors

The Wilderness Survival Medical Kit

The Minimum Basics

Some would argue that a defensive weapon is the first need in an extreme wilderness setting. Maybe so. Hard to go against that.

But if you and your family are in the hardscrabble wild, you also must “defend” against slight or serious injury, shallow or bone-deep infection, and just plain old nagging pain.

Survival Medical Kit

So here are the basic items that should be every survival medical kit. Again these are the basics. You’ll also have to add personal hygiene items, and any specific anti-allergen medications.

Basic items and tools in your medical kit

Make sure not to leave anywhere without these: sterile syringes /needles / surgical blades (imperative for the administration of intravenous medicine, releasing pus from infection formations or small incisions), scissors (it makes the opening of packages and gutting bandages a lot easier), thermometer (monitor your overall situation based on your body temperature), sterile eyewash (clean and disinfect your eyes), sunblock lotions (apply if you’re constantly exposed to the burning sun), burn creams (help treat burn wounds) and soap.

Most of these come as a standard in most medical kits, and those who don’t are easily procured.

Open wound treatments

The best way of dealing with an open wound is to close it up a.s.a.p. The first thing you’ll need to do is clean the cut with cold water and treat it with any sort of antiseptic solution or ointment you happen to have around.

Once the area is clean, the butterfly sutures can be applied. These sutures are small adhesive strips that work in a similar way to regular sutures, pulling the edges of the cut together. Apply first to the middle of the wound then start building upwards towards the edges.

For deeper and more serious wounds you can use (and if proper medical equipment is not available), duct tape works just as well in shutting the cut until proper medical aid is available.

Personal hygiene and infections

Once a wound is caused for some reason or another, the damage is done. Personal hygiene is very important is such a scenario, as your life is constantly threatened by severe infection, that can set in very quickly and can cause permanent damage and even death.

Ignoring an open wound is not an option. Your medical kit should always have: antiseptics / disinfectants (antiseptic wipes, Isopropyl alcohol, Iodine, Peroxide), ointments or oral antibiotics (Amoxicillin, Erythromycin etc.), adhesive bandages (adhesive medical dressings used for superficial plagues) and gauze (a lose translucent fabric, usually made of cotton which you can use for cleaning and bandaging the wound).

Some antibiotics can be hard to procure from the pharmacy, but some doctors may prescribe it as a preventive measure to people who are planning potentially dangerous trips. Never bandage a wound before properly cleaning and disinfecting it first, unless no antibiotics are treatments are available.

Source:  For additional insights into a survival medical kit, please check out the excellent article by Alec Deacon. He knows how to take care of a family.

Image:  Hans Braxmeier From Neu-Ulm, Deutschland

Kitchen Ingredients For Simple Home Remedies

Already In Your Pantry

You step inside your home after a long day in your overgrown garden. You’re a suburban casualty:  two bee stings, minor scrapes and cuts, possible poison ivy (don’t touch your face!), and your lips are chapped. Damn!

garlic and olive oil

In The Pantry

Committed to a more natural and self-reliant lifestyle, you’re determined to use common kitchen ingredients as home remedies for your ailments. Can you do it? Need a little help? DIY home remedies in the pantry?

Well, here you go:

(A word of caution: If your symptoms persist, you should consult a medical professional.)

Simple, Natural Home Remedies

Problem: Bee Sting
Solution: Baking Soda

Applying a baking soda and water paste to the site of a bee sting or other insect bites will neutralize the pain and itch. Just remove the actual stinger first, and smooth on the baking soda paste for instant relief.

Problem: Canker Sores
Solution: Honey

Researchers at a Saudi Arabian university tested three groups of people suffering from canker sores.

The first group treated their sores with plain old commercial honey, the second used an oral corticosteroid cream, and the third got an over-the-counter product that forms a protective paste to cover sores while they heal.

The honey users reported fewer days of pain and faster reduction in size than the other two groups due to the natural anti-inflammatory properties in honey.

In fact, some honeys have strong anti-bacterial qualities, and many are shown to promote tissue growth in wound healing.

Problem: Chapped Lips
Solution: Olive Oil

It’s rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. And the fat in the oil moisturizes. Rub it on like you would lip balm whenever your lips feel dry.

You can even make your own lip balm by mixing olive oil and melted beeswax in a 1:1 ration, adding some essential oil if you’d like a nice scent. Or, there are many store-bought lip balms using olive oil ….

Problem: Poison Ivy Rash
Solution: Brewed Tea

If you need to dry a weepy poison ivy rash, try strongly brewed tea. Simply dip a cotton ball into the tea, dab it on the affected area, and let it air-dry. Repeat as needed.

Problem: Sore Throat
Solution: Fresh Garlic Juice

Squeeze the juice from six garlic cloves into a glass of warm (not hot) water. Mix and gargle with the solution twice a day. Garlic contains allicin, which is thought to help the body to heal the infections that cause a sore throat while fighting the germs that cause the pain and the irritation.

Problem: Sunburn
Solution: Vinegar, Oatmeal or Aloe Vera

A bath with one cup of apple cider vinegar added can help balance the pH of sunburned skin, while an oatmeal bath can help with the itching. Splitting an aloe vera leaf and applying the sap can help with the burn as well as moisturize the skin …

Source:  For the remaining 9 home remedies, consult Bill Osuch’s post on the Self Reliant School blog. It’s a great resource.

Image:  Bella RaKo