Accidents, Minor




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Accidents, Minor
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Minor Cuts and Scratches

Cuts and scratches are wounds -- openings in the skin. Clean even the smallest wound to remove germs that could cause infection.

Clean a wound by washing it with soap and water. Wash the wound away from the center. At home use the water right from the tap. On a hike, or at camp, use water from your canteen or a clear stream. Let the skin around the wound dry, then apply an adhesive bandage.


A nosebleed looks bad but is usually not very serious. Most nosebleeds usually stop themselves in a few minutes.

Have the victim sit up and lean slightly forward to prevent the blood from draining into their throat. Pinch the bridge of the nose. Apply a cool, wet cloth to the nose and face.

If the bleeding does not stop within 20 minutes have the victim see a Doctor.

 Insect Bites

The bites and stings of certain insects, spiders, and ticks can be painful. Some may cause infection.

To relieve the pain of insect bites or stings use ice water or a cold towel. If the stinger of the bee or wasp is still in the skin, flick it away with your fingernail or the edge of a knife.

A paste of baking soda or wet salt when applied to the sting will help relieve the pain.

Some people are very allergic to insect stings and spider bites. If one of these people is bit or stung, they may develop a dangerous condition called anaphylactic shock. It causes the tissues of the throat to swell and block the airway. A victim may have great trouble breathing. People who know they are allergic to stings and bites should carry special "bee-sting kits" containing medicine to treat them in an emergency.

The following first aid can be used to treat those victims who have no kit with them. It is also used for victims of a bite from a black widow spider or brown recluse spider.

1) Send someone for medical help (with a buddy, if you are in the woods).

2) Be sure the victim continues to breath. Give rescue breathing if required.

3) If the bite is on an arm or leg, immediately tie a constricting band above the bite. Use a strip of cloth or your neckerchief. Tighten it only enough to stop the blood in the skin, keep it on for 15 minutes and off for 15 minutes. You must be able to slide your finger under the cloth. Keep your eye on the limb. If it swells from above the cloth strip, loosen the cloth.

4) Keep the arm or leg lower than the rest of the body.

5) Put ice packed in a cloth or a cold compress on the bite.

6) Treat for shock.

7) Get the person to medical care as soon as possible.

 Burns and Scalds

Somebody touches a hot stove - result, an ordinary burn. A person spills boiling water over their foot - result, a scald.

Whether the burn or scald is large or small, your first priority is to cool the burned area by any convenient method. Immersion in cool water is ideal. This will quickly lesson the pain, inhibit further damage, and, some say, promote healing.

The treatment for the three specific types of burns is as follows:

First-degree burn:  In minor burns and scalds the skin goes red. Treat immediately with cool water. Keep the burn under the water until there is little or no pain. Then apply a moist dressing, and bandage loosely. Where water is not available, apply a clean, dry dressing.

Second-degree burn:  If blisters form, the burn is more serious. Do not break the blisters - this will compound the injury by causing an open wound. If the blisters are not open, place in cool water until the pain lessens, then apply a moist dressing, and bandage loosely. Do not apply creams, ointments, or sprays.

Third-degree burns:  In the most severe burns, the skin may be burnt away. Some flesh will be charred. If many nerve endings are damaged, there may be little pain. Do not apply creams, ointments, or sprays. Wrap a clean sheet around the victim and, if the weather is cool, cover them with blankets. The victim should be rushed to hospital because their life is at stake.

Sunburn:  is much easier to prevent than cure. Recently, considerable evidence has linked exposure to the sun with cancer. The days of taking your shirt off to get a good tan are long gone. Covering up and using protective sun-block creams is now the norm. A good protective cream with an SPF of at least 30 should be used on all exposed skin during all outdoor activities.

However, sunburn continues to be a common ailment among outdoor enthusiasts. Most cases of sunburn simply require toughing it out. A sunburn-relief spray can be used to relieve some of the soreness and itching that will occur.

The application of vinegar will also take the sting out of a sunburn.

The Traditional Handbook






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.