Emergency First Aid

All posts tagged Emergency First Aid

By Rachel Stinson – The Survival Place Blog

Leather belts are still very useful in the wild even with the advent of belts made of newer fabrics and other materials such as plastic, jute and reptile skins. However, it is essential to take care of leather belts as they are prone to deterioration than any other material used to make belts. Leather belts as a part of clothing had been around for quite some time.

Can Be Used As a Tourniquet for a Deep Cut to Stop Bleeding

There may be a life and death situation in the wild during which you encounter someone who is bleeding excessively. In these situations, you may need to make a tourniquet for a limb. A leather belt can be used as a tourniquet for a deep cut to stop bleeding. It can be wrapped loosely around an arm or leg and twisted to tighten it, to control bleeding below that point.

The work of the leather belt is to stabilize the victim and keep him from bleeding out. Whenever you are in an emergency situation in the wild where someone is bleeding profusely, pouring (or even spurting), always try using a leather belt to stop the bleeding.

First Aid Purposes As an Emergency Arm Sling or Help Secure A Leg Splint

Injuries can happen during normal conditions let alone in the wild where you need to evacuate an area due to a man-made or natural disaster. A leather belt can be an essential emergency first aid that you should know in case someone you love has a hand, arm or shoulder injury and needs to be immobilized to prevent further damage and alleviate some pain.

Hand, arm, or shoulder injuries in the wild need to be immobilized, and supported in a raised position by a leather belt. Use a leather belt for a suspected fracture of the collarbone or elbow when a triangle sling is not available.

Can Be Used To Help Build an Emergency Shelter

An emergency shelter is a place for people to live temporarily when they cannot live in their previous residence, similar to homeless shelters. The main difference is that an emergency shelter typically specializes in people fleeing a specific type of situation, such as natural or man-made disasters, domestic violence, or victims of sexual abuse.

Whether you are in the wilderness, a safe place to stay could save your life. In any disaster situation, advance preparation is always more effective than improvisation. Stock your car or basement with emergency supplies and Nike footwear now, and learn how to seek shelter before you’re forced to.

Great for Holsters and Knives

When it comes to an ideal leather belt, there is likely to be several points that need considering in the process. Firstly, it will be extremely beneficial if the chosen belt can complement the clothing and Adidas footwear that it is likely to be worn with.

To maintain the quality of the leather belts, it will certainly help if able to invest the time into properly caring for them. A leather belt needs to be protected and kept clear of water since that this has the potential to cause mildew and mold, which will ruin the quality of the leather within quite a short period. A leather belt might also experience oxidation, which might mean the surface of the belts starts to break or crack.

About the author:

Rachel Stinson has always had a knack for writing, food, fashion, and places. Blogging has combined all four for her with an added bonus of enthusiastic audiences. She expertly analyzes real estates, restaurants and online fashion stores with respect to pricing and people involved and can express her opinions in an unhesitant, engaging manner for all matters.


Survival Wound

By  – SurvivoPedia

We live in an era where safety isn’t a given, where there are evils in our world that have designs on attacking us, and where simple things like food and clean water depend on a complicated linked chain of events that could fall apart if even one link in the chain is disrupted.

And we won’t always have advanced notice or we’ll have the same notice as everyone else and there will be a mad dash to the grocery stores and pharmacies, with a good chance that what you need will be something the stores are all out of.

After the disaster, trauma will account for 70-80% in the acute phase. After that, during the next phase in the second part of survival, the proportion will probably reverse, 70-80% of chronic diseases will gain importance, and 20% will be trauma-related. How many of these trauma could you handle by yourself if there is no doctor around?

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: Caring For The Wounded: 5 Techniques You Must Know!



Although many survival manuals and emergency first-aid guides detail the effects of a gunshot on the human body, stabbing wounds from knives and other sharp objects are often overlooked. However, during an emergency situation it is likely that knives and other implements will be common weapons for many as personal supplies of ammunition become limited. As such, it is important to know how to give first-aid to those in your party who may be stabbed while bugging-out or defending your retreat.

What kind of damage does a stabbing cause?

Before you go into the actual techniques of treating the wound, you should understand the of damage a stabbing wound can cause.

  • Any stabbing causes lots of bleeding, but a sharp blade causes more. When dealing with stabbing wounds, expect a fair amount of blood. Dull blades cause veins and arteries to spasm, opening and closing, while sharp blades just leave the blood vessels open which causes extra bleeding.
  • Stabbing is likely to cause infection. Knives and other stabbing weapons are rarely kept sterile, and the blade puts dirty metal in direct contact with the bloodstream. Larger stab wounds also open the skin, exposing open blood vessels to infection from the air.
  • Stabbing is unlikely to kill instantly, and can even go unnoticed if the subject goes into shock. Even being stabbed in the heart or the throat is unlikely to kill someone immediately. The infamous case of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth demonstrated this clearly when she was stabbed in the heart by an assassin, only to survive a carriage ride and a 100 yard walk to a riverboat before collapsing. She never knew that she had been stabbed at all, and even her nearby courtier merely thought she had taken ill as shock caused her skin to pale. The wound itself was not found until much later, when a small bloody hole was discovered when medical staff pulled the Empress’s clothes aside to determine what was wrong with her.
  • Wounds to the chest and abdomen can be extremely deadly from even a small wound if they go deep. Knives can puncture lungs, slice organs, and cause internal bleeding and swelling that harms organ function. Stab wounds near the intestines can pierce them, and can also cause them to be pushed out of the gut through the hole.
  • Deaths from stabbing are primarily caused by blood loss, infection, shock, and organ failure. 

Trauma.org | Images


When to offer first-aid

Before you go rushing in to help someone, even a friend or family member, you have to ensure that there isn’t something else you need to deal with first. In a defensive situation you will have to pry your attention away from a person screaming in pain to make sure that no other human threats are present. Only go to help someone once you’re sure that the area is safe and that you can reach the person without becoming injured yourself!

How to treat the wound

Stabbing wounds can be extremely tricky depending on where and how the person is stabbed. If the stab is shallow, a simple cleaning of the wound and a sterile bandage might be all they need. However, a wound that punctures a lung or slices through the liver is immediately life threatening, and is beyond the scope of general first-aid. Therefore, these instructions can help completely treat a minor stab wound, but are limited to merely keeping a seriously stabbed person alive awhile longer until trained medical help arrives, if it is available.

  1. Inspect the patient, and determine the extent of their injuries. Unless the person was caught unawares, they may have multiple stabs and slashes on their body, or clothing may obscure any wounds at all. Part clothing, and look for all wounds before starting your treatment unless there is an obviously serious wound that need immediate treatment (massive amounts of blood, particularly if it is spurting out like a geyser should be treated as quickly as possible!)
  2. Apply a facemask and sterile gloves if possible. At the very least, disinfect your hands. Before the modern world of antibiotics and advanced medicine, battlefields killed men by the thousands through infection. Your hands need to be clean and your mouth should be kept away from the wound to reduce the chances of infection in a world without easy access to antibiotic medicines.
  3. If the person is conscious, begin working but also talk with them. They probably won’t feel much pain to help you know where wounds are, but talking helps keep the person calm and slows heartrate. If any wounds are particularly nasty (say, a knife sticking out of their leg) keep their eyes averted so they don’t focus on it.
  4. If present, leave the weapon in the body. This reduces bleeding and keeps you from accidentally cutting any more vessels when it is removed. Don’t jostle it when helping, and if you move the patient have someone to steady it and keep it from moving. Weapons left in the body should only be removed by knowledgeable medical staff that can immediately perform needed surgery to correct potential damage.
  5. Choose the wound that is bleeding the most and stanch the flow. Any wound where blood is spurting out has priority unless there is serious flow elsewhere, since spurting blood comes from an artery that your body desperately needs. A tourniquet may be needed if there are multiple serious wounds, but it is always better to apply direct pressure instead since that actually stops bleeding rather than cutting off blood flow. Keep a barrier between yourself and the patient’s blood. If you lack gloves, use layers of clean cloth. If you have helpers, clean their hands and let them apply the pressure so you can continue directing things.
  6. Proceed to stanch bloodflow from each major wound, if there are more than one. If possible, have the person sit up and lift limbs above where the heart would be to slow bloodflow. If the wounds are mainly in the legs, lay the patient flat and lift their legs up on a chair or box.
  7. Once you have some control over the bleeding, begin cleaning the wounds in order from most serious to least serious. Remove debris if present, but remember that even a wound without debris has had a dirty sharp implement jab at it, so they all need cleaning. Clean water is the best for sheer irrigation, but in a pinch peroxide or even alcohol will work. As salt is an excellent natural cleanser, a mix of 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of warm clean water is perfect here. Be aware that there will be pain when applying cleaning liquids, so if the person is somewhat conscious give them warning.
  8. Once a wound is clean, close smaller gaping wounds. Butterfly bandages can obviously help here if they are the correct size. Otherwise, glue (on the outside of the wound only!) and duct tape can make an effective placeholder. You want to close the wounds to prevent infectious materials from getting inside, and to keep the wound fairly dry.
  9. If a larger wound refuses to stop bleeding, DO NOT CLOSE IT. Instead, pack it with clean rags and cover with tape. The tape should be reasonably loose: it is primarily a strong covering, not a wound binder, and you want to be able to change out the rags as needed. Some clean spiderwebs can be used over the rags and under the tape, as an extra anti-bacterial layer if you choose.
  10. Keep the person resting, and apply antibiotic ointment if you have it periodically. Check the area furthest away from the heart for each limb that has a bandage on it: check fingers for arm wounds and toes for leg wounds. If a bandage is too tight, it may cut off blood flow to the area below it, and you will need to loosen it immediately.

In many places, the ability to properly treat a knife wound is already invaluable. When disaster strikes and the dredges of society decide to make their move for your supplies, be sure that you can patch up your group of defenders and keep everyone alive.


Experience helps. Let us know.

Have you experienced what it’s like seeing someone stabbed? Do you have experience in treating these wounds? Sound off in the comments!


This article first appeared at Prepared For That: Simple Emergency First-Aid: How to Treat a Stab Wound

Survivopedia first aid skills


In the aftermath of a major crisis there will be a need for people to know how to perform first aid to save lives and to treat minor injuries.

Not so long ago, first aid didn’t go much beyond the “ABC’s” – Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. Today things are far more complicated by everything from drug use to an increased reliance on outpatient care for people that would have been in a hospital as opposed to in a community that is collapsing.

During a crisis, assessing whether or not to move the victim and how to do that job is even more complicated, meaning more care will need to be delivered before you can get help from a medical team. No matter whether you are trying to help one person or dozens, evaluating medical emergencies and treating those that are most life threatening is very important.

What to Do First for the Injured

You can use the following guidelines, but always be aware that field conditions may cause a change in priorities.

  • Secure patient from immediate danger. This includes rescue from drowning, electrocution, gunfire, or other situations where it is impossible to deliver lifesaving care.
  • Restore breathing and heartbeat if absent.
  • Stop any bleeding. There are two ways to control bleeding. The first is by applying direct pressure over the wound and if possible raise the injured area over the heart. The second method is to apply a tourniquet.
  • Protect wounds and stabilize fractures or dislocations: The best way to do this is to bandage, splint, and pad the injury.
  • Treat for shock: If the injured individual has experienced either interior or exterior bleeding there is a good chance this person will go into shock. To treat raise the legs so as much blood as possible will remain in the torso and not in the legs.

Restore Breathing and Heartbeat

Basic symptoms of blocked airways include loss of consciousness, no noticeable signs of air movement, unable to speak, cough, or make sounds. Victim may also hold their hands to throat to get attention.

Essential skills to help breathing include:

  • How to remove obstructions from throat and mouth,
  • Clearing obstructions when patient is having a seizure,
  • How to reposition airway,
  • Clear vomit from mouth and airway during CPR if you use the older standard that includes rescue breathing.

Loss of circulation symptoms include no pulse, blue lips and finger tips. You need to know how to take pulse from wrist or other areas. Never use your thumb to feel for a pulse because you will mistake your own pulse for that of the other person. You also need to know BCLS (Basic Cardiac Life Support) training, and how to use a portable defibrillator

Bleeding and Wound Care

Basic symptoms are deep cuts, punctures, or wounds that spurt bright red blood or a lot of bleeding in general. Internal and external injuries can cause severe bleeding that leads to pale skin, dizziness, clammy/cold skin and shock. Internal bleeding can also cause blood in urine, tarry stools, vomiting, or coughing up blood.

Essential skills that you need refer to

  • How to apply pressure bandages and tourniquets,
  • How to recognize signs of blood loss and shock,
  • Know when it is safe to give salt/sugar/electrolyte fluids,
  • Different types of bandaging and dressing,
  • How to clean and debride wounds and ulcers,
  • How to prevent and/or manage redness, discoloration, wound odor change, soreness, heat, inflammation and other signs of infection,
  • How to transport people with internal wounds, keep them comfortable and immobilized as much as possible. Anything more for internal injuries is beyond what you can expect to manage in a crisis situation.


Circulatory shock is caused either by internal or external bleeding. Basic symptoms are paleness, cold, clammy skin or loss of consciousness. If internal bleeding is suspected also look for blood in the urine, a tarry stool, vomiting or coughing up blood.

Essential skills refer to:

  • How and when to raise injured person’s feet to ensure maximum blood supply to torso,
  • Treatment for wounds,
  • Transport to hospital or doctor for fluids and further care.


First degree burns is very minor, and only involves the outer most layer of the skin. Skin does not blister, but will feel a burning pain. You need to know how to use herbs or other medication to provide relief from burning.


Second degree burns penetrates down to the second layer of the skin and produces a red blistered surface that is very painful. You need to know how to apply medication and also determine if joints needs special care.

Third degree burns destroys deep tissues sometimes down to the bone. These are serious burns that can leave a charred, black horrifying open wound. Learn how to debride wounds and keep them clean free of infection, in order to provide first aid to the injured.

Hot Temperature Injuries

One basic symptom is dehydration: at the beginning, the individual may sweat heavily and then stop even though exertion continues. Also, cramps from losing body salt, thirst, dry tongue, dizziness, and a feeling of sickness are also common symptoms. Ironically, thirst is not always an indicator of dehydration in the later stages.

In order to help the injured, learn how to provide safe, clean water with electrolytes in a way that does not cause vomiting or other problems. Also, you need to know how to reduce body temperature without using medications.

Heat exhaustion includes all of the symptoms of dehydration with acute headaches, pale clammy skin, dizziness, tired, nausea, and dark urine. What you need is to know how to reduce body temperature and how to get liquids and electrolytes into the body and absorbed.

In case of heatstroke, body temperature rises out of its normal temperature (97.8 to 100.4). Heatstroke symptoms are similar to those of heat exhaustion but are more severe with shallow breathing, rapid weak pulse, confusion, hot, dry skin, or going in and out of consciousness.

Skills that you need for first aid are how to reduce body temperature and how to get liquids and electrolytes into the body and absorbed. Also, you have to deal with mental confusion and loss of consciousness of the injured.

Treatment of Cold Weather Injuries

There are a few types of cold weather injuries, and also essential skills that you need in order to provide first aid to your injured fellow.

Trench foot: This can happen when feet are wet for long periods of time. The feet go pale and clammy before turning red and swollen. What you need to do is to warm feet up in stages to reduce chance of tissue damage.

Frostbite: The body is literally freezing. The most vulnerable parts of the body are the hands and feet and other parts that are exposed to the weather like your nose and ears. Symptoms include the feeling of pins and needles progressing to numbness.

The skin turns white and cold before turning blue with blisters. The worst sign of frostbite is when the effected part turns black and hard. You need to know how to warm up exposed area slowly and assess for circulatory damage.

Hypothermia: Hypothermia is when the body core drops below 95 degrees f. Early symptoms include mood swings, an inability to concentrate, and clumsiness.

As the symptoms continue to develop drowsiness, shallow breathing, slowing heart rate, followed by unconsciousness and death. What you need is to change clothes to get rid of wet ones, and also to raise body core temperature using warm compresses.


In case of ingested materials, the symptoms are stomach ache, diarrhea, or throwing up, sleepy, confused, mental distress, and there may also be burn marks around or in the mouth.

The first thing to do is to identify poison substance, and then determine which treatment to apply (ex. charcoal). If possible, call poison control center or read labels on bottles you suspect contained the poisoning agent.

When the substance is inhaled, look for pale skin, light blue finger tips and lips, smell of chemicals on the breath or around face, mental impairment and confusion. Get as much fresh air as possible to help the injured is the first thing to do.

Symptoms for skin irritants or chemical poisoning of the skin there could be redness, swelling, and blisters at the contact site. You need to know how to flush skin and eyes with water or other solutions.

In case of injected poisons, loss of breathing, confusion, erratic heartbeat, nausea, loss of motor coordination, sweating will appear. Identify poison agent, learn how to keep heart and lungs functioning, and how to reverse poison agent.

Fractures and Dislocations

It is important to stabilize all fractures and dislocations to keep them from causing more physical damage to the injury site.

Fracture in a limb are great pain at the fracture site, bad bruising, limb deformity, or a piece of bone protruding through the skin. Skills that you need to provide first aid are how to pull bones to re-align fracture point, and how to set a splint.

Signs of a dislocation are a joint that is displaced from its normal placement, swelling of the joint, and severe pain in the joint. You need to know how to restore normal joint placement, and how to immobilize joint.

Drug Abuse

Symptoms for drug abuse are tremors, shakes, vomiting, diarrhea, and uncontrollable sweating. With the mental side of the problem comes paranoia, depression, hallucinations just to name a few.

You need to know how to restrain patient, and then address physical, mental, and emotional symptoms with supportive care.


The symptoms are burning odor, lack of motor coordination, bleeding from nose or eyes, convulsions.

Learn how to disconnect victim from electric source without becoming part of the circuit, restore heart and lung function, address burns and other external damage, and transport to facility for internal organ damage treatment.


5793426_sThe symptoms include arms clasped tightly at side, unable to remain buoyant, under water for several seconds, unable to speak or signal for help, floating face down, head tilted back, and not making progress while swimming.

You need to know how to use other devices to get person out of the water without going in yourself. Learn how to look for the fastest way to get to the person and get them out of the water given scenario, and how to throw a life line or other aide if person is conscious and able to grab it. Another basic skills for providing first aid is to administer CPR and clear airway of water.

PTSD and Mental Disorders

The symptoms are hallucinations, flashbacks, nightmares, disorientation, paranoia, mental or emotional numbness, and frozen actions, or other symptoms of mental or emotional distress.

What you need to know is to determine if someone is having a mental episode, and how to restrain person and talk to them to bring them out of the episode.

Pain Management

Basic symptoms when pain management is needed include radiating or non-radiating waves of pain in just about any area of the body.

You could provide help if you learned how to use acupressure, Reiki, reflexology, and other non-drug based pain relief methods. Also, you should know about herb based topical and ingestible pain killers.

End of Life Care

This is probably the worst scenario that one can handle when helping a fellow, and sometimes it’s not much you can do to avoid the final act, as his body is shutting down with no hope of healing or recovery.

What you can do is pain management, and deliver comfort care such as toileting, feeding, temperature stabilization, social company, attend spiritual matters and last requests if possible.

Where to Get Training

As you read through this list, you may be inclined to think several of these areas do not belong in the category of immediate first aid.  Consider that after a collapse, it may take hours for an ambulance to arrive, or days on end before you can get to a doctor or into a hospital for treatment.

It will be more than worthwhile to extend your medical knowledge past conventional first aid so that you can handle a wider range of situations if needed.

Aside from first aid training offered by the Red Cross and other organizations,  you may want to look into the following:

  • Basic Cardiac Life Support training – There is a program offered by the American Heart Association as well as the more robust Red Cross Program.
  • CNA training. Some communities and nursing homes offer this training for free. You will learn everything from how to manage patients to detecting a number of different problems.
  • Hospice volunteer training. This is usually offered for free.  Hospice offers the most information on pain management and comfort when no treatment options are left.
  • Reiki and accupressure, and reflexology are not fully recognized in conventional medicine, but accupressure and reflexology have been used in China and other cultures for decades. Alternative healing classes are available in most areas for a wide range of fees.
  • Al-Anon or support groups for drug addiction. Even if you are not addicted to drugs or you are not an alcoholic, it is important to know how to deal with people that have these problems. In a post collapse situation, those who are addicted to illegal, prescription or other drugs are going to be in worse shape because their drug of choice will not be available. Recognizing the signs of addiction and being able to talk effectively to that person or subdue them can make the difference between life and death for everyone involved.

Even if you have a set of basic first aid skills, taking the time now to study these areas will make it easier to survive in the field. You can start by updating your first aid manual, and then make a list of things you have never studied or gotten training for.

Be prepared to spend months or even years acquiring all the necessary skills and equipment. If there are parts you truly can’t manage, at least make sure someone else in your survival group can handle these things and gets proper training.

Read more about survival skills in Conquering the Coming Collapse.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended to give you some ideas about first aid and medical skills that will give you the best chance of surviving a crisis scenario, and is not supposed to stand for professional medical advice. As with many other aspects, the more information, training and equipment you get from quality sources, the better chance you have of surviving a crisis. It is not our intention to take the place of these sources, but to point you in their direction and make you aware of some skills that may be of help based on author’s own experience with a range of situations.

This article first appeared at Survivopedia: Skills to Learn for First Aid in a World Gone Mad


By Ken Jorgustin

If you, or someone else become injured with a very severe traumatic bleeding wound, chances are that even if you have a typical first aid kit with you, it will not have what you need to stop major bleeding, and applying pressure to the wound might not be enough.

Think about it. Most first aid kits have an assortment of typical size bandages for cuts and scrapes, a few gauze bandages (perhaps 2×2″ and 4×4″), gauze tape, and a few other supplies. The thing is, what are you going to do if someone gets a deep and profusely bleeding wound?

Do you have what you need to stop the bleeding until you can get professional help?

Because QuikClot stops moderate to severe bleeding until further medical help is available, this is why I have added the following to my first aid kits. It’s also a good SHTF medical prep.

QuikClot Clotting Sponge

Quikclot Advanced Clotting Sponge, 50 Gram Mesh Bag

Quikclot speeds coagulation of the blood, resulting in a clot that stops bleeding.

It stops bleeding quicker than conventional methods and is safe to leave on wounds until more advanced medical help arrives.

Quikclot is a natural enzyme that starts the blod clotting process in the body. Our bodies have small amounts of it that are there naturally (except for hemophiliacs), but Quikclot is simply concentrated to a high level.

You should also have a roll of gauze to go with the Quikclot to hold it in place. Alternatively there are recommendations to use the following product to hold the QuikClot bandage in place, apparently included in the U.S. Military’s IFAK, or individual first aid kit.

Israeli Battle Dressing, 6-inch Compression Bandage

While the Israeli battle dressing comes with a 6″ bandage, simply apply the QuikClot bandage to the wound first, then wrap it up with the Israeli battle dressing bandage (or wrap with wide gauze).

Although the Israeli battle dressing is primarily designed to help staunch blood flow by applying pressure to the wound site, the 70-inch long elastic portion of the bandage can also be used in the field to construct a sling, to bind a strain or sprain, to secure splints to the broken limb, or even as an improvised tourniquet.


Important Note Regarding QuikClot

In most ordinary bleeding injuries, applying direct pressure to the wound site is adequate to control or stop the bleeding. This is important to know.

By applying pressure (ideally with a clean gauze or clean cloth over the wound) you will slow or stop the bleeding while allowing the bodies own coagulants to work and clot the wound area, or to provide…Continue Reading at Modern Survival Blog: How To Stop The Bleeding With QuikClot

By Liz Bennett

Okay, I am sure you all have a medical kit to be proud of, you’ve got all the bandages, the slings, the ointments and creams, but sometimes, just sometimes, the most mundane items can make life simpler, especially if you need to move fast, or find yourself in a situation where you need to improvise, or, the stuff you have just isn’t right for the job in hand. Here are a few ideas, and examples of what to use them for.


These are great for a good deal more than stuffing in a hole in the wall of your bank. Scraping out a sting with the edge of a plastic card is preferable to fingernails or tweezers, both of which, just by the pinching action pump the last bit of venom from the sting into the skin.

Cut into strips they are excellent splints for broken fingers, and the gaps between the strips allow for swelling. Position either side of the finger and tape into place.

Used whole they can help inflate a deflated lung caused by a sucking chest wound. Put over the hole and tape on three sides only, the card acts as a flutter valve, preventing air from entering the wound but allowing air outside of the lung but inside the chest cavity to escape as the lung inflates.


I love duct tape, it needs to be good tape, not a cheapo one that is not very sticky. Use to secure the card to the chest as described above. It can be used to hold splints on limbs in place, to secure pressure dressings,and even to make a makeshift stretcher to carry a casualty if wrapped around two poles and stuck to itself across the gap between them. There are dozens of uses for this stuff.


Clear plastic bags form a great barrier between a wound and the air, preventing pathogens from getting into the body. They are great for wounds and burns on hands and feet and are carried in ambulances for this reason. Duct tape into place and the wound will stay clean until you can deal with it. This is particularly beneficial if you are near water and you want to prevent contamination.

Use as a flutter valve on large sucking chest wounds. Fix on three sides as described for the card method above.


Sanitary pads make really good pressure dressings. Put over the wound and tape tightly down covering the whole pad with tape, extend the tape a good distance from all edges of the pad to make sure the pressure is maintained.


Tea leaves contain tannin which has anti-inflammatory and vaso-constrictor properties. To wash out an eye make as you would tea, leave to cool and lean forward so the liquid in the container reaches the eye and open and close the eye whilst in the liquid. The tea bag can be placed on the eye afterwards, to reduce any swelling and irritation.

Tannin is a vasoconstrictor, it causes blood vessels to contract and therefore slows blood loss. It would be no use at all for anything major, but for nosebleeds, traumatic tooth extractions and minor cuts and abrasions, it works well. Put just enough boiling water on the tea bag to make it swell to its maximum size and show a little liquid leaking from it, then when it has cooled sufficiently apply it to the tooth socket, cut etc. for nose bleeds roll the bag as small as you can and plug the nostril with as much of it as you can, you can cut it in half if need be and roll so as the cut edge is on the inside of the roll. There is no worry about sterility with a nose bleed.


There are times when the smells around you are almost too much to bear. Infected wounds, corpses, human waste all give off gut-wrenching odours and dabbing vapour rub under your nose helps a great deal.

I have heard occasionally that a dab under the nose of someone having an asthma attack, who does not have an inhaler with them, helps open the airways a little making breathing somewhat easier. I have no experience of this and therefore cannot vouch for it. Having said that an asthma sufferer without an inhaler will not come to any harm by trying this.


The inner tube from a bicycle tyre is very stretchy and it makes an excellent tourniquet. It is also possible to use it as a fire starter, and it will burn even when it is pouring with rain, and it burns for a long while, often long enough to dry out a little damp tinder placed very near it.


These microfibre cloths are very light weight and take up almost no space. They are excellent for drying around wounds so that dressings and tapes stick more easily. As they hold a good amount of liquid, one dunked in water and lightly squeezed out is useful for giving a casualty that cannot sit properly sips of water, they just suck on the cloth.


Cut off the top and bottom and then cut it along it’s length. This gives you a sheet of strong plastic that rolls back into a tube when you let it go. These make great splints, keeping clothing etc away from a wound or helping to immobilise a broken bone. Unroll, place around the limb and gently let it go back into its tube shape. Then, very gently, close the plastic up, one edge will slide under the other with little effort. Fix in place with a piece of tape. To store, roll it up tight and secure with a rubber band. We used this method in hospitals to stop babies and toddlers ripping off their dressings, works very well.

Long_socks : legs long female in striped socks isolated on white background Stock Photo


Get an adult pair of knee high socks and force them over a large, full soda bottle to stretch them. When stretched for a couple of days, roll them down the bottle so what you end up with resembles a donut, store them in this shape so that they can be rolled onto a limb rather than forced up over it causing pain and possibly more injury. They are great for holding a leg dressing in place, and make a good sling for arm injuries. Roll onto the arm, position the arm comfortably and safety pin to the patients clothing in a couple of places, beats messing about with a triangular bandage if you are in a hurry. If they have long sleeves, position the arm and pin the sleeve to the body of their clothing.

Well there you have it, a few coventional items with a few unconventional uses.

Take care


This article first appeared at Underground Medic: Ten unconventional additions to your emergency medical kit



Even if you can’t treat it, you can probably grasp the danger of broken bones, severe diseases, or stab/gunshot wounds. The dangers of internal bleeding however are typically harder to understand since they’re not as easily seen. Heck, in most movies internal bleeding is code for “the doctor won’t be able to save him”! Fortunately in real life this is not so, but nevertheless is is important for you to know what internal bleeding does and how to identify and treat it properly.

Disclaimer: I’m no doctor, nor did I play one on TV at any point. Internal bleeding can become very serious quickly, so if you suspect that this is an issue please seek immediate medical attention! This post is meant only for situations where no medical help is available, and should only be treated as my opinion and not any kind of sound medical advice.

Internal Bleeding: More common than you might think

As I mentioned most movies tend to treat internal bleeding like some sort of mysterious affliction that can kill anyone regardless of treatment, but in all likelihood you have suffered from it a time or two yourself! If you’ve ever suffered from even the most minor bruise, you have had internal bleeding which discolored the skin and left the area tender to the touch. Of course, more serious cases will be much more dangerous than a mere bruise, but it is important to know that not all cases of internal bleeding are inherently deadly.

Serious cases and the damage they cause

That said, what we’re looking at here are specifically the more dangerous kinds of internal bleeding, which may not be as obvious as a bruise. These are typically caused by trauma in a disaster situation, though some illnesses and conditions (brain aneurysms for example) can also result in internal damage and blood loss. Any kind of trauma, from a gunshot to a stab wound to a fall can cause internal bleeding. The more severe the trauma, the more likely that internal bleeding will show immediate symptoms, while a less severe incident with lesser blood loss might not be apparent until later.

Regardless of the severity of the actual injury, blood seeping from vessels is never a good thing and can cause a great deal of damage depending on which vessels are broken and where the blood pools. The most immediate and obvious issue is the typical symptoms of external blood loss. Unsafe drops in blood pressure, skin clamminess, and even shock can result from blood leaking out into the cavities of the body. Beyond that are symptoms exclusive to internal bleeding:

  • Pressure in the wrong places. It may not seem like much, but leaking blood can pool and put pressure on certain organs and inhibit proper functioning. This is most prominent in brain, chest, and abdominal injuries. Your brain, heart, and other important organs need blood in very specific amounts from very specific locations and are forced to work harder and harder to overcome the crushing pressure of blood. The brain and heart in particular react poorly to excess blood owing to the presence of other fluids (in the brian) or the need to move and pump (in the heart).
  • Stiffness in skin and muscles. A side effect of excess pressure from pooling blood, parts of your skin or even whole muscles can become stiff and difficult to move owing to swelling.
  • Pain in strange places like muscles or joints. Pooling blood can also deny that precious liquid to other areas of the body by pressing on vessels that are still intact and slowing bloodflow to extremities of the body. This can result in pain as muscles attempt to move without the proper amount of blood. Joints can also suffer from this, though sometimes swelling is all that is needed to cause joint pain.
  • Abdominal/chest bleeding denies oxygen to parts of the body. Not only does this cause pain, but it can also cause the body to go into shock as the cells that usually use oxygen for fuel switch into emergency anaerobic (without oxygen) modes. This allows your body to survive without proper bloodflow for a time, but the body is unable to subsist for long in this mode before it starts to damage organs. The brain generally suffers the most from this, since it can’t really function without oxygen at all.
  • A wide variety of sensory weirdness from internal bleeding around the brain. The brain floats within your skull, cushioned, protected and fed by the cerebrospinal fluid it produces. One key reason why your brain floats is to avoid putting too much pressure on any one spot, since that can destroy or severely alter the functioning of a particular part of the brain. When internal bleeding disrupts this delicate balance, you can experience nausea, hallucinations, or lose vision. In extreme circumstances you can even have a stroke or fall into a seizure since the brain cannot compensate for the increased pressure.

Blood pressure causes the greatest damage in the brain, as seen here.


How to identify internal bleeding

Some types of injuries almost always cause internal bleeding. A gunshot to the gut, for example, is definitely going to make you bleed! However other trauma like falling or getting tackled by a crazed lunatic could still cause that blood loss without any obvious external signs, at least initially.

This bruise isn't caused by trauma to the leg, but rather by blood pooling there as the result of another injury.

First off, you should pay attention to any signs of bruising in areas that were otherwise unaffected by the injury. This may indicate that loose blood is pooling near the skin and showing through the layers, similarly to a regular surface bruise.

Secondly, you should be extremely careful to watch for sensory problems, a persistent headache, or any other odd symptoms that might be related to blood in the brain. Even if you otherwise appear fine, long-lasting headaches, sudden and frequent migraines where you had none before, or nausea that is persistent long after any sickness should have been cured.

Thirdly, keep an eye out for blood in any bodily excretions. Vomit, urine, and poo all show signs of blood present, and any amount of blood in them is a very bad sign. Any blood in urine or vomit will probably be red to some degree, while the color in feces varies between black, tea, or red. Vomit indicates blood in the stomach or the throat, while urine and feces can both indicate blood in the intestines or digestive organs such as the kidneys.

Finally, look for any signs of the symptoms noted above, particularly pain in joints or muscles or any kind of swelling. You’ll have to use your own best judgement (joint pain isn’t odd to an arthritis sufferer, for example) and be careful to notice any persistent issue that seems strange.

How do you treat it?

First the bad news: certain severe internal bleeding problems require surgery from a competent doctor. No amount of care or medication will save them, and they will suffer the full extent of the damage or death that the pooling blood will cause. Unless you have a surgeon along for the ride with you, these cases are basically left in the hands of God.

Treat internal bleeding victims for shock by elevating the feet. Add a blanket for them that is non-restrictive.

However, there is some good news to counterbalance the bad! Although some injuries require surgery, other cases of internal bleeding are quite capable of healing themselves if the patient is properly cared for until they recover. Proper care in this case largely involves treating someone for shock, giving the body additional time to recover. Unless the head, neck, or back were harmed during the traumatic incident, elevate the patient’s feet about a foot off of the floor and wrap them in a loose, warm blanket. Try to keep the head from moving at all, though if the person is vomiting or has blood coming out of their mouth you should set the head on its side to improve drainage. If they’re still conscious,  try to keep them calm to avoid raising their heartrate and bleeding faster. Assuming a lack of hospitals or medical care, at this point you merely keep them comfortable (don’t give water or food unless dehydration becomes a danger or other factors demand it) and hope that the inner wounds heal.

I should note that unless there is a strong medical reason for it, anticoagulants and blood thinners are very bad for a patient suffering from internal bleeding. This includes many prescription medications, but it also includes Aspirin.  If you take these medications regularly, I would advise you to ask your doctor about the appropriate course of action. For everyone else, don’t take them in that situation unless a trained medical person instructs you to.


Internal bleeding is a nasty business, but it’s not the death sentence many think it to be. Know how to identify it and treat your patients so that their body can heal the damage and hopefully save their life.

Your thoughts?

Did you know these facts about internal bleeding? Do you have any knowledge on other treatments that may help? Let us know in the comments below!

This article first appeared at Prepared For That: Survival First-Aid: How to Identify and Treat Internal Bleeding