I received my first survival knife after I was 8 years previous, and my mother (sure, it was my mother and never my dad who gave me the knife!) was very clear in regards to the security guidelines.

That didn’t cease me from slicing my fingers open a number of occasions whereas whittling sticks. These knife accidents occurred whereas we have been far from medical assist (and earlier than the mobile phone period, so there was no means of calling 911).

Knife wounds are among the many most typical backcountry accidents; there can be the chance of stab wounds.

You possibly can’t at all times name 911.

So, whether or not you’re a prepper, open air individual, or homesteader, in the event you consider in being self-reliant, you’ll wish to know the right way to deal with a knife wound.

Begin by downloading our first support provides guidelines under.


Emergency first aid checklist

Get organized quick with our fully free guidelines.

1. Have the Sufferer Lie Down

The loopy factor about knife wounds is that, due to adrenaline and excessive stress, knife victims don’t at all times discover their accidents till later.

Because the individual administering first support, you wish to reap the benefits of this preliminary shock interval and get the sufferer to lie down.

Why? As a result of:

  • The affected person received’t be capable of see their knife wound whereas mendacity down. This can stop the affected person from freaking out.
  • Reduces the chance of damage from falls resulting from dizziness
  • Stabilizes the sufferer

In fact, there are exceptions to this rule. You wouldn’t put knife wound victims on their again if the wound have been to the again or if mendacity down would have an effect on the affected person’s airways.

2. Take away Clothes Round Space

It’s good to have scissors in your wilderness first support package. Or, use your survival knife for this (fastidiously).

3. Put On Gloves or Wash Palms

It’s simple to wish to skip this step throughout an emergency. Nonetheless, in the event you don’t take the 20 seconds required to placed on gloves, you could possibly infect the wound along with your soiled arms.

In the event you don’t have gloves to placed on, then wash them completely. On the very least, rub some antibacterial hand sanitizer (Amazon Hyperlink) on them first.

4. Get Bleeding Below Management

The human physique has roughly 10 to 12 pints of blood. The physique can often lose 1 pint of blood with out extreme results.

  • A lack of 2 pints of blood will result in shock.
  • A lack of 5 to six pints of blood will trigger loss of life. (Supply)

Right here’s the scary factor: if the knife wound hits an artery, the speed of blood loss may be very quick. In accordance with this school professor, deadly exsanguination from an arterial wound might solely take 20 seconds to a few minutes. Even venous bleeding might trigger loss of life in 4 to five minutes if the damage have been massive sufficient.

Know What Sort of Bleeding You Are Dealing With

  • Arterial Bleeding: The blood shall be SPURTING out. It will likely be a brilliant pink shade.
  • Venous Bleeding: The blood shall be oozing out. The blood shall be a darker shade.
  • Capillary Bleeding: The blood will slowly come out. It’s going to ultimately cease by itself.

Apply Stress

direct pressure to wound

Making use of strain to the wound will assist stem the stream of blood. In arterial bleeding instances, additionally, you will wish to apply strain to the key artery resulting in the wound. You’ll need to make use of each arms for this!

For instance, if the knife wound is within the thigh, you have to apply strain to the femoral artery.

10 to fifteen minutes of direct strain ought to be sufficient to regulate the bleeding of most wounds you’d encounter within the backcountry.

arterial pressure points for artery bleeding

Reposition the Sufferer

The guts is what pumps blood all through the physique. If the wound location is under the guts, blood loss will happen quicker.   To forestall this, place the sufferer, so the wound location is above the guts.

For instance, if the knife wound is within the leg, have the sufferer lie down and elevate the legs.

Seal Sucking Chest Wounds

One of many worst doable knife wounds is a stab to the chest which penetrates the lungs. The skin air coming into the lung will trigger it to break down, and the sufferer will die shortly.

It’s crucial for most of these knife wounds that you simply seal the wound ASAP to stop air from entering into the lung. This may be achieved by placing any of those over the wound:

  • A bank card
  • Duct tape
  • Plastic bag
  • Your hand

Even with this step, there might nonetheless be problems from strain buildup. Thus, Heiskell recommends having a Chest Seal (Amazon Hyperlink) in your first support package.

When to Use Tourniquet

Latest research have proven that early use of a tourniquet may be useful when making an attempt to cease extreme bleeding. There are some potential problems, so learn our article on utilizing a tourniquet.

5. Determine Whether or not to Take away the Knife

Is the knife nonetheless within the wound? Below regular circumstances, you must by no means take away the blade. However, as JEMS talks about, you would possibly have to take away it if no assist is obtainable.

Earlier than you take away the knife, you higher be sure to are able to cease the blood stream, which is more likely to begin gushing out instantly!

6. Clear the Knife Wound

As soon as the bleeding has stopped, you’ve received to wash the wound to stop an infection. Cleansing an damage is at all times a vital a part of first support, however it’s vital if you find yourself far-off from skilled medical assist.

The very last thing you want is to get an an infection that develops into gangrene or spreads all through your physique.

A typical medical saying is, “The answer to air pollution is dilution.” In different phrases, it is advisable to dilute the wound website to get out any contaminants that will result in an infection.

  • Use tweezers to take away massive items of particles within the wound.
  • Use no less than 1 liter of fluid to wash every wound.
  • Saline resolution (Amazon hyperlink) is greatest for cleansing wounds. If not accessible, use sterile water (boiled for this objective).
  • Direct the fluid at a perpendicular angle from about 1 to 2 inches from the wound.
  • You need to use sufficient drive to dislodge any overseas particles within the wound however not a lot strain that the tissue shall be broken or the particles will get pushed deeper into the wound.

If Water is Restricted or Not All Particles Can Be Eliminated:

Hopefully, you could have provides in your first support package. To scrub the wound, you should utilize a 1% povidone-iodine rinse (Amazon hyperlink).

Up to now, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide was advisable for cleansing wounds. Nonetheless, these are now not advisable. Proof reveals that they don’t assist wound therapeutic and may make it take longer for wounds to heal since each substances might injury pores and skin tissue.

Nonetheless, salt is a superb pure cleanser. You possibly can combine 1 tbsp. of salt with 1 cup of heat water to make your individual saline resolution for cleansing the wound.

Apply Antibiotic Ointment

Apply copious quantities of antibiotic ointment (Amazon hyperlink) over the wound. Not solely does this assist stop an infection, nevertheless it additionally might help stop the dressing from sticking to the wound.

As Hartley Brody notes, antibiotic ointments are NOT an alternative to cleansing a wound. You continue to have to flush the wound effectively (regardless of how a lot the affected person is screaming of ache) earlier than making use of the ointment.

7. Determine Whether or not to Shut the Wound

Below regular circumstances, the place you may name 911 or go to the hospital, you must NEVER shut a knife wound. This can lure micro organism and different contaminants within the wound, resulting in an infection. In the event you do shut it, the nurses will simply open it up for cleansing on the hospital.

However we aren’t speaking about regular circumstances right here!

Closing a wound reduces airspace, prevents additional contamination, and quickens therapeutic.

But, if a wound is closed and develops an an infection, the pus received’t be capable of drain, and a life-threatening sickness can develop.

Thus, the most secure approach to deal with a knife wound is to go away it open!

Go away a Knife Wound Open Below These Circumstances:

  • The wound is contaminated
  • The wound has been uncovered to the air for greater than 6 hours
  • There may be lifeless tissue within the wound (lifeless tissue is discolored and received’t bleed)
  • The perimeters of the wound are thus far aside that closing it could tear the pores and skin or put strain on the pores and skin
  • The wound is from an animal or human chew (I do know we’re speaking about knife wounds right here, however I wish to remind you NEVER to shut an animal chew as a result of they’re teeming with micro organism!)

Shut the Wound Below These Circumstances:

  • The wound is massive and refuses to cease bleeding
  • The wound penetrated via your complete pores and skin (you’d be capable of see underlying tissues)
  • The wound has been open for lower than 6 hours
  • The wound is over a joint or transferring a part of the physique and received’t shut by itself
  • The wound is gaping open and received’t be capable of shut with out your intervention

If You Are Uncertain What to Do:

Physician Joe Alton over at Doom and Bloom recommends a “delayed closure” in the event you aren’t positive whether or not to shut the knife wound. This implies ready 72 hours to see if any indicators of an infection develop. In the event that they don’t, then shut the wound.

Open Wounds

An “open wound” doesn’t imply you permit it open to the weather. The wound should nonetheless be lined (dressed) to stop contaminants from coming into it. Keep in mind, even the air comprises micro organism, so the wound have to be dressed always.

  1. Apply antibiotic or antibacterial ointments
  2. Moist a sterile dressing (Amazon hyperlink) in saline resolution or sterile water (learn why wounds ought to be saved moist)
  3. Apply the moist sterile dressing over the wound
  4. For giant wounds, you’ll have to pack the dressings into the wound
  5. In the event you don’t have any sterile dressings, you may boil rags or items of clothes
  6. Use dry tape or a bandage to carry the dressing in place
  7. The tape or bandage holding the dressing ought to be free
  8. Clear spider webs can be utilized over the dressings and below the tape as a pure antibacterial layer

Closing Wounds

  1. The wound ought to be dry earlier than closing it
  2. Except you’re a skilled medical skilled, don’t attempt to suture the wound until it’s a final resort. You probably have no selection, learn this about the right way to suture a wound in an emergency.
  3. Use butterfly bandages to shut the wound
  4. In the event you don’t have butterfly bandages, you should utilize items of adhesive tape to make a butterfly closure
  5. Cowl the closed wound with dressing or bandages
  6. Keep away from utilizing tape to cowl the closed wound; it’s onerous to take away with out additional damaging the wound

Right here you may see a video of the right way to shut a wound with duct tape;

8. Monitor the Wound

No matter whether or not you left the wound open or closed, it is advisable to monitor it for indicators of an infection.

For Open Wounds:

You’ll want to vary the dressings each 12 to 24 hours. Watch out to not open the wound once you take away the dressings. Apply ointment to the wound earlier than placing on the dressing every time. The cream helps stop the dressing from sticking to the wound and speeds therapeutic.

In the event you don’t have sufficient sterile dressings, you may boil the used ones to sterilize them earlier than reapplying them.

Count on a little bit of redness or pus because the wound heals. Nonetheless, extreme an infection is probably going growing if the pores and skin will get very painful, hardens, turns brilliant pink, or is scorching to the contact. Re-clean the wound, and take antibiotics if in case you have them.

For Closed Wounds:

Even in the event you shut the wound, you continue to want to observe it. If the wound space swells up, will get pink and crusty, or stinks, then an an infection has developed.

You’ll have to reopen the wound and clear it once more. Go away the wound open this time and begin saying your prayers!

Need to get ready for medical emergencies? Learn this submit on The way to Take Your First Support Expertise to the Subsequent Degree.


The way to deal with a gunshot wound



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