Do you know how to treat deep wounds when help is not around? If not, you need to start learning now. Basic first aid is great but what happens in a SHTF situation where you can’t immediately get to the hospital? We are going to look at how you can treat deep wounds yourself until help gets there.
Stop the Bleeding
You must apply direct pressure on the wound with a clean cloth or piece of gauze until the bleeding stops. Do not attempt to remove the material if the blood soaks through. Just add more cloth or gauze on top and keep applying pressure.
If possible, you should raise the wounded area above the heart which will help to slow the bleeding. If surface pressure isn’t enough to stop the bleeding you might have to insert your finger in to the wound to apply pressure directly on to the vein or artery.
Do not: apply a tourniquet unless the bleeding is too severe and not stopped with the above. This should only be used as a last resort.
Clean the Wound
A dirty wound is asking for infection. Once the bleeding has stopped, wash out the wound with clean water to remove all dirt and debris from inside.
Do not: use iodine or hydrogen peroxide on the wound as this can lead to tissue damage.
Assess the Area
If the gash is bad, apply 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide strips of medical tape or even duct tape to close the wound. These should be long enough that they extend at least 1 inch beyond each side of the gash.
Starting in the middle of the wound, apply strips of tape in pairs: First, attach the end of each strip to opposite sides of the cut. Then, gently pull the strips to close the wound, and adhere the loose ends to the cut’s far side. Continue placing pairs of tape strips above and below the center closure (allowing 1/8 inch between strips of tape) until the wound is fully closed.
As a last resort you can use superglue but you do run the risk of sealing bacteria inside.
Do not: close animal bites, crushing injuries, and punctures. These are all at high risk of infection. Pack with moist gauze and dress as best you can, but don’t close them.
Dress the Wound
If you have antibiotic cream in your first aid kit, apply it to the area to help reduce the risk of infection and then cover with a moist pad, followed by a dry one.
Change the bandage every 12 hours paying close attention to the wound to check for signs of infection. Typical signs to look out for include:
- Expanding redness around the wound
- Yellow or greenish-colored pus or cloudy wound drainage
- Red streaking spreading from the wound
- Increased swelling, tenderness, or pain around the wound
If any of the above is present, remove the bandage, clean the wound and leave it open. Sepsis can kick in within 6 hours so if you see signs of infection you must try to seek medical help ASAP.
Related: How to Apply Butterfly Stitches