Everyone knows that one of the best things you can do as a prepper is to be prepared to handle a variety of survival situations, including medical emergencies. Additionally, you should also have a well stocked medical kit in your survival preps. This will be invaluable should you find yourself needed to treat both minor and major medical conditions.
As a proactive move, I think it is a good idea that all adults and teens (and not just preppers or those in the medical field) look to be certified in basic first aid and lifesaving skills. This can be done through a community college, your local fire department, or the local Red Cross chapter. In a couple of nights a week, you can become certified and it will teach you many of the skills you might need to know in order to treat different types of injuries without a medical professional.
The focus today is on treating a gunshot wound. Obviously, this can be a minor event or it can end up being a major, life threatening medical emergency, but if you treat it correctly in the beginning, it can buy you some time until you can get to a hospital or a doctor. Your first efforts for the patient may just be the ones that end up saving their life.
Here are some helpful pointers to treat gunshot wounds to different areas of the body:
Superficial Gunshot Wounds/Grazing
These are the easiest to care for. To care for a superficial wound that has grazed or broken the skin (without needing stitches), you just need to keep it clean, dress it if needed to keep out dirt, and make sure to use an antibacterial treatment if you have access to one.
Gunshot Wound to the Head or Neck
This is one wound that can become dangerous very, very quickly. Try to keep the bleeding under control. You can’t use a tourniquet, so you will have to put direct pressure on the wound. Head wounds bleed a lot, so don’t let the amount of blood scare you to think that you can’t help. You may be able to get it stopped enough to better assess, and then you would need to get them to a medical professional as soon as possible.
Abdominal and Chest Wounds
Like the head wounds, these can also become very serious, very quickly. You need to asses the wound and try to control the bleeding. If it is an open wound, you need to cover it with a moist dressing, Chest wounds can become sucking wounds that could result in a collapsed lung, which is dangerous. You would need to cover it with what is known as an occlusive dressing, or one that will not let air out. You can make a DIY occlusive dressing using a driver’s license and some plastic wrap, which will help to buy you some time. Abdominal wounds are also tricky because it can involve the intestines. It is important to be aware of the intestines (if you can see them). Based on that, your only course of action is to get them to a doctor ASAP.
One word of note regarding gunshot wounds: never remove the lodged bullet, it could end up causing more damage and leave you with a tragic outcome. Also, sometimes there may be nothing at all that you can do to help a gunshot victim. It may be beyond your skill, and that is OK. If you are able to control bleeding and protect the wound from infection, without a doctor, that is your best option in less than ideal conditions.
No one wants to think about having to treat a gunshot wound on their own without a doctor or nurse, but if you’re in survival mode, this is a medical skill you need to know, because you just might have to use it.