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The key to medical preparedness is planning for the possibility that you may not be able to receive professional medical treatment when an injury or illness presents itself. In the present, we simply go to a family doctor, urgent care center, or emergency room when medical assistance is needed. The harsh reality is that these securities can be interrupted rather easily. Mother Nature can disrupt our normalcy bias with little to no warning; Hurricane Katrina (2005), the 2011 Joplin Tornado, and Hurricane Sandy (2012). These storms have proven that traveling to a doctor may not be an option during an emergency situation, especially during the onset of the disaster. Roads could be congested, closed, or blocked, emergency and medical responders could be overwhelmed, or you may have been directed to Shelter in Place. So, what happens if you suffer a major injury during this time period? Do you have the required medical supplies on hand and the knowledge to bridge the gap until you are able to receive proper medical care?
Some wounds are left open to heal, instead of being closed by sutures, staples, or strips. This process is called Secondary Wound Closure; also known as secondary intention and spontaneous healing. In fact, secondary wound closure is the natural process for how our body deals with healing wounds. During secondary wound closure, the body gradually closes and heals on its own, through wound contraction by myofibroblasts. Without getting too far into the “medical weeds”, think of myofibroblasts as the things that conduct tissue repair through regeneration. During secondary closure, the wound heals by layers and ultimately closes itself by rebuilding tissue.
If you want to properly close wounds, then you will need the appropriate medical supplies. Of course, you can use anything that you can get your hands on, but the goal of medical preparedness is to ensure you have the correct supplies for the task. First, you need to choose if you will build kits or keep your supplies in their original packaging, or a combination of both. If you have a mobile or outdoors mentality, we recommend building kits instead of having bulk supplies. If your goal is to set up a home clinic, then leave your bulk supplies in their original packaging; packaging materials for kits cost additional money. Additionally, there are different types of wound closure kits, from small kits to get the job done to large kits just like the emergency room may use.
Primary closure involves using sutures, staples, or strips to close a wound and is an important aspect of wound management. But, before we get to that point, you must first understand the different types of wounds.
Saline solution has many medical uses, and can be used as a sterile rinse and disinfectant. Saline solution can be purchased commercially, which is the recommended method if you are conducting IV therapy and wound management. However, you can make your own saline solution for basic first aid procedures, using common household items.
Attending and applying first aid on broken bones in the wilderness where there are no immediately available healthcare practitioners is a vital skill that an outdoorsman or outdoors woman should master. Although, most fractures are not immediately life threatening, learning how to apply first aid on broken bones will help to prevent the aggravation of the injury as well as contribute to better healing. Take note that learning how to apply any form of first aid goes beyond reading so we also suggest taking up a formal course to help you actually practice and also so that you can ask questions if you have any. Anyway, here are some important tips you should know when applying first aid to broken bones.
When you are new to prepping, everything becomes a little too overwhelming. I wish I could tell you the “lost” feeling changes over time, but it doesn’t. The truth is; while you expand your “prepper” knowledge, your interests in new subjects can spiral out of control. And, when you think you have figured something out, you may realize that you have solved only a small piece of the puzzle. Therefore, after much debate, sketching on the chalkboard, and revision after revision, we are pleased to offer our initial Prepper Matrix.
Skin injuries are frequent and commonly occurring injuries, particularly for those who spend a lot of time outdoors. There are different types of these injuries and varying degrees of severity, as well as treatment. Skin injuries can be minor and superficial, with a linear direction such as your paper cuts, or deeper and more prone to infection such as lacerations. Basically, your skin injuries can be classified into several categories, these would be lacerations, abrasions, puncture wounds, and avulsions.
The Individual First Aid Kit, or IFAK, has become a “buzz word” of the Preparedness and Survival communities; conduct a simple YouTube search for IFAK to see what I mean. The IFAK is standard issue for every U.S. service member deployed in combat, and given my combat experience as a soldier and defense contractor, I can tell you that IFAK’s save lives daily. Hopefully, that series of events you are preparing for is nothing like what our brave men and women face on foreign battlefields every day. But, if you ever need to treat a major traumatic injury, at a minimum you will need an IFAK.
In your capacity as the medic for your retreat or Bug Out Location (BOL), or in any situation you may find yourself in, you may have a requirement to use an IV to treat a patient. Intravenous therapy, or IV therapy, is the administration of liquid substances directly into a vein. The word intravenous simply means "within a vein", but is most commonly used to refer to IV therapy. IV therapy can be intermittent or continuous. Continuous administration is called an intravenous drip. Compared with other routes of replenishing liquids, the intravenous route is the fastest way to deliver fluids and medications throughout the body (Source).
Download our Handout: Introduction to IV Administration