How to Make a Splint

If how to make a splint makes you cringe a bit, then you’re well aware that the need for a splint is the result of a painful injury, most likely a broken bone. I distinctly remember breaking the very tip of my finger by slamming a tool box lid on it, I still think my partner did it but he denies it. Besides the initial pain of the finger, it radiated up my arm into my shoulder, throbbing every-time my heart took a beat and lasted for days. My diagnosis, put a splint on it and tough it out until it heals.

I’m not sure if the pressure from the splint or it restricting finger movement reduced the pain, but it did help. So what’s a splint? Simply put, a devise used for holding a part of the body stable to decrease pain and prevent further injury. If a broken or fractured bone is suspected it’s important to keep the break from becoming worse, either by making the break wider or possibly piercing the skin. A splint can be used on any part of the body, even the nose, although not bone, to reduce pain.

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How to make a splint and apply it:

1, If there is an open wound at or near the suspected fracture or break, treat it before applying any type of splint. Gently clean, sanitize, apply medicated ointment and a bandage. You don’t want the wound to become infected as that only compounds an already bad situation.

2. Unless professional medical attention is available always splint the injured body part in the position it’s found. Do not try and move the bones around as you most likely will do more damage than good and its extremely painful to the patient.

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3. Locate anything rigid to use as supports to make the splint, such as sticks, boards, even tightly rolled up newspaper can be used. If nothing like that is available use a blanket, coat or heavy clothing of some sort. In some instances the injured body part can be firmly taped to an uninjured body part, such as an injured finger or toe taped to an adjacent uninjured finger or toe. The idea is to restrict movement.

4. Make the splint longer than the injured area. Try to include the joint above and below the injury if possible. Remember… severe restriction of movement is the goal.

5. Secure the splint with ties, strips of cloth, belts, tape, long grasses twined together. Do not tie a knot directly on the suspected break as you don’t want anything applying pressure to it. Do not secure the ties too tightly as you may risk cutting off blood flow creating a worse situation.

6. Check the injured area periodically looking for swelling, paleness or numbness. Should any of those conditions present themselves, loosen the ties.

7. Seek out professional medical help asap.

As stated before, Do Not attempt to change the position or realign the injured body part. Be careful while applying the splint remembering the more the part is moved the more pain the patient suffers. Try and pad the splint to avoid applying excess pressure to the break/fracture. If the pain is greater after applying the splint. Re-position the splints or remove all together.

Dire Emergency

How to make a splint in a dire emergency is critical, but the first thing anybody should do when a party member is severely injured is immediately try and contact help. I’m going to contradict strict rules I just gave you, but in a dire emergency sometimes a person must do the unthinkable.

For the following:

1. A bone protruding through the skin

2. An open and heavy bleeding wound around the injury

3. A loss of feeling or sensation in the area by the patient

4. Loss of pulse or an increasing feeling of warmth to the injured site

5. Fingers or toes beginning to turn blue and losing sensation

6. Injured part is abnormally bent or twisted

You may be required to gently replace the body part into its normal position. The patient must be bound or held tightly down to prevent unwanted movement while adjusting the break. This is not recommended but the above listed symptoms may indicate loss of circulation which can result in gangrene and loss of limb.

It goes without saying using safe techniques and being aware of your surroundings is the best way to prevent broken bones by falling. Always wear protective gear and avoid getting too fatigued as accidents are more prone to occur when you’re very tired. Knowing how to make a splint is a skill anyone who enjoys and ventures into the outdoors should have.

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How to Treat Chigger Bites

The name chiggers may conjure images of little furry magical creatures, harmless, perhaps amusing to watch as they frolic around in the grass. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are little, 1/150th of an inch in length, barely visible to the naked eye, but far from harmless, they are little devils, Let’s learn how to treat chigger bites.

In order to know how to treat chigger bites we must know the enemy. As stated they are 1/150th of an inch in length, reddish-orange in color, the juveniles, the ones that bite you, have 6 legs, the adults 8 legs. They are of the mite family, Trombiculidae, and feed on any type of animal that comes along, mammal, reptile or bird. They are found world wide so you can’t get away from them unless you go to an arctic environment.

How can something so small hurt us?

You may have a point if you were talking 1 chigger, but there is never just 1 chigger, there are hundreds, possibly thousands attacking. When you spot them on your body they will appear as very tiny red specks scurrying quickly across the skin searching for their favorite location of attack, tight fitting clothes like the elastic of underwear and tight fitting socks. They also tend to migrate to thinner skinned areas such as the groin, armpits and behind the knees. How do they hurt us? Depends on how you define hurt.

Chiggers don’t burrow into our skin and attach claws like a tick, nor pierce our skin with a needle and suck our blood like a mosquito. Instead, chiggers use their mouths to dig a tiny hole in your skin, then secretes a specialized enzyme saliva that breaks down your skin cells turning it into a liquid that the chigger slurps up through a tube of hardened skin cells called stylosome.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, its basically the same process a spider uses to turn their prey’s insides into a liquid which it drinks like a smoothie leaving only an empty shell. Just imagine if chiggers were larger.

Your body’s reaction to how to treat chigger bites is to develop a bright red pimple-like bump where its under attack, which may appear as a generalized rash over the entire area on infestation. This reaction could take up to 24 hours to 48 hours after exposure to the chiggers to present itself.

This rash will result in intense itching, nearly unbearable with a large infestation. You won’t be able to stop scratching which will prevent you from sleeping and functioning normally. The secondary wounds resulting from the constant scratching is ripe for infection from other types of bacteria which could lead to a serious infection developing.

Chigger wounds, which is exactly what they are, should not be taken lightly, as they are a complex mixture of mechanical damage to the skin, (the digging or drilling of holes into the skin) enzymatic disruption of the skin (the digestion of skin cells) and the body’s attempt to combat the parasite invasion. Believe me … you won’t be an idle bystander, you’ll be personally involved in this fight intensely scratching the maddening itching.

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How to Treat Chigger Bites – Avoiding Infestation

Obviously the best way to deal with chigger infestation is to steer clear of their normal environments, which can be easier said than done if you like the outdoors. Chiggers live in all types of environments, forests (woods), grassy fields, grasses around lakes, ponds and rivers, even in parks and gardens. But they are most prevalent in a wildlife setting of non-manicured landscaping.

If exposed to chigger infested areas there are actions you can take to limit your exposure:

  1. Do not wear shorts, always wear long pants.

  2. Tuck the pant legs inside your boots in possible

  3. If not pull your socks up over your pants leg. You’re trying to close any open pathway for the chigger to enter and get onto your exposed skin

  4. Spray insect repellent generously around your boots, pants legs shirt cuffs/ repellent containing deet is the best

  5. lavender oil, peppermint oil and witch hazel can be combined into a mixture and used as a repellent spray.

  6. If you think you have been exposed, as soon as possible take a warm shower and thoroughly wash with soap to remove the mites before they have time to start feeding.

  7. Wash clothes in hot water. You don’t want to rid yourself of mites only to put mite infested clothing back on.

Medically Treating Chigger Bites

By the time you realize you have sustained an attack from chiggers, which is normally when the itching begins, mildly at first, the actual mites may already be gone. However, if available take a shower anyway in order to get rid of any lingering parasites who may be still feeding.

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There is no treatment for the chigger bite per se’ as the damaged skin will heal itself with only a rare complication and that’s normally caused by a secondary infection from the constant scratching. The required treatment is for the itching. Both calamine lotion and corticosteriod creams can help reduce the itching and swelling of chigger bites, and an oral intake of Benadryl or cream may also be beneficial. For the most part Over-the-counter medications are usually all you’ll need to treat the itching. However, there are home remedies that are very effective for relieving the itch and should never be discounted as a helpful remedy. But be diligent in using home remedies because some are based on the belief the chigger burrows into the skin and is still inside residing, which is not true. Treatments for smothering the mites are a waste of time, there’s nothing to smother.

Five Home Remedies for How to Treat Chigger Bites

Baking Soda:

Baking soda contains a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help effectively reduce itching and swelling, as well as reducing risk of infection.

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with water, creating a paste

  2. Apply the paste directly to the infected area and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes

  3. Rinse the paste off with clean water. Do this 3-4 times daily as needed

Oatmeal Bath:

Oatmeal has inherent anti-inflammatory properties which assist in aiding the itching relief.

  1. Prepare a bathtub of tepid temperature water

  2. Draw the water deep enough to fully emerge your body

  3. Add a cup or packet of colloidal oatmeal and thorough mix

  4. Soak your body in the bath for 15-20 minutes

  5. Do this 2-3 times daily as needed

Apple Cider Vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar, similar to baking soda has numerous beneficial uses. It possess an antiseptic and soothing property that can be potentially very useful in treating the itching.

  1. Prepare a bathtub of tepid temperature water, exactly like the oatmeal bath, and add 2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar.

  2. Soak for 15-20 minutes. Apply skin moisturizers after drying off.

  3. Do this 1-2 times daily as needed.

  4. If you’re talking a small area, you can apply the liquid directly to the affected area with cotton balls or a clean cloth. Leave on for 30 minutes, wash and apply moisturizers.

Epson Salt:

Epson salt is a traditional and very effective treatment for the itching created by chigger bites. You can use it in bath water, or dissolve a teaspoon of Epson salt in a glass of water and rub directly on the infected area.

Vicks Vapor Rub:

It may come as a surprise but a jar of Vicks vapor rub can be effective in treating the itching of chigger bites, due to the cooling menthol that reduces the inflammation.

  1. Add a small sprinkle of salt into some Vicks vapor rub and mix.

  2. Directly apply the ointment onto the effected area

  3. Do this 2-3 times daily as needed

How to treat chigger bites may seem like a trivial issue and although chigger bites are never considered dangerous, nor require medical treatment under normal conditions, the intense itching will make your life miserable if you do nothing to help relieve the symptoms. The intense itching can last 2-3 days, which may seem like weeks, and it may take up to 2 weeks for the skin to return to normal looks.

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How to Prevent Hypothermia

You don’t have to be in arctic conditions to run the risk of suffering hypothermia, yet we normally skim over that part, therefore not really retaining it to memory. How to prevent hypothermia, what is hypothermia, how to treat hypothermia, what actually happens to the body during hypothermia, all blend together into a neat little file within the mind labeled Don’t get too cold.” Move on to the next subject. The seriousness of hypothermia can not be overstated, as it is the number one cause of death for people lost in the wilderness and suffer exposure to the elements. Let’s explore the condition known as hypothermia and learn how to prevent hypothermia from ruining your day.

Stages of Hypothermia

Clinically speaking, hypothermia is a state of low body temperature. The normal person’s body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C) and in case you are wondering, that’s not by chance. The body is designed to operate within a certain range of temperatures, leave that range, up or down, and the body reacts to compensate, and we normally don’t like the way it does this.

There are stages of hypothermia and the body reacts differently to each stage. It’s important we learn to recognize the symptoms of each stage in order to diagnosis and treat the patient to alleviate the dangers.

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Stage One: Mild Hypothermia (96.8-93 F to 36-35 C)

Most likely the first sign that someone is becoming hypodermic is their inability to control motor functions. They mumble their speech, stumble when walking, fumbles and drops things, grumbles about odd things. These are all signs that develop when the body’s core temperature drops, motor coordination and sense of consciousness.

  1. Shivering

  2. Unable to perform complex motor skills

  3. Vascular constriction to peripheral body parts (fingers & toes)

Stage Two: Moderate Hypodermic ( 35-33 C to 93-91.4 F)

  1. Reduced level of consciousness; trouble understanding instructions or conversation

  2. Loss of motor coordination particularly in the hands; unable to hold onto or grasp items with the fingers

  3. Very slurred speech, acts as if intoxicated or drunk

  4. Can incur violent shivering; unable to stop

  5. Irrational behavior; for some reason the person starts removing their clothing claiming to be too warm yet in actuality being too cold. This is a common occurrence.

Severe Hypothermia: (less than 33-30 C to 91.4-86 F)

Moderate hypothermia can quickly go from moderate to severe and becomes extremely dangerous.

  1. The person will experience shivering in violent waves, then pause, then repeat violent shivers. The pauses between violent shivers will increase in length until they cease all together. Why? Because the body has decided the heat output from burning glycogen in the muscles in order to produce shivering, will not counteract the body’s ever decreasing core temperature.

  2. The person will collapse to the ground and go into a fetal position in order to conserve heat.

  3. The muscles become rigid

  4. The Skin becomes pale

  5. Pulse rate decreases

  6. Pupils will dilate

  7. At 32C (89.6F) the body attempts to go into hibernation, just like a bear, shutting all peripheral blood flow off and reducing breathing and heart rate.

  8. At 30 C (86 F) the body enters a state of a “metabolic icebox” The person appears dead, but is still alive. If treatment is not immediately administered the breathing will become erratic and very shallow, the level of consciousness will continue to diminish and cardiac arrhythmia will occur resulting in death.

Perhaps the more detailed explanation of what hypothermia does will create an interest of learning how to prevent hypothermia.

What Causes Hypothermia?

To know how to prevent hypothermia one must know what causes it, and there are many things that can factor into that. Dressing improperly is a main reason. Dressing in shorts and a light jacket for a 60 degree F afternoon hike which turns into a 30 degree F forced overnight stay, dress in layers. Then there’s the bad luck syndrome, getting caught in a cool climate by a sudden brief downpour, getting drenched with no way to get dry. Then there’s the infamous accident, simply slipping in the mud while fishing and falling into the water. In other words, anyone can be the victim of hypothermia with a bit of bad luck.

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Actions to Avoid

When treating a person experiencing hypothermia it’s just as important to know what not to do for the person as well as what to do. This is where the myths, old wives tales and incorrect treatment is dispelled. This is not the movies or a TV drama, this is reality and potentially life threatening.

Avoid Shock Treatment: Never heat up the patients body too quickly

Our first instinct for treating a person in hypothermia is to warm that person back up as fast as possible, but that is not correct. It took time for the body to alter its functions to deal with the ever decreasing body temperature. Therefore, those exact body alterations must be performed in reverse and that requires some time. Not as long as it took to induce hypothermia, but a reasonable amount of readjustment time.

  1. Never emerge a person into a hot bath,

  2. Never use hot water bottles;

  3. Never use electric blankets unless you closely monitor the temperature settings.

Due the extreme negative conditions the body has endured reaching hypothermia, which weakened its ability to respond, to subject the body to a sudden shock of temperature change could produce a heart attack.

Never give the person alcohol

I realize the movie hero always takes a stiff shot of alcohol in order to shake off the bitter cold, but this is one of those myths to dispel. If the unconscious person could talk they’d tell you the alcohol makes them feel warmer, but a mirage, a dangerous one. It’s true the person will feel warmer because alcohol moves blood to the skin, but at what cost.

Your body is attempting to force all available heat to your core functions in order to keep organs, heart pumping, lungs working, stuff like that, operating. It knows death will result if these functions cease, and it also knows it can live perfectly well without some fingers or toes. Therefore, it forces blood from the extremities to the body core, but introduction of alcohol disrupts this process. In reality, you’re unintentionally trying to kill the person by giving alcohol.

Caution With Food

Some “experts” recommend giving the person high energy bars to eat in order to jump start their metabolism, thus creating internal heat. The problem with this is its not unusual for a person suffering hypothermia to have difficulty swallowing, which could be catastrophic if they should choke on the food item. Ask the person to cough then attempt to swallow. Even if the person can swallow use caution while feeding them, breaking everything into very small bites.

I recommend sticking with warm liquids, soups, teas, hot chocolate, coffee. Urge them to take small sips instead of gulping the drink down. Combining a pure chocolate candy bar, like a Hershey and hot fluids will work in place of the energy bar. The pure chocolate will melt before any real danger results if there is a swallowing problem. Remember; warm the person slowly.

Exercise?

Since exercise creates body heat, shouldn’t you have the person begin exercising as it will help reheat the core body. You are half right. The person should have, if they didn’t, exercise in an attempt to stave off hypothermia, but once it is incurred exercise is a bad option. The loss of critical body heat has resulted in loss of dexterity, poor mental awareness, and clumsiness. These are poor conditions to be exercising in regardless of the intensity level. Added injury from a fall while jogging will only compound the problem. No matter how good the person thinks they feel, there will be residual effects they are unaware of. Bottom line: No exercising.

No time to sleep

Similar to incurring a concussion, the person will experience lethargy, drowsiness and possibly confusion. They will simply want to lay down and go to sleep. You can not allow them to go to sleep! Do whatever is necessary to keep them awake, because if they doze off they may never wake.

Actions to Take on How to Treat Hypothermia

The first thing to do is get the person to a warmer place. That doesn’t necessarily mean a solid structure, a snow cave is much warmer than the outside area. The important issue is to remove them from exposure to the elements that caused the hypothermia as quickly as possible in order for the body to begin to recuperate.

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  1. Seek emergency help ASAP. Whatever you can do they can do better.

  2. Keep the patient awake by whatever means are necessary

  3. Replace wet clothes with dry clothes ASAP. Remove the wet clothes even if you don’t have dry replacements. Cover with a blanket or other warm material

  4. Provide warm liquids, soup, hot tea, hot chocolate etc

  5. As the patient warms and regains their faculties, if available you can give them a warm bath, no hotter than 104 F (40 C) about the temperature of a hot tub.

  6. If outside … start a fire. If possible place the fire next to a rock ledge or outcrop so the rock can absorb the heat and radiate it back out onto the patient as well as the direct heat from the fire.

  7. Again, remove wet clothes, even without dry replacements, vigorously rub the person’s extremities to increase blood circulation. Take your clothes off and spoon using your body heat to help warm the other person.

  8. Cover the person with green boughs or leaf litter, anything to insulate him from the cold.

Additional actions will be available depending on the situation, but the main goal is to remove the person from the elements, remove all wet clothing and re-warm him slowly.

How to Prevent Hypothermia

How to prevent hypothermia is pretty straight forward common sense and a little bit of planning ahead.

  1. Dress not only for the current environment, but the anticipated environment. Pants and a light jacket may be fine when you begin your hike, but you know the temperatures plummet to near freezing after nightfall. Take a heavy coat with you. Tie it around your waist, stuff it into a backpack, but take it with you. Sure you plan on being back before sunset, but ….

  2. Do everything possible to keep from getting wet. Damp clothes, much alone wet ones, against the body causes the body to lose heat in an attempt to evaporate the moisture. This steals vital heat from your core as well as energy.

  3. Should the unthinkable happen, you fall into water and are soaked, or you have sweated so much through exertion your shirt is soaking wet, remove these clothing items and dry them. This is another reason to dress in layers. You can remove the wettest garment and dry it while still wearing the less wet piece of clothing. Or better yet, remove layers if you become too warm preventing them from becoming soaked with sweat.

  4. No choice but to stand naked while your clothes dry over the fire. Do jumping jacks while waiting. They are activity enough to create body heat, yet are not exhausting which would keep you from doing them for an extended time period.

Pay attention to what your body is telling you

Why would you ignore the warnings of your best friend when it comes to how to prevent hypothermia? Your body is your best friend and will give you advance warnings when approaching a danger zone. If you begin to sweat, which your body is saying I’m getting too hot, take some clothes off, a hat will release a ton of heat. Getting too cold, your body is telling you to put on extra clothes, get to moving or start a fire. I need heat. It’s really not rocket science. As with most things in the survival environment preventing hypothermia is much easier than coming back from its effects.

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Basic First-Aid

My mother’s basic first-aid was to kiss my boo boo and although that might not sound like much to you, it did wonders for me. But as I grew up and injuries became too severe for kisses, I realized how important it was to learn basic first-aid.

Basic first-aid encompasses much more than slapping a band-aid on a scrape. Whether you’re on a busy city street or in the middle of the wilderness, correct and quick basic first-aid treatment can mean the difference between life and death for the injured person. Let’s begin our learning venture into the world of basic first-aid.

Treating Children

I begin with children because they are the most vulnerable and will elicit a panic mode in adults quicker than the injury of an adult, which could delay immediate response and treatment. Additionally, even if you are experienced in administering basic first-aid, physical treatment of a child is different because their bodies are still developing and are much more delicate. Here are basic steps for administering basic first-aid to an unresponsive child.

Scenario: You discover a child with no visible injuries, yet there is something obviously wrong.

* Check the scene. Is there an opened medicine bottle or household chemical around? Tap the child on the shoulder and ask “Are you OK?” No response, Yell louder, “Do you need help?”

* For an infant, flick the bottom of the foot to illicit a response. Lay the child on their back, tilt their head back slightly in order to lift the chin, this is to insure there is an open airway. Check for breathing. Place your ear close to the child’s mouth for a few seconds, no more than 10, and listen. Gasping or an occasional guttering sound does not equal breathing.

* If the child is not breathing, immediately administer CPR. After 2 minutes of CPR call 911 for help. You may think calling 911 would be the first reaction, but you have no idea how long the child has been lifeless, the additional 5 – 10 second delay in calling 911 first could have deadly results. If a there are bystanders ask them to call 911 while you administer CPR.

* Continue CPR until EMT or other medical professionals arrive.

This is but one possible scenarios, choking and conscious, choking and unconscious, bleeding, seizures, and etc, all have different basic first-aid treatments which we will delve into, but I wanted to single out the worse case scenario.

Cleaning and Dressing a Wound

Properly cleaning & dressing a wound prevents infections and speeds the healing process, both important. Here are the basic first-aid steps to treating a wound.

  1. Maintaining your safety must be of utmost importance. Use universal precautions and wear protective equipment, at least latex gloves.

  2. A small amount of bleeding is not only normal, but beneficial as its natures’ way of cleaning debris from the wound. However, if the blood is bright red or squirting, deeper than 1 inch, a puncture to the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis or back, call 911 immediately as these could be life threatening injuries. Clean the wound with running water and soap, washing a large area around the wound not just the wound. Use tweezers to remove any foreign objects that will not wash out and wash again. Rinse thoroughly. Some experts are now discouraging the use of hydrogen peroxide for treating open wounds, but I still recommend it if its available.

  3. If the cut is open, skin split apart, use surrey strips or adhesive surgical tape to pull the skin together and hold it in place until it heals.

  4. Cover the wound with an adhesive bandage.

Deeper lacerations are those that extend into the tissues below the skin and are much more serious an injury. Puncture wounds fall into this category and can be difficult to evaluate the seriousness of the wound. These wounds continue to bleed, as they are too large or deep for normal clotting to occur and must be compressed in order to stop the bleeding.

Follow the above noted procedure for cleaning the wound, cleanliness is imperative, however seek medical attention if:

It’s been more than 5 years since the patient had a tetanus shot;

It’s a laceration with jagged edges and will not close with tape alone;

The wound is either extremely tender or numb;

The wound is inflamed (Warm, swelling, redness of the area)

The wound is weeping pus (yellowish but can be clear, thick liquid

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Treating an Avulsion (aka DE-gloving)

You may ask what is an avulsion? Basically its a wound where chunks of tissue are torn from the body. These types of wounds, commonly caused by animal bites and motorcycle accidents, are highly prone to infection, on the level of burns.

Steps for treatment:

  1. Control the bleeding with direct pressure and elevation avoiding the use of a tourniquet unless absolutely necessary and professional medical help is non-existent. Use an absorbent clean dressing to apply direct pressure.

  2. Thoroughly wash the wound with water or a saline solution, as the more sterile the better.

  3. If the chunk of tissue, skin, fat or muscle, is not totally torn away, replace the flap to its original position and dress the wound, binding it tightly. If the chunk is separated, gather it and transport it along with the patient to an emergency room.

This injury requires more than basic first-aid, but I included it because of the increased wide range of ATV usages and this injury is prone to happen in these types of activities.

CPR Instructions:

Of all the basic first-aids treatments CPR is possibly the most important as it saves more lives than any other first aid treatment.

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  1. Place the person on their back on the floor

  2. Tilt the head so the chin is pointing upwards. This is done by placing the fingertips under the jaw bone and lifting gently while pressing down softly on the person’s forehead. This is to insure the tongue is not blocking the airway.

  3. Check for signs of breathing. Place your ear close to their mouths for a few seconds, no longer than 10, and/or watch to see if their chest is rising and falling.

  4. If there is normal breathing, continue to hold head in current position to avoid the tongue from blocking the throat and call 911. If there is no breathing, start basic life support immediately.

  5. Place the heel of your hand in the middle of the chest above the breast bone. (not over the ribs or stomach.)

  6. Now place the heel of your other hand on top of the first. Keep your fingers off the chest by interlocking them together. Your pressure should be exerted by the heels of your hands only.

  7. Keep your elbows straight, bring your body weight over your hands in order to make pressing down easier.

  8. Press down firmly and quickly to achieve downward movement, then relax and repeat the compression.

  9. Do this compression at a rate of about 100 times per minute. This is fast and hard work. It will help you gauge your speed by counting out loud, one and two, two and three, etc

  10. Do this 30 times

  11. Now be sure the airway is open by positioning the patient’s head with the chin pointing upwards

  12. Pinch the nostrils closed, to avoid air leakage, by squeezing them together with two fingers

  13. Take a deep breath, seal your mouth over the person’s mouth, a good seal is important

  14. Breath slowly but deeply into the person’s mouth, taking a minimum of 2 seconds to adequately inflate the chest

  15. Do this twice

  16. Check to see if the chest rises as you breathe into the patient’s mouth

  17. If it does you are blowing in enough air

  18. If it does not rise, you either aren’t blowing in enough air, or there is an obstruction. Hold the head back further and lift the chin higher

  19. Continue with 30 chest compression’s, then two rescue breaths, stopping only if the patient begins to breathe on their own or you are relieved by another person.

Performing the Heimlich Maneuver

Choking is not an usual injury and can caused by many different reasons, but food that has not been thoroughly chewed is the most common cause. Should you encounter a person who appears to be choking ask them if they can talk. A person who is genuinely choking can not talk and will only be able to communicate with hand gestures. This is the time for action on your part.

If the person is conscious but struggling to breathe, first stand them upright and lean their head slightly forward. Encourage them to cough and with the flat part of your palm strike them forcibly between the shoulder blades in hopes the food can be coughed out. Repeat 4 to 5 times rapidly. If that fails, immediately perform the Heimlich Maneuver.

  1. Stand behind the person who is choking

  2. Place your arms around their waist, while having them bend forward as well

  3. Clench your fist and place it right above the person’s navel (belly button)

  4. Place your other hand on top of the fist, then thrust both hands backwards into the stomach using a hard and upward movement

  5. Repeat this until the object lodged in the throat is dislodged and expelled

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Treating Shock

Reasons for Shock: Shock normally occurs when not enough blood is reaching the brain, which creates oxygen deprivation. There are many reasons a person can go into shock such as: an accident involving blood loss, a serious infection, a serious burn, an allergic reaction, severe loss of body fluids.

Symptoms: A person going into shock will display one or more of these symptoms:

  1. going pale

  2. become sweaty, clammy and cold

  3. become dizzy

  4. become anxious or restless

  5. have a weak or fast pulse

  6. have low blood pressure

  7. have slow, shallow or weak breathing

  8. become lethargic or lose consciousness

Basic First-Aid Treatment:

  1. Have the person lie on their back and elevate their feet

  2. make sure the person stays warm, cover with a blanket

  3. avoid giving them anything to drink due to the risk of choking. If need be lift them to a sitting position before giving liquids

  4. should the person vomit or is bleeding from the mouth, place the person on their side to prevent choking

  5. Seek medical attention asap as shock can be deadly.

Above and Beyond Basic First-aid

There may be times you will encounter an injured person who will require treatment beyond basic fist-aid, but implementing first-aid must be performed in order to sustain life until professional treatment can be acquired. One such case will be a wound which will not stop bleeding such as an arterial wound.

Arteries carry oxygen rich blood from the heart to muscles and organs vital for life. Should an artery become cut or punctured, the wound will spurt bright red blood because its coming directly from the heart and each pump of the heart will create blood loss through the open wound in a squirting fashion. This type of wound, untreated, will result in death quickly, aka bleeding out. Call 911 immediately.

There are three primary methods for controlling bleeding of this nature, (1) direct pressure, (2) elevation and (3) pressure points. It must be noted, blood can carry dangerous blood borne pathogens therefore if possible, wear protective clothing, gloves, eye wear and a mask.

Direct Pressure is the most common and effective field method of controlling an arterial blood issue. Using a sterile dressing or any other material available, (this is an emergency) apply direct pressure to the wound, using your fingertip or hand if the wound is too large. Do not remove the bandage or rag even if it becomes saturated with blood because removing it will disturb the wound and destroy any clotting that may have occurred. Instead place an additional bandage over the wound and continue to apply pressure.

Elevation in conjunction with direct pressure can be utilized when possible. For example, raising the arm above the heart will help reduce pressure aiding in the possibility of the direct pressure clotting the wound. Be sure there are no broken bones before performing this action.

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Pressure Points:

Should direct pressure and raising elevation does not stop the bleeding it indicates the wound is too large to clot and will require surgery. It’s time to temporarily abandon direct pressure to the wound and apply pressure to the pressure point which directly feeds blood to the injury, which can be located anywhere an artery passes over a bone.

***For an arm or hand injury apply pressure to the brachial artery which is located in the upper inside of the arm.

***The femoral artery is located in the crease of the groin area and will stop bleeding in leg and foot wounds. If possible continue direct pressure to the wound and continue elevation while applying pressure at these pressure points.

Damned if you do … damned if you don’t

Congratulations, you have applied enough force on the pressure point to stop the bleeding and have avoided an unnecessary death by bleeding out. Now you have created another dangerous situation. By stopping all blood from reaching the leg wound you have also deprived the foot of blood. Going too long without blood flow to the foot could result in tissue dying and the need for amputation. Ironic the uninjured foot becomes a causality of a leg wound. To avoid this tragic result periodically check the further most extremities, fingers and toes for signs of becoming cold, bluish or pale, which indicates danger of dying tissue. Reduce pressure allowing blood flow to reach these areas even if it results in the original wound to begin bleeding. This will allow the starved limbs to recuperate. Tourniquets should always be the last resort of any bleeding treatment. (It’s common practice to write the exact time a tourniquet is applied on the patient’s forehead)

Learning basic first-aid is extremely important for anyone, but especially a survivalist who by the very nature of their relationship with the outdoors and potential dangerous situations makes it a must do.

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How to Make Chloroform

Ask me how to make chloroform and my first reply would be “Why?” Do you realize how dangerous it is to manufacture this chemical? Allow me a brief history of chloroform. As with many things we have today, the internet for example, chloroform was discovered and intended for usage by military doctors as an anesthetic on the battlefield. The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) was the initial full utilization of the drug, along with ether. By the American Civil War battlefield amputations became epidemic and doctors needed a quick reacting anesthetic to render soldiers unconscious in order to survive the assembly line procedures of leg and arm amputations. Chloroform was preferred over ether because it was faster acting and was not flammable. Still want to know how to make chloroform?

Dangers of how to make chloroform

We’ll get to how to make chloroform, but I’m not done trying to discourage you from the attempt. Chloroform is a dangerous chemical capable of irritating the eyes, skin and respiratory system, as well as potentially damaging the nervous system, lungs, kidneys and other organs. The chemical is easily absorbed into the body through the skin or through inhalation and is a known carcinogenic which causes cancer.

Not worried? There is also the possibility of a person dying from what is known as “sudden sniffer death” which is a fatal cardiac arrhythmia some people may suffer upon exposure. It’s like being allergic to a bee sting, but not knowing it until you are stung. Same principle, but your chances of dying from the bee sting, especially if medical aid is close, is quite good. Not so much from an allergic reaction to chloroform.

You learned how to make chloroform, now what do you do with it? Chloroform exposed to oxygen (air) over an extended period of time will degrade and produce additional chemicals, Phosgene being one of those. Phosgene was a chemical created and used in WWI to kill 85% of all soldiers killed by poisonous gas attacks. Store chloroform improperly and you’re exposing yourself and others to sure death.

How to Make Chloroform:

There are of course legitimate reasons for needing to know how to make chloroform, especially in a crisis survival situation. People will suffer injuries, unfortunately some of these injuries will be severe, life threatening and will require surgery. Most likely you are not a doctor, but someone in your group may be, and in order to perform surgery the patient must be rendered unconscious. Here is where your expertise comes into play because you know how to make chloroform.

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Ingredients / Chemicals Required:

  1. Bleach … 6% solution, any higher concentration affects the entire formula configuration.

  2. Acetone … aka nail polish remover or paint reducer. Verify the product you buy is actually acetone and not an acetone supplement. I’d suggest going to a professional paint supply store to purchase acetone as the people working there are professionals. However, you can buy it at cosmetic counters and big box home supply stores.

  3. Ice … have plenty on hand as you don’t want to run short while preparing the mixture.

    beaker

Equipment Required:

  1. Large Glass container… It must be glass. Plastic, metal or any other substance will be degraded by the chemical reaction and ruin the product. HDPE buckets have been recommended by some experts, but it impairs the visibility of the chemical reactions, a dangerous situation. Use glass.

  2. A separation funnel is highly recommended in order to separate the chloroform from the other ingredients. You can substitute an eye dropper, but it’ll take forever. You can purchase a funnel on line for @$25.

  3. A stir stick … glass only.

  4. I consider a gas mask as mandatory, as well as chemical resistant gloves. You must perform the mixing in a well ventilated area, because the risk of inhaling vapors alone can make you nauseated, give you headaches and cause you to lose consciousness.

Procedure for how to make chloroform:

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It’s best to start the procedure with the bleach and acetone chilled in addition to using ice because the ensuing chemical reaction will heat the mixture to at least 85 degrees F. (29.44C). The higher concentration of bleach, which is why 6% is called for, the hotter it will become. It’s important to keep the mixture at a low temperature.

** The ratio for making chloroform is 1 part acetone to 50 parts bleach.**

  1. Pour 16 ounces (½ liter) of bleach into the glass container, which is clear and has no residues in it. Add a few ice cubes to maintain the low temperature.

  2. Slowly pour 1/3 ounce (10ml) of acetone into the mixture while stirring with the glass stirrer stick. The temperature will rise to @86F (30C) as the chemical reaction begins. Beware that using bleach in greater concentrates than 6% (8.25% or 10%) could create a very hazardous condition of the possibility of the chloroform boiling over. Additionally the glass container could become too hot to handle with bare hands.

  3. Allow the mixture to complete its chemical reaction, 20 to 30 minutes is usually sufficient. You will able to see the chemical reaction occurring as fumes will rise in the glass container and the temperature of the glass container will elevate to the point it’ll be very uncomfortable to touch the container with the bare skin. Additionally you’ll notice a white cloud of vapor hovering above the solution and the solution itself will become cloudy. Do not breathe the vapor.

  4. Allow the mixture to cool and separate for an hour. You should now see a small, separate blob of dense liquid, bubble or white powder at the bottom of the glass container. That’s the chloroform. Remove the larger quantity of liquid above the liquid blob, which is the chloroform, either by decanter or using an eye dropper or similar suction devise. If you have wisely bought the separating funnel, use this to perform this function.

    funnelFunnel

These are the steps required for how to make chloroform, however, this is a very crude form of the product and not intended for use on humans. In order to achieve that status the chloroform must be distilled and for that, with no humor intended, you’ll need a moonshiner type distillery or a chemist lab.

I performed quite a bit of research on how to distill the chloroform in order to make it safer, because I feel like I’ve lead you to the edge of a cliff with no instructions of how to descend it. However, the methods, equations and specialized equipment required were beyond my comprehension, and I will not cut and paste information that I have no idea if its correct or not. My goal is to teach … not maim.

strikepen-300x250-1

Tactical Strike Pen … click here now

This cut & paste example is for illustration purpose only.

Reacts slowly with oxygen or oxidising agents, when exposed to air and light, giving, mainly, phosgene, Cl2 and HCl. Commercial Chloroform (CAS NO. 67-46-3) is usually stabilized by addn of up to 1% EtOH or of dimethylaminoazobenzne. Simplest purifications involve washing with water to remove the EtOH, drying with K2CO3 or CaCl2, refluxing with P2O5, CaCl2, CaSO4 or Na2SO4, and distilling. It must not be dried with sodium. The distd CHCl3 should be stored in the dark to avoid photochemical formation of phosgene. As an alternative purification, CHCl3 can be shaken with several small portions of conc H2SO4, washed thoroughly with water, and dried with CaCl2 or K2CO3 before filtering and distilling. EtOH can be removed from CHCl3 by passage through a column of activated alumina, or through a column of silica gel 4-ft long by 1.75-in diameter at a flow rate of 3mL/min. (The column, which can hold about 8% of its weight of EtOH, is regenerated by air drying and then heating at 600 °C for 6h. It is pre-purified by washing with CHCl3, then EtOH, leaving in conc H2SO4 for about 8hr, washing with water until the washings are neutral, then air drying, followed by activation at 600 °C for 6h. Just before use it is reheated for 2h to 154 °C.)

Carbonyl-containing impurities can be removed from CHCl3 by percolation through a Celite column impregnated with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine, phosphoric acid and water. (Prepared by dissolving 0.5g DNPH in 6mL of 85% H3PO4 by grinding together, then mixing with 4mL of distilled water and 10g of Celite). Chloroform can be dried by distn from powdered type 4A Linde molecular sieves. For use as a solvent in IR spectroscopy, Chloroform is washed with water (to remove EtOH), then dried for several hours over anhydrous CaCl2 and fractionally distd. This treatment removes material absorbing near 1600 cm-1. (Percolation through activated alumina increases this absorbing impurity). Rapid purification: Pass through a column of basic alumina (Grade I, 10g/mL of CHCl3), and either dry by standing over 4A molecular sieves, or alternatively, distil from P2O5 (3% w/v). Use immediately.

I know I said I wouldn’t cut & paste, but there are always the doubters, me sometimes, and I wanted to remove all doubt that what I was telling you was the truth. If you can understand the above instructions … you don’t need to ask me how to make chloroform.

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Emergency Para-cord Usages

Para-cord, also called 550 cord and/or parachute cord, is a lightweight nylon rope, and is an extremely versatile material, which of course makes it an excellent item to have in your survival kit. Perhaps the most important use is emergency para-cord usages, the type of situations which could tragically result in permanent injury or even death. Originally used as parachute guide lines, airborne troops quickly realized the potential for emergency para-cord usages while being forced to improvise when treating injured soldiers.

As stated there are numerous, maybe 50 or 60 uses for para-cord in a survival situation, but we’ll discuss six emergency para-cord usages as they are the most critical. Becoming severely wounded in the wilderness is as serious as it gets and no matter how careful you are serious injuries are always one step away. Step on a rock which suddenly gives way causing you to fall on a dead branch and you suddenly incur a deep laceration to your arm, or something as remote as being attacked by an animal leaving deep claw wounds. Doesn’t matter … it happens and this is where knowing emergency para-cord usages can save your life.

Incredible Survivor Equipment

Emergency Para-Cord Usages One: Sutures

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A regular sewing needle can be used if no suture needle is available

The idea of threading a needle in and out of your skin is rather nauseating to me, but in order to stop massive blood loss and to reduce the risk of infection, suturing a deep wound may be your only choice. If you are lucky you’ll have a suture kit with you, but Murphy’s Law usually prevails and you didn’t pack it or lost it along the trail. This is when you use para-cord for the sutures.

Peel the outer casing of the para-cord away exposing the inner strands, which are small enough and strong enough to suture the wound closed. Pull a strand or two out, the longer the better, and thread it through a suture needle. If you have ever darned socks or watched your grandmother sew clothes, this is the exact method you want to use for threading the needle. Leave a long tail and tie a knot in the end, a double knot may be better as you don’t want to pull the knot through the skin.

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If you have a hemostat use it to hold the needle for sanitary reasons. I only mention this because you may have one, but doubtful if your suture kit is AWOL. Sterilize the needle and your hands the best as possible.

Begin at the middle of the open wound, @ a ½ centimeter (@1/4 inch) away from the opening and push the needle into the skin. It will exit inside the wound, push the needle through the skin from the inside, exiting through the outside of the wound. Pull the thread taunt closing the wound together. Do not overlap the skin, only touching. Continue this process until reaching the end of the wound. Using the needle interlace the string creating a knot and cut off any excess string. Repeat the entire process beginning at the middle of the wound and working the opposite direction until the wound is totally closed.

Starting at the middle of the wound and working in halves instead of end to end allows you more control of the suturing process. Remember, you’re not a surgeon who knows the exact amount of pressure to exert to close but not rip through the skin, you will be bleeding making it difficult to see, and you’ll be hurting like hell.

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Emergency Para-Cord Usages Two: Slings

Adjustable-Composite-Cloth-Reborn-Wrist-Arm-Sling-Shoulder-Immobiliser-Fracture-Sprained-Support-Strap-Wrist-Support-Gray

Substitute shown cloth strap with para-cord

Lacerations are not the only severe injury possibility. Possibly just as serious and more disabling is a dislocation of an arm or shoulder. A fall, it doesn’t have to be from a great height, where you land awkwardly can result in a dislocation of a joint, a severely painful injury. For instance a shoulder dislocation will require restricted movement in order to help alleviate the pain and lessen the chances of further damage, and a sling is the best possible method for achieving this.

Using a knife, cut strips of clothing, jacket, extra shirt, extra socks, whatever you can use for cushioning between the para-cord and the skin. Wrap the cushioning around the wrist, and secure it by tying a slip knot around the wrist. Pull the para-cord around your neck, placing cushioning between it and the skin, and gently pull it taunt until the arm is in the least possible painful position. Tie the para-cord off at the elbow in order to secure the positioning. You can double or triple the roping in order to add additional strength.

Emergency Para-Cord Usages Three: Splints

Broken or fractured bones can not only be painful, but can leave you totally immobilized which compounds the severity of your already bad situation. Although not life threatening, under normal circumstances, not being able to move hinders rescue and exposes you to other risks of hypothermia, heat exhaustion or dehydration. You must regain your mobility and splinting the broken limb will hopefully allow you to achieve that. Let’s use the example of a broken leg.

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Locate one, two will be better, stout tree limbs or other solid objects that can restrict movement. Place extra clothing or other cushioning material like spruce or cedar limbs on the ground where the leg is broken. Place the stout stick(s) along the injured portion of the leg. Wrap the para-cord around the entire area and tie taunt to keep it in place. Do not over tighten and cut off blood circulation. The splint will restrict any bone movement as the result of traveling, lessening the pain you’ll have to endure. It’ll still hurt, but will enable you limited movement which may be all you need for rescue. Use a walking stick to help maintain balance and take weight off the injured leg.

Emergency Para-Cord Usages Four: Tourniquets

We don’t like to recognize the fact that we may someday be faced with an unimaginable decision of dying or losing a limb, but reality is reality and we must know how to address the issue should we be faced with it. If we were to incur an arterial wound where stopping the bleeding is impossible without drastic action, and we must stop it somehow or we will quickly bleed out and die. A tourniquet is the last, but best method of accomplishing that goal.

Locate an area above the wound, closest to the heart, wrap the para-cord around the limb twice in order to not cut the skin as you tighten the tourniquet defeating the purpose, and tie a knot. Insert a stick through the knot and begin twisting the rope tight until the blood flow stops. Depending on the situation, either tie the stick off where you don’t have to hold it in order to move, or hold it tight in order to occasionally release the pressure in order to try and save the limb.

Time is of the essence. Delay too long and blood loss will result in loss of consciousness and will result in death.

Emergency Para-Cord Usages Five: Makeshift Stretcher

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Should you find yourself in a group situation and one of the party incurs an injury or illness that prevents them from being able to move on their own, you’ll need to make a stretcher in order to carry the person.

The military motto “Leave no man behind” is based on reality not just moral character. Why not leave the person and bring help back? An injured person left on their own runs the increased risks of hypothermia, dehydration, heat exhaustion and attack by wild animals which increases exponentially. Never split up the group or leave a person behind.

In order to make a para-cord stretcher begin by unrolling the para-cord onto the ground and locating the middle. Lay the rope out in an S configuration, all of equal lengths. Using two strong tree limbs, or other suitable material for handles, thread the sticks between the S loops. Using small pieces of rope tie these loops together where the limb passes through. Make the stretcher as narrow as possible because the weight of the person will stretch the para-cord.

Emergency Para-Cord Usages Six: Life Saving Life Line

The danger of drowning is always a possibility while fishing for food, crossing a river or walking on ice which turns out to be too thin to support your weight, as well as the notoriously deadly quicksand. These situations are not only potentially life threatening but are also Time Critical.

Para-cord can be used to quickly create an emergency rescue line. Grab something that will float, a stick, cooler lid, empty plastic soda bottle with lid, and tie a figure 8 knot around it. This offers a floating target for the endangered person to visibly see and reach, and allows weight for additional throwing distance. When the person is in moving water always throw the rescue line 4 to 5 feet upstream from the struggling person in order for it to float down to the person. In still water or mired in quicksand, throw the line directly to the person.

These are but six examples of emergency para-cord usages that can save a person’s life. It’s a versatile handy piece of equipment which should maintain a permanent spot in your survival kit. As matter of opinion, emergency para-cord usages is a prime example of thinking and researching outside the box. The average person would not have known all six of these potential life saving techniques, and there are numerous other examples of such products and materials available which have special and unique resources. 

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Is My Cut Infected or Just Healing

Everyone has had them. That little splinter of wood or metal in your finger that is so small you can’t see it without a magnifying glass, that turns into a little raised bump that turns red, then drives you up the wall with pain every time you hit it against something… which seems to be every two minutes or less. How could something so small hurt so much? The inflammation around the minuscule invader is what creates the shooting pain. Which leads us to the question… “Is my cut infected or just healing?”

Wounds of any sort, even the tiny splinter, can cause problems if they become infected, but in the wilderness, infections can end in a catastrophic and disabling injury. There are no Urgent Care or hospital emergency rooms in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you pack a well-organized first aid kit.

To begin let’s offer a general definition of what constitutes a wound. A wound is a damaged area of the body, usually involving a break to the skin, or caused by trauma. Traumatic wounds could be a result of falls, accidents, fights, bites or weapons. They may be cuts, lacerations, grazes, bruises, etc. Hopefully we can rule out the fight scenario, although not a 100%, but other normal possibilities of becoming wounded are with us 24 hours a day.

The wound itself could be disabling, but right now we’re dealing with smaller, “no big deal” wounds which turn ugly. It may make you squeamish, but millions of microscopic germs, bacteria, viruses and fungi live on our skin and in the environment, but normally do us no harm because we are protected by an incredibly strong barrier, a force field shall we say. However, when the skin is broken a super highway is opened for germs to enter our body and infect more sensitive tissues beneath our hard core.

Why do some wounds become infected but not others?

Our bodies are equipped with a remarkable immune system designed to detect, attack and kill any foreign invaders which intrude before they cause an issue. For the most part this defense system works marvels, but the system can be impeded from doing its job in certain situations. Some circumstances make it more likely that wounds will become infected. These may include:

If the object which caused the wound was dirty and contained germs

Wounds caused by a human or animal bite and germs got injected into the system

If the wound still contains a “foreign body”, like bits of whatever caused the injury. For example, bits of glass, splinters of wood, thorns, etc.

The size and depth of the wound. Larger or deeper wounds have a higher chance of becoming infected.

Jagged edges to the wound make sealing the wound an issue.

If you are an older person. Your skin heals less well as you get older.

If you are very overweight.

Your immune system is compromised and does not work as well as normal.

Is my cut infected or just healing?

Don’t ignore the warning signs of possible infection. If the wound is infected it won’t heal on its own. In other words it ain’t going away because you ignore it. Facts are, it will become increasing worse. You may be stranded in the wilderness, or your pilot isn’t due back for another three days, whatever, if nothing else you want to contain the infection if you can’t cure it. Look for warning signs.

is my cut infected or just healing

Red and swollen

The wound becomes red around the edges and feels warm;

It becomes swollen;

Oozes puss;

Becomes more painful instead of less;

Won’t heal;

You begin experiencing flu-like,” I don’t feel right”, symptoms;

The wound redness and area increases in size.

Preventing Infection in traumatic wounds

Preventing infection is a better option than treating it. Let’s look at a few tips:

Clean the wound and skin around it as soon as it happens. Use cool boiled water, or drinking-quality water.

If you think there are still bits of foreign bodies in the wound, try and remove it as it will definitely cause a problem. Have it professionally cleaned out when medical attention is available.

Use an antiseptic around the wound area to help keep the germs away.

Put a clean dressing over your wound to protect it from germs. Do not use gauze or a type of dressing which will stick to the wound, because removal (changing) will re-open the wound.

Bites are very likely to become infected – seek medical advice at the earliest signs of this. If the injury is large, or there are multiple bite wounds, it may be worth having antibiotics “in case”. Seek advice straightaway in this case, rather than waiting for signs of infection to develop.

Keep a close eye on the wound and seek medical advice if you think infection is developing.

Specific Emergency First Aid Treatments

There is always a certain amount of chaos in any type of injury situation. Some people remain calm, some calm then fall apart later, and some fall apart immediately. Sometimes the brain, under stress, will recall specific memories quicker than using logic to gather and formulate the knowledge we possess into a plan of action. Based on that here are some specific injury examples and treatment to retain to memory.

Minor Burns

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Is My Cut Infected or Just Healing?

Trying to start a fire, tending a fire, cooking with fire, makes receiving a burn a typical hazard. Immediately hold the burn under cool running water or apply a wet towel, ice if available, until the pain subsides. Cover the area, which will have blister(s) with a loose bandage or gauze and tape it in place. Don’t intentionally pop the blisters, if they pop on their own, apply an antibiotic cream and re-bandage. Monitor the wound looking for any signs of redness, swelling, tenderness or discharge, all signs of infection.

Minor Cuts

The use of knives and hatchets can result in a bad aim, glancing blow, or slip which can result in a cut, usually of the hands, arms or leg. To stop the bleeding firmly press a clean cloth against the wound applying pressure for 5 to 15 minutes as required to stop the bleeding. Clean the cut under lukewarm water, use soap and clean away any dirt or debris near the wound, and pat dry. Spread a thin layer of an antibiotic ointment, over the counter is fine, over the entire wound area, then cover with a bandage and tape in place.

If the cut is deeper, you will need to pull the edges of the skin together in order for it to heal. Some first aid kits contain “butterfly stitches” which are specially cut tape bandages, but you can use strips of normal adhesive tape to pull the skin together and secure it. Continue to monitor the wound, applying a layer of new ointment and a clean bandage daily. Watch for signs of infection.

Insect Sting or Bite

Besides being painful an insect sting can quickly become deadly if the person has an allergic reaction. A hornet sting may not kill you, but from personal experience, the pain may make you wish you’d die. Locate the area of sting, there may be more than one, and determine if the stinger is still lodged in the skin. If so, use your fingernail, knife blade, credit card to gently scrape the stinger upwards until you can grab it and remove it. Place ice or a cold pack on the area to reduce swelling and pain. Mix baking soda and water into a paste and pack it onto the wound. It’ll help draw out the pain.

Nosebleed

Accidentally popping yourself in the nose is not only embarrassing and aggravating, it can cause a nose bleed that could actually result in you becoming weak due to blood loss. Remember any event in the wild becomes much worse than at home.

pinchhere

Sit down, lean forward head lowered between your knees and pinch the nose close to the top of the nostrils. Hold the pressure for a few minutes to insure the bleeding has stopped. If you release too soon the bleeding may begin again. Place an ice pack or cold wet cloth across the bridge of the nose in order to reduce swelling and pain. You could end up with a couple of black eyes so don’t panic if it happens. These tidbits of information should help you answer the question, “Is my cut infected or just healing?”

blisterfoot

Avoid Death by Poisoning

Webster dictionary defines mushroom as an enlarged complex above ground fleshy fruiting body of fungus that consists typically of a stem bearing pileus; one that is eatable.”

Hardly sounds appetizing when put like that, but eatable mushrooms are sought after all over the world, from world famous chefs to novice mushroom hunters who scour the woods for the tasty little things.

I’m not here to offer tasty recipes or give expert advice on how to find the morsels in the woods. I’m here to keep you from killing yourself and possibly your loved ones by eating the wrong type of mushroom. My approach may be different, or considered wrong by some, as most instructions on the net teach how to locate, identify and harvest edible mushrooms. But I sometimes view the world through rose colored glasses and figure if I can educate you on what NOT to do, the to do will take care of itself.

There are big problems with identifying poisonous mushrooms as they are common and some resemble popular species which are edible. There are thousands of types of wild mushrooms native to just the United States, much alone the entire world, and at least 250 have been identified as severely poisonous. Science has grouped these known types into 8 different categories based on the chemistry make-up of their toxins and the symptoms they elicit.

Let’s look at identification of deadly mushrooms, how their poison affects our bodies and what to do if we accidentally digest the wrong type.

For sake of simplicity, if at all possible, most of the mushrooms described will be called by their most common known label. I tend to believe to identify anything by its scientific name only confuses people. They will never remember it and trying to figure out Latin can be very distracting. I’m a simple boy.

Amanitin: Toxins

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Death Cap

We may as well begin with the worse. The Amanitin mushroom is the most poisonous mushroom in North America, and possibly the world, causing more deaths than all other mushroom poisonings combined. Death Cap, Destroying Angel, and Deadly Galerina

have all been discovered to contain the same dangerous toxins, therefore equally deadly.

Symptoms of poisoning:

Usually symptoms are not detected for six to twenty four hours after eating the mushroom. This delay only compounds the serious of the matter as the body has had plenty of time to completely absorb the toxins. This delayed reaction makes diagnosing the cause of illness quite problematic unless the medical professional is informed of the possibly of mushroom poisoning. The initial symptoms will mimic those of typical influenza or a stomach virus, which may include nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea. In many cases these symptoms are severe in nature, violent vomiting, bloody diarrhea or acute bending over in pain cramping.

Knowing these symptoms and knowing the normal time span they appear should be a red flag to you and incite a quick response to seek medical attention. Be sure to gather a sample of the mushroom species you ingested, or at least take several close up photos. This will aid in identifying the type of toxins that need to be treated.

Do not play macho man and attempt to push through these pains and symptoms hoping there is nothing seriously wrong. There is … deadly wrong. The symptoms will subside and you will have a period of apparent improvement which will last @ 24 hours. At this point the liver and kidneys will begin to fail, you may fall into a coma, death will normally follow. Deaths like this have occurred after a patient has been misdiagnosed and discharged from the hospital, which is another reason why taking a sample to the hospital is so critical.

Unfortunately, even when the patient is successfully treated and lives, most victims still suffer permanent organ damage that will haunt them the rest of their lives.

Gastrointestinal Irritants

Fortunately this is the most common mushroom poisoning and least damaging. Generally mushrooms contain numerous varieties of protein and amino acids which can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal irritation. (Severe stomach ache)

Many types of mushrooms contain these toxins including, but not limited to;

Gilled mushrooms

Green-spored Lepiota

Several types of blue-staining, orange to red pored boletes

Sulfur Tuft

Gomphus Floccopus

gilledmushroom

Gilled Mushroom

Symptoms of this type of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains and will normally appear within an hour or two after ingesting the mushroom. Most cases are mild in nature, but can become acute in some. The symptoms will subside once the body has digested the meal and gets rid of the bothersome amino acids. Be cautious of young children or elderly adults as this illness could result in dehydration and low electrolytes in the body. Medical attention is advised and take any uncooked mushroom specie with you for investigation.

It must be noted, the severity of the symptoms are dependent on the individual’s sensitivity to amino acids. There may be no symptoms at all.

Muscarine Toxin:

A few species of mushrooms contain this specific toxin which can produce terrifying symptoms, which could include, distorted vision, profuse secretion of tears, salivation or sweating. You could develop difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. The old faithfuls … nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are typical.

Symptoms will normally appear quickly, usually within 30 minutes and last about 24 hours. Atropine is the normal treatment for this type of poisoning.

jackolanternmushroom

Jack O’Lantern

Mushrooms containing muscarine include, but not limited to;

Jack O’Lantern

Blue-staining & orange to red pored boletes

Clitocybe dealbata

Mycena pura and several species of genus Inocybe.

Ibotenic Acid, Muscimol and Isoxazole Derivatives Toxins:

panthermushroom

Panther Mushroom

There are several types of wild mushrooms which contain these toxins, most notably the Fly Agaric and the Panther mushroom which induces severe symptoms. The person may experience delirium, appear intoxicated, display manic behavior, they have a tendency to perceive small objects as huge. Some will want to have intense physical activity, unable to sit still, while others may fall asleep, usually experiencing extreme visions.

The toxins primarily affect the central nervous system and may induce confusion, a feeling of great strength, delusions or convulsions. Symptoms appear somewhere between a half an hour to two hours after ingestion and may last for up to 4 hours. There is no treatment for the poisoning, as it is temporary and leaves no permanent damage. Do not treat with atropine, a normal medical treatment, as it only exacerbates the symptoms.

Gyromitrin/Monomethylhydrazine (MMH) Toxins:

Gyromitra, Helvella, Verpa, and other closely related poisonous mushrooms are extremely dangerous. MMH is a substance used as a propellant for rockets. That’s right … literally rocket fuel. It is produced when gyromitrin is gently heated, which causes the MMH to interfere with the body’s normal utilization of B6, which affects the body’s ability to metabolize amino acids.

Symptoms will begin to occur 7 to 10 hours after ingestion, with the victim having a feeling of severe bloating and will experience abdominal pain and diarrhea. Deaths from liver failure have been recorded in severe cases.

MMH is highly carcinogenic and victims have been known to complain of severe headaches. Some mushrooms contained within this classification also contain gyromitrin toxins for which there is no known anti-dote.

verpamushroom

Verpa Mushroom

Unbelievable some people still eat these type of mushrooms. Cooking methods include the process of boiling, rinsing, boiling and rinsing again and again as this seems to reduce the toxins to an acceptable level for consumption. However, cases have been recorded where the chef will become violently ill inhaling the fumes from the boiling pot.

Just what I’d like to try. Of course people, primarily Japanese, eat the deadly puffer fish. Everyone to their own.

Coprine: Toxic or Not

Several types of mushrooms contain the amino acid coprine, which reacts intensely with alcohol in the human body. Here’s the rub… technically coprine by itself is not poisonous and does not create negative affects on the body, it’s only when combined with alcohol that the symptoms of intoxication are exacerbated. Instead of a little drunk … you are really drunk.

There is usually a 30 minute to 2 hour delay after consuming alcohol, or ingesting coprine, before symptoms appear. The person may experience increased pulse rate, headache, rapid breathing, dizziness and perhaps nausea.

Here’s another kicker. Coprine may stay in the body for up to a week, therefore a person ingesting coprine toxin on Monday, may have a drink of wine on Thursday and experience the severe intoxication as if they’d just eaten the mushroom. Explain that to the wife, claiming you only had one drink but can’t walk straight.

For some people, hunting, harvesting, cooking and eating wild mushrooms have become a yearly pilgrimage into the woods. I encourage the activity and enjoy mushrooms myself, but be careful. Know what you are eating and if there is any doubt as to the type, poisonous or not, Do Not eat them. Getting sick is one thing … incurring permanent organ damage or worse, isn’t worth it.


 

 

What to do if Snake Bitten

Snakes pretty well terrify most people, perhaps due to ignorance of their benefits, anything that crawls must be bad, or the Biblical portraying of the snake representing the devil. I’m not a fan of them either, although my wife loves them, worry about her sometimes.

The facts are snakes have been on earth longer than man, and as man continues encroaching on their natural environment face to face meetings will increase. As with 98% of nature’s creatures a snake will try to avoid conflict with humans, and I’d venture to say 99.9% of humans will do the same with a snake. However, situations do unfortunately present themselves that don’t allow for retreat by either party and conflict results.

We’re not going to be discussing any snake not native to North America, which really narrows the field thank goodness. Obviously any snake can bite, but other than the pain and the revulsion of being bitten, the only danger is from poisonous snakes, of which there are four in the United States.

There is a catch with the four (4) number. There are only four species of poisonous snakes, but I like to say they are broken down into sub-species. Meaning? Although a rattlesnake is one of the four, not all rattlesnakes are identical in appearance. Therefore, memorizing what a timber rattlesnake looks like won’t guarantee a Northern Pacific rattlesnake will activate the same emergency warning in the brain.


I mention this for people who are strict by the book, it looks like this, type personalities. Nothing in nature is 100% the same all the time. For instance, I can make a factual statement that poisonous snakes in the U.S. are vipers, therefore have a Triangular shaped head, which is created by the poison glands of the snake is at the back of the head, thus the triangle shape. However, the coral snake does not have a triangular head, it’s round and still deadly.

What I’m trying to stress here is, if you are not 100% sure what type of snake you’re dealing with … give it a wide berth. Discretion is the better part of valor when dealing with a possible deadly adversary, who will run away (that didn’t sound right) if given an avenue of escape.

Simple identification:

rattlesnake

Rattle Snake

Rattle snakes rattle, thus the name, the end of its tail.

Water Moccasins have a white, cottony lining in their mouth. AKA as cotton mouth snakes. Trouble is to see that the snake is either threatening or performing a bite.

Copperhead snakes have a copper-colored head and reddish brown bodies with dark bands.

Coral Snakes have red, yellow and black rings along the entire length of their body. Their heads are round, not triangular … the pupils are round, not slit.

corralsnake

Coral Snake

Shit Happens:

No matter how skilled, knowledgeable, careful or prepared you are … shit still has a way of happening, and snake bites will occur. Fact of life. So let’s learn what and what not to do if snake bitten.

Take solace that 70% of all snakebites are by nonvenomous snakes resulting in stepping on it, surprising it or playing with it. Perhaps incredibly to a novice, only 50% of bites by venomous species are actually poisonous. They are called dry bites where the snake doesn’t inject poison. Poison is the only method of a snake being able to capture prey and without eating, the snake naturally dies. So the snake is a little bit conservative on when it injects poison, and you’re too big to eat, therefore a painful bite may suffice in giving the snake time to escape. These are statistical facts, but don’t bet your life on it. Take action if bitten.

What’s the Purpose of Emergency First Aid

In any type of situation it’s imperative to know what you are attempting to address. A nose bleed requires entirely different treatment than a broken leg, although both are accidents and require medical attention. The aim of first aid treatment for a snake bite is to retard (slow down) the absorption of the venom until transportation to the proper medical facility or proper medical treatment can be achieved.

Let’s first dispel ingrained first aid myths, from TV and movies, in order to not make the situation worse.

Do not cut the wound open and try to suck the venom out. Snake bite kits which included a small razor blade, an elastic rubber band tourniquet and a suction devise was a common survivalist tool until it was medically proven to do more harm than good.

Do not apply a tourniquet as this does nothing but starve tissue of blood and oxygen and does nothing to stop the spread of venom.

Do not apply ice to the bite area.

Do not drink any liquids, especially alcohol or any drink containing caffeine, like coffee or soda. This will only increase the heart rate … speeding the spread of venom.

Do not attempt to clean or bandage the area. It’s been proven this only lends to increase the chances of infection.

cottonmouth

Water Moccasin

Now … What to do:

Do remain calm. That probably sounds like the dumbest thing you ever heard. “I’ve just been bitten by a rattlesnake and I’m dying!” Understandable, but any fidgeting, panting, nervousness due to stress, accelerates the heart rate, speeding blood through the system and with it … the venom.

Do remove jewelry, wedding ring, or any other tight fitting clothing from the bitten area because it will swell. You want the doctor concentrating on medical treatment, not how to cut off a ring.

Do position the bite area below the heart. If bitten on the hand, keep arm down, ankle, sit up, etc.

Do call or send someone for medical help. Fast medical treatment is the best way to insure survival. Unless there is no other alternative, alone and no cell phone, stay put. Walking to the truck will only increase venom spread. Better to wait for them to come to you.

Do attempt to remember the specifics of the snake. Color, length, stripped, thickness, anything that will help the medics identify which snake bit you, therefore determining which type of anti-venom to introduce. Do not attempt to capture or kill the snake. Take a picture if possible.

Let’s assume your partner did kill the snake. (sweet revenge) Do not handle it. Let it lie where it is for a professional to dispose of and it’s a 100% method of proper identification. A snake can bite and envenom-ate long after it is dead. The scene in the movie where the cowboy cuts the head off the snake and buries it … that’s reality.

Symptoms of a Poisonous Snake Bite

Fear is created as a natural defense mechanism designed to help avoid injury. There are many reasons for fear, but the fear of the unknown can be lessened by knowing what to expect. Let’s look at the symptoms and what to expect if snake bitten.

Number one, which may sound silly but… there will be two puncture marks, can appear as slits, pin sized holes, etc. This will verify you were actually bitten.

You will experience swelling and redness around the wound, which will expand in size.

There will be pain, it could be a varying degree from mild to severe.

You may experience difficulty in breathing, vomiting and/or severe nausea.

Blurred vision, numbness in the face is common.

Uncontrolled sweating and/or salivating.

These are general symptoms one may feel, but there are some species’ specific symptoms.

Rattlesnake Bite: Symptoms are nearly immediate and include:

Severe pain in the bite area.

Drooping eyelids

Low blood pressure

Thirst, an odd taste in the mouth and extreme tiredness or weakness in the muscles.

copperhead

Copper Head

Water Moccasin: shares many symptoms nearly identical to a copperhead.

Immediate pain.

Change in skin color in the affected area.

Shock, which can be deadly on its own.

Low blood pressure & weakness

Copperhead: Symptoms are nearly identical to water moccasin

Coral snake Bite: Symptoms from a coral snake bite differ from the other snakes. They include:

Pain in the area of the bite is not usually immediate and may take several hours to begin experiencing it.

Convulsions

Drooping Eyelids

Change in skin color

Stomach Pain

Difficulty in swallowing

Severe Headache

Paralysis

Shock

Obviously these are not desirable experiences, but you will know what’s happening if these symptoms develop.

Remember that you’ve got nothing to lose by contacting emergency services, but if you brush it off and fail to make the phone call, it could cost you your life.

Survival MasterplanA rogue survivalist blows the whistle on the FATAL flaws of conventional prepping