Survival Skills: Improvise Your own Medical Supplies

Medical emergencies are by their very nature – unpredictable. In an emergency, having the medical gear you need can be a godsend. But what if you’re forced to make do with the materials at hand? There are plenty of Do-It-Yourself options.

Butterfly Strips
Small pieces of duct tape can be snipped with scissors to create butterfly dressings to hold cuts closed. Snip them twice on each of the long sides, and fold the middle under to create a no-stick section that would float over the laceration.

What if you’re forced to make do with the materials at hand when a medical emergency arises?

Although they are not sterile, feminine hygiene pads can provide you with a decent wound dressing. Tampons are a bit more sterile, and they can be laid sideways on a wound. Strap down any of these dressings with clean cloth strips, tape, or any other binding you have at hand.

Insect Sting Relief
Meat tenderizer is made of enzymes that break down tough steak protein — and those found in bug venom! Mix the tenderizer and a drop or two of water into a paste and apply it directly to the sting or bite. It won’t help a rattlesnake bite, but this mixture can somewhat relieve the pain from hornet, wasp, scorpion, and ant stings

Splints are one of the easier bits of medical gear to improvise. Your goal is immobilization, which can be achieved with any number of rigid items and binding materials, such as a board and some duct tape. Make sure you stuff adequate padding inside the splint to properly stabilize the limb and ease your patient’s pain—use crumpled toilet paper or newspaper, spare clothing, or anything else that works.

Burn Gel
Smear a light coating of honey or toothpaste onto the dressing for a burn wound and then apply. It’s simple and surprisingly effective, too.

Keep infections at bay by putting hand sanitizer or straight liquor onto topical wounds. Yes, it will hurt, but it’s better to hurt now and heal, than to let a wound become infected, which will result in a lot more pain later.

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a fine selection of First-Aid Kits!

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a fine selection of Emergency Gear!

This tip, and 337 more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s new book Prepare For Anything. This latest Outdoor Life survival manual available at Amazon.

Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch  And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.



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