No one wants to think about having an injury in a situation where you can’t get to a hospital or a doctor, but it happens more than you might guess. When you are making your preps for a SHTF scenario, one of the most crucial items for you to stock (and stock well) will be your emergency medical kit. This kit could be the very piece of equipment that saves your life.
You should also consider taking a first aid and lifesaving course as part of your preparations, too. Knowledge combined with the right tools (or knowing how to use (or make!) an alternative is a powerful tool! It’s also a good idea to purchase a medical handbook to keep in your emergency kit as a reference guide. You should know how to recognize and treat all kinds of injuries from insect bites to burns, since you never know what might come your way.
Here are three of the most common injuries that you might see when the SHTF and how to handle them:
Burns can come from fire, from chemicals, or even from too much sun. Each type can vary in severity depending on how long you were exposed. With any type of burn, the first and most important thing you can do is cool it down. Apply cool water constantly (sometimes it might take an hour or so) to lower the temperature of the burned area. You can give over the counter pain medication, and apply aloe vera gel to the area, but you need to keep the burned area dry to help avoid it getting infected.
You could use sections of a clean t-shirt, a dry cotton washcloth, or a bandana as a covering to keep dirt out, but it also needs time to air as well, so that moisture doesn’t set in. If you don’t have any supplies with you, locate some clean water, and tear up strips of your own shirt to use as dressings if you have to. Keeping infection at bay is crucial.
This is another common survival injury, and like burns, the best thing to do is keep them clean and dry. For a scrapes and minor cuts, simply rinse the area well, and clear any visible debris from the wound. Then if you have some antibacterial spray or ointment, apply to the area, and cover with a dry bandage.
If you have a deep cut or laceration, you need to clean the area, apply pressure to stop the bleeding, and possibly use a suture kit or some wound glue to close it. Then it needs to also have antibacterial/antibiotic cream applied, and a clean bandage applied several times a day. If you don’t have your kit with you, keeping it cleaned well with water and pressure applied is going to be your best course of action.
Broken Bones or Sprains
Treating a broken bone or a sprain yourself doesn’t have to be hard. Using ACE bandages, padding, and a splint, you can stabilize a broken bone fairly easily. The main goals are to keep swelling down and keep the injured area from moving around very much. You can ice the area, too, using cold packs, snow, or ice, and then bandage/splint it.
You can get some splints in varying sizes for your emergency kit at most drug stores or medical supply stores. If you don’t have access to any of these items, you could use sticks as a splint, and cut up t-shirts as bandages, but also use something to pad the injured area, too. Sprains will usually heal up on their own with some time and limiting movement. Bone breaks are a little trickier, but you can get them stabilized enough to buy you some time until you can get to a doctor.
You don’t have to be scared to treat injuries without a doctor. In fact, it should be one of the most important skills you learn as you prep for a disaster.