Treating Cuts and Wounds: The Basics

Whether you’re in a survival situation or just heading out for a camping trip in the woods, you’re bound to get cut up once in a while. Countless things can happen resulting in a cut or a gash, and it is important to be ready to treat them on the scene so that they do not get worse than they already are, especially if access to healthcare facilities is limited.

Step 1: Asses the Danger

If someone gets hurt, take a moment to check out the scene before doing too much. This might be as simple as just taking a look around to make sure you cannot be hurt by the same thing. Proceed with caution when approaching people who have fallen since you may fall victim as well. Once you do this, you will want to move forward with treating the wound.

Step 2: Determine if help is needed/possible

Take a second to assess the situation.  If the wound looks serious, and it’s possible to do so, call for help or send someone out to get assistance. Notifying someone right away could be a matter of life or death. Once you’ve done this, or if it isn’t possible to do so, it’s time to try and treat the wound.

Step 3: Stop the Bleeding

The most important thing you can do right away is to stop the bleeding. Applyijng pressure directly to the wound is usually the best way to do this. If you have access to ice or a cold pack, use this as well, as cooling the area down helps to slow blood flow. In the event of a really serious injury where blood loss is drastic, consider tying a tourniquet above the injury with a piece of clothing or rope, but only do this in the most extreme cases as this could slow blood flow down so much it could result in loss of limb.

Step 4: Clean the Wound

Once you’ve been able to sufficiently stop the bleeding, it is very important to clean the wound. This includes removing any foreign bodies and dirt, and if possible, scrubbing it with warm water and soap. If this isn’t possible, water is okay in the beginning, but it is important to use some sort of antibacterial on the wound to prevent infection.

Step 5: Cover the Wound

Once you have the cut cleaned up, dry it off and cover it, either with guaze, a bandage or a clean piece of cloth, such as a shirt. The most important thing is that it is clean. If you have some antibacterial cream, it would be a good idea to clean it. At this point you should determine if it is smart to seek additional medical help. Stitches may be needed or antibiotics may be prescribed to ward off infection. Smaller cuts will likely just need to be cleaned and dressed for a few days until they close up and begin to heal.

Cuts and wounds can be small nuisances or major threats, depending on their severity and the way you treat them. However, failing to clean out the cut and to follow these steps could turn something seemingly harmless in a life-changing or trip-ending injury, so it’s best to take things seriously before they become too serious.


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