Posts tagged: emergency medicine

Survival Medicine 101 Part 6: How To Treat Cuts, Scrapes, And Scratches

Survival Medicine 101 Part 6 - How To Treat Cuts, Scrapes And Scratches

Cuts, scrapes, and scratches may not seem like a big deal, after all, we have to deal with minor injuries all our lives. But when they happen during a disaster, it all gets much more complicated. You’ve got less time to identify the gravity of a wound and treat it accordingly or rush to the nearest hospital before it gets infected or starts bleeding heavily.

That’s why it’s crucial to know the basics of treating minor injuries.

The first thing you should know is when to go to the hospital. Amanda C. Strosahl, one of the best health news and healthy living writers on Yahoo! contributors network has identified 10 signs that you should seek medical attention immediately:

The cut is deep

The cut is long. Long cuts are considered to be approximately 1 inch when on the hand or foot and 2 inches when elsewhere on the body.

The cut is jagged.

The injury involved a pet. This is especially important if the pet was a cat due to the risk of cat scratch fever.

The injury involved a wild animal.

The injury is due to a bite, either human or animal in nature.

The wound has debris stuck in it after proper cleansing.

The wound is bleeding heavily.

The wound will not stop bleeding after applying direct pressure for 10 minutes.

The injury is a puncture wound.

Remember, however, that looks can be deceiving, What seems a superficial wound can make a lot of damage underneath the skin, where bacteria is trapped (like puncture wounds). Examine the wound well before taking action.

cuts, scrapes and scratches

As long as the wound is not bleeding too heavily, the first thing to do is wash it with soap and water. If it does bleed heavily, apply pressure for 10 minutes. These are the first steps to take, even if help is on its way.

If the wound is not minor and you’re not perfectly sure what to do, ask a 911 operator to walk you through the process. However, given that we’re talking about a disaster here, the operators might have to other cases, where people’s lives are on the line.

In most cases, you should be just fine on your own, as long as you know the basic treatment methods.

WebMD treats this subject exhaustively and presents specific steps for every type of minor injury:

Scratches and Cuts on the Face

“Your injury’s location can affect how you bandage it. For most injuries, first, you’ll want to clean it with water to get rid of debris and help prevent infection. Then, stop bleeding by applying pressure with sterile gauze.

Face injuries can bleed a lot. But once the bleeding stops, minor face cuts can go uncovered. Or a small adhesive strip can work well. You may need stitches if your cut is jagged, deep or longer than a half inch.”


“Small, unbroken blisters can be left uncovered and will usually heal on their own. The exception — if a blister is in an area where it might get rubbed, such as on the sole of the foot. In that case, protect the blister with a soft dressing to cushion the area.

For a broken blister that has drained, protect it from infection by covering it with a bandage.”

Sprains and Strains

“A sprain means a stretched or torn ligament, while a strain involves an injury of a muscle or tendon.

The signs are pain and swelling. In addition to icing the injury, wrap it with an elastic compression bandage and keep it elevated when possible. In some cases of severe sprain or strain, surgery and/or extensive physical therapy may be needed.”

Minor Burns

“Seek medical help for burns if they are severe, on the face, or bigger than 2 inches. For treating small minor burns at home, rinse the area in cool water.

Never use butter, grease, or powder on a burn. After rinsing, cover the burn with a thin layer of antibiotic ointment. Then bandage it. A non-stick dressing is best and you may need tape to hold the dressing in place.”

Open Cuts

“If the edges of a cut are separated but will go together, use a butterfly bandage to close the wound. This type of bandage should be placed across the cut, not along its length.

If the wound is long, more than one bandage may be needed. Seek professional care for cuts that are gaping, longer than a half inch, or don’t stop bleeding after 15 minutes of pressure.”

Surgical Wounds

“After surgery, you’ll need to keep the incision site clean and dry. Change the dressing according to your doctor’s instructions.

Each time you remove the old dressing, check the wound for signs of infection, such as increasing redness around the wound, a yellow or green discharge, or an unusual odor.”

Scraped Knees or Elbows

“Skinned knees or elbows can also be awkward to cover. Larger-sized bandages or adhesive bandages with wings can hug joints and move with you.

Another alternative: Use a liquid bandage. This will stop minor bleeding and protect the wound from dirt and water. Liquid bandage is shower-resistant and only needs to be applied once.”

Injured knuckles, Heels, and Fingers

“Fingers, heels, knuckles, and knees move, so covering them can be tricky. But you’ll want to keep them covered to keep dirt out.

Bandages that are hourglass shaped or notched so they are shaped like an “H” can prevent folds and bunching. Or they can wrap around a fingertip for full coverage.”

Large Scrapes

“Scrapes that cover a large area should be kept moist to help promote healing. Antibiotic ointment or moisture-enhancing bandages, also called occlusive bandages, can do the job.

Some scrapes don’t form a scab as they heal but remain shiny and raw. If this occurs, wash the wound with clean water and apply a fresh bandage regularly. Watch for signs of infection.”

Cuts on Your Hands or Feet

“The hands and feet are exposed to more dirt than the face, so it’s best to keep cuts covered. Bandaging can also prevent shoes and socks from irritating wounds on the feet.

Adhesive strips can be used for small cuts, but be sure to change the bandage if it gets wet or dirty. Seek medical help for deep cuts or puncture wounds on the hands or feet.”

I really hope this article will help you a lot in the future. These are universal treatment methods and you can apply them anytime you need them, whether you’re struggling in a post-disaster environment or you simply cut your finger cutting a tomato.

However, prevention is the best way to keep yourself and your family healthy, so make sure you’re always protected and be careful whenever you’re handling sharp or heavy objects.

If you’re interested in more articles on survival and emergency medicine topics, check out

Survival Medicine 101 Part 2: Guarding Your Health During The Crisis


When it comes to survival medicine, most people instinctively think of a wild setting, perhaps in the mountains, where people with broken legs try to fight off forest beasts.

And maybe a couple centuries ago, this would be very precise. But now, in the 21st century—even with so many health insurance marketplaces available – and in today’s economic climate, survival medicine should be more about keeping yourself healthy during the looming crisis.

Just think about it: this crisis could last for months or even years. People will have more trouble making money than ever before and it will difficult to keep your family well-fed and healthy. But you know that saying: where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Drink lots of waterphoto source:

For example, published a basic guide to maintaining health in disaster conditions.

Survival Health Tip #1: Drink plenty of water

This should be your top priority during a disaster or crisis. Dehydration is very tricky, it sets in without even feeling it and it affects the whole body. Even a 5 percent loss of body fluids can lead to thirst, irritability, nausea, and weakness.

So here’s what you can do to avoid dehydration:

Drink small amounts of water as often as you can, even when you’re not thirsty. Just a sip or two every 15 minutes will do.

Replace the water you drink. This way, you’ll always have a spare stock of water in case you run out.

Drink water when eating.It helps your digestion and prevents your body from dehydrating.

Ration water. By this, I don’t mean drink less water than you need. You should simply avoid wasting water. Monitor how much water your family drinks every day and try to eliminate any excess.

When to eatphoto

Survival Health Tip #2:

Eat little, but often

You don’t need a big meal to fight off hunger. In fact, it’s better if you eat small amounts of food more often. The key here is variety. Your body needs both plant foods and animal foods, so it’s important to keep a good balance.

Try to eat more plant foods than meat, as they are healthier. However, eating meat is necessary, as it is more nourishing and produces more energy and heat.

– Eat nuts and seeds every day, as snacks. They’re high in protein and oils which give you lots of energy and help your body function normally.

Include roots, green vegetables, and plant food containing natural sugar in your meals. They provide calories and carbohydrates that give the body natural energy.

Plant a small garden close to your house. This way, you’ll have fresh produce anytime you need it. Also, gardening is a very relaxing activity that will release you of all the stress any crisis brings.

Raise a few chicken, if you can. Eggs and meat will be hard to find and expensive during the crisis, so raising your own chicken can be the perfect solution.

Survival Health Tip #3: Keep your body clean at all times

wash handsphoto source:

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in times of crisis, hygiene immediately drops two positions to water and food. These become top priorities, as they’re harder to obtain, so most efforts concentrate around keeping your family fed and hydrated.

But if you don’t respect proper hygiene, first, let me show you what measures you should take to prevent infections and other hygiene-related illnesses:

Wash your whole body with water and soap every single day. If you can’t take a daily shower, use a cloth and soapy water or even some Pampers wet wipes.

Brush your teeth twice a day. No exceptions. In times of crisis, it’s even more important to keep your teeth healthy, as good dentists are quite expensive. Also, if you’ve ever experienced toothaches, you know what a torture that is. And you know the pain doesn’t go away with just a painkiller. So avoid wasting money on tons of pills and pricey doctors by taking good care of your teeth.

Always keep your hands clean. Your hands carry billions of germs that you can easily ingest, so wash them after you’ve touched anything likely to carry germs. Also, keep your nails trimmed and clean and out of your mouth.

Survival First Aid Kit Tutorial

Survival Medicine 101 Tutorial Part 1: The First Aid Kit

I’m not a doctor, but I believe it’s absolutely crucial to know the basics of emergency medicine. One day, your family might depend on your knowledge. And the little you know about it may just save your kids’ life.

Unfortunately, most people leave this subject to doctors and survival experts, assuming it’s just as difficult as going to med school or something. But here’s the thing: difficult or not, when your loved ones are in danger and you are some time or distance away from professional medical care, you’d better know a thing or two about emergency medicine or you’ll just have to watch them suffer, helplessly.

So here are some of the easiest life-savings techniques that you should know in case of a disaster or crisis. Today, we’re going to start with the first aid kit.

Most survival websites, such as or recommend getting three different types of kits:

#1: The basic first aid kit

According to, it should contain:

• Moleskin

• Sterile pads (different sizes)

• Sterile Gauze

• Neosporin

• Bandaids

• Aspirin

• First Aid Tape

You can put it in your car and/or in your bug-out bag. Make sure you have enough items for your whole family. If you have little children, put some sterile pads and band-aids in their packs, too, and teach them how to use them. However, don’t give them any pills or items that could hurt them (like scissors or first aid tape, which they can suffocate on).

#2: An intermediate kit

This one is for your home or for traveling and should contain:

• Bandages

• Antibiotic ointment

• Gauze pads

• Iodine or similar prep pads

• Alcohol prep pads

• Butterfly bandages

• Antibiotic ointment

• Medical adhesive tape

• Aspirin and/or non-aspirin pain relievers suggests you should also include the following:

• Larger adhesive bandages (for larger wounds)

• Smelling salts or ammonia inhalants (in case someone faints)

• Ace-type bandages (for strains and sprains)

• Rolls of gauze (in case you need to change bandages)

• Antiseptic towelettes (to keep the wound clean)

• Snakebite poison extractor (this one’s optional, but who knows when you might need it)

• Thermometer

• Tweezers

• Safety pins

• Moleskin

• Rubber (latex) gloves

• Burn medication

• Anti-itch treatment

• Sun screen

• Diarrhea medication

• Eye drops

Basic first aid instructions (this one is definitely a MUST)

Some of the above are optional. You may not find them crucial or they may be hard to find/expensive. You choose what your family needs the most and make your own customized kit. The more you include, the more worst case scenarios you cover.

#3: The advanced emergency kit

This one is crucial when someone is severely injured or ill, but you’ve got no access to a hospital.

The advanced emergency kit should include the intermediate kit PLUS:

• Special bandages, such as conforming, trauma, and field dressings

• Rubbing alcohol for sterilization

• Hydrogen peroxide

• Betadine

• Scissors

• Forceps

• Scalpels

• Hemostats

• Sterile sutures, in several sizes

• Wound probe

• Mouth-to-mouth shield

• Instant hot pack

• Instant cold pack

• Prep pads

• Eye pads

• Sponges

• Cotton balls

• Burn treatments

• Dental tools

• Splint materials

• In-depth first aid/surgical guide

• Cold medication

• Decongestant

• Antihistamine

• Colloidal silver

• Broad spectrum antibiotic

• Antibiotics for sinus infections, strep throat and other common “winter” ailments

• Painkillers

Now, you may wonder what you’ll do with a forceps or a scalpel, but there two possible options:

1. You find a doctor who needs these instruments to do his job.

2. You have to BE an improvised doctor until you can find a hospital. In some cases, a superficial, amateur job can save a life.

One more thing about the advanced emergency kit: make a list with all the chronic illnesses you and your family members suffer from. Then add at least a 3-day supply of meds for each one of them.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back with more life-saving info next week. Until then, stay safe!