First Aid Tips

The following are a list of first aid tips. More will be added over time, so please check back.

Scalp lacerations: When the hair is longer than 3-4 inches and an individual has a scalp laceration, one can use the hair on each side of the laceration to tie it into a knot to help close the wound before seeking medical attention.

Splinting: There are many types of splints that can be used for ankles, legs, wrists and arms, if one is worried about a fracture or severe sprain. These could include sticks, gun barrels, fishing rods, and paddles from canoes.

When lost in the woods, one could actually dismantle their gun, making sure it is unloaded, and use the barrel turning it around, and you can literally blow into it like a trumpet to call for help when one doesn’t have a whistle or other device to call for help.

Wounds and irrigation: One can take a plastic bag and fill it with water, punch a very small hole in one end and squeeze it as if you are decorating a cake. You will have a nice jet stream of water to irrigate the wound.

Safety pins: Safety pins can be used by attaching the safety pin to a forearm sleeve and attach it to the chest of a coat or shirt, and you have an automatic sling that keeps the arm up and elevated.

Superficial bleeding: Superficial bleeding can be slowed down as follows: You can take most nasal sprays, spray it on a bandage, put it on the wound, and it will act as a vasoconstrictor to help slow down the bleeding with few ill side-effects.

Wounds: Numbing a wound, when one has liquid Benadryl or Diphenhydramine, one can pour that on a 4 x 4 bandage and apply it to the wound. It will act as a nice mild anesthesia which will numb the area.

Pain relief: Many individuals are unaware that you can take 2 Tylenol (Acetaminophen) and 3 Advil or Motrin (Ibuprofen) which amounts to about 600 mg. of Ibuprofen, and take these together every 8 hours for
moderate to severe pain. Caution should be advised if you are an asthmatic as Ibuprofen can exacerbate an asthma attack.

Frostbite: If you are concerned about frostbite in your fingers, you can perform a windmill technique by taking your arms and windmilling them around and around and that will force blood to the small capillaries and help warm your fingers and hands.

Bleeding in the extremities: Please remember: Direct pressure for 10-15 minutes with a bandage as well as elevation above the heart will definitely decrease bleeding and help it stop.

Nose bleeds (epistaxis): The classic maneuver is to pinch the nose and hold your head back for at least 10-15 minutes. However this author has also had success with blowing the nose fairly hard for 4-6 times until the clots alleviate. Blowing very hard causes intranasal pressure, clamping off the small vessels. You should then use a nasal spray which will help vasoconstrict. This is very beneficial. Caution should be advised that after 4-6 hard blows, if bleeding does not stop, revert back to pinching and bringing the head back.

Foreign body in the nose, for example a pea or peanut or other small item: This is very common in children. You can close the unaffected nostril while at the same time with a mild to moderate blow, blow into the child’s mouth one puff and this should dislodge the item from the nostril. If it does not work on the first attempt, give it a second try. By no means should you dig into the nostril to remove the object, which usually results in pushing the object farther back. Transport to a medical professional.

Removing small thorns or cacti thorns, caterpillar quills or tarantula hairs from the skin, these are usually very fine and difficult to see. You can take some hot, melted wax and put it on the area and peel it off after it dries. Or you can use duct tape putting it over the caterpillar quills or tarantula hairs, and that usually works quite well to remove them. When using hot wax, please be advised that there can be some burning to the skin. However there are usually no secondary side-effects using this technique.

Always remove rings, watches, and bracelets from fingers and wrists immediately after any contusion, sprain or bite to the fingers or hands by any mammals as well as snakes. This prevents severe problems down the road as far as possible amputation of digits due to constriction of blood vessels when the fingers swell.

Blood under the nail (subungual hematomas), toenails or fingernails, from dropping a log or rock on these digits. You can take a paperclip or nail, heat it under a flame and pierce the nail. This usually melts the nail, removing the blood under the nail which immediately relieves the pressure and pain the person is experiencing.

Signaling for help when stranded in an open area: Mountains, oceans, large bodies of water: One can use CD’s on a sunny day as a reflective mirror. Even the holograms on credit cards can work as a signal mirror.

Life preservers: While in the water, one can actually remove their pants, tie a knot in each end of their pant legs, pull them out of the water and pull them quickly over their head. The legs will inflate and will stay inflated for awhile, acting as a life preserver. When they do deflate, you can attempt to do it again as you tread water. This is a brief but effective technique to create a life preserver.

Chest pain, history of heart attack or disease: I usually carry chewable aspirin. The standard of care is four 81 mg. aspirin which is the first line of treatment. This would be obviously a first line in the wilderness since you are going to be short of other treatment interventions.

Please be advised there are many more first aid tips to come. Please check back.