SHTF First Aid: When small cuts kill

I was invited to check guy who was badly beaten by few guys, man who invited me offered me to introduce me to some man who had connection with smugglers, so i can get stuff cheap if i help this guy.

first aid

When i entered house, guy was laying on bed, could not move too much, lot of bruises everywhere on body, he was conscious, in pains, pretty much drunk. On first look he did not have some serious open injuries, my biggest concern was that i was pretty sure that he had few broken ribs, strong pain while deep breathing, and while moving his body, and clear mark of boot on his chest, obviously someone was jumping on him.

I could not do too much with broken rib, actually i only wrapped him with some layers of clothes, to improvise some kind of belt, and hope that broken rib did not induce some more serious injury to lungs, or something else.

He was coughing and spitting blood, but again i was hoping that comes from broken teeth, not from stomach or lungs. Minor cuts and bruises we just rinsed with rakia, and that s it. Nothing more we could do.

And guess, what? Few days later, i was called again, and everything was fine, except nothing was fine. One of the pretty much small cuts on his hand got infected, it was small cut, in normal times would not required sewing or stitching, maybe butterfly closure. But it turned bad.

I’ve spent days and days cleaning and removing dead tissue from that wound, trying to do something, some of his friends manage after some time to get some antibiotics, child dosage in suspension with expired date of use.

I used scalpel, not medical, it was scalpel for some wood work, i removed tissue with that, his family used mixture of honey and some pine stuff for wound, i used rakia and peace of old rubber glove to keep it open.

Anyway he survived, he did not lose his hand, but he lost function of three fingers. It was pure luck that he did not lose his life. And funny thing, not the broken ribs killed him but small cut almost killed him.

Probably nothing would happen if i had Iodine and enough sterile gauze, not to mention stuff like topical antibiotic, or Ciprobay tabs or any of this.

Now of course I’m prepared and have everything, for topical, oral, intravenous use.

Later he told me that guy wanted to hit him in the head with some agricultural tool for digging, he missed his head, he just scratch his hand with that.

Just basics can go a long way

Anyway, point is, to buy today full set for treating wounds, does not cost too much, sterile gloves, compress, forceps, butterfly closures, antibiotic treatment, povidone, hydrogen peroxide, anti tetanus shots, sutures… everything, it can be found for maybe 100$ here.

Is it worth 100$? Yes, it can worth 1000$ or 10000$ it can be priceless actually. When it comes to you or your family member it is priceless, if you helping someone else, you can say a price.

first aid set

I learned medical profession before SHTF and work now for over 20 years in medical field, mostly emergency room and see people stabbed and shot every week. Often I’m person who has to get them ready for transport when they still lay in their blood. Here are two simple things you can do now to help your chances of survival.

Just learn basic procedure for treating wounds and make sure people around you know it too. You might be unconscious when you need treatment and loved ones should know how. Too often people treat things and make things worse not better.

Most wounds that you are going to care are gonna be small cuts, lacerations. I am not saying that you are not going to be in situation to treat gunshot wound, or open fracture on leg for example, i am using laceration as a example to show some basic rules, everything else takes much more to say, and needs to be addressed as separate and big subject.

      1. Use protection if you treat wounded man, gloves, mask, face shield, gown… whatever you have if possible.
      2. Stop any massive bleeding (if it present) by direct pressure on wound, elevation (extremity) or pressure points.
      3. Remove dirt from wound by irrigation, i prefer hydrogen peroxide and sterile water, use sterile swab or sterile forceps for that.
      4. Use iodine on sterile compresses, and dress the wound with bandages.
      5. Start with antibiotic treatment (Xiclav or similar antibiotic)
      6. Inspect wound every day, clean it, then use Iodine and compresses and bandaging.

Now remember, this all matters for you if YOU are only person with some medical knowledge and some medical supplies, if there is no doctor, no hospital, in other words if SHTF for real. If there is a higher medical authority than you available, look for it.

These are some general rules, exceptions are many, stab wound you can not flush in some cases, you can kill man in few seconds if you instantly remove knife from his leg (example), is he allergic on antibiotics? What if wound become infected after few days? Antibiotic ointments oral antibiotics or IV antibiotics?… Much more to say about this. Anyway, the standard procedure will get you out of biggest trouble in most cases.

Basic EDC (every day carry) First Aid Set

Now here is my basic first aid EDC (every day carry). I have in bag with my gun. I have that bag usually with me or in car.

Military First Aid Bandage / Field Dressing, 6-pack, Camouflage, 4″x7″ with Gauze Ties
Military bandage is used to quickly plug hole in sterile way. It is first thing that you gonna put on any bigger wound, it is made from something like gauze pad and bandage all in one, point is if you do not have time to take too much time on the place, just use military bandage to cover wound, stop bleeding, and bandage it, all in one, and it is packeged sterile. This is often first thing used just after someone is shot or stabbed.

C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet – Black by North American Rescue Brand
To stop massive blood loss.

Sterile Latex Exam Gloves, Individual Peel-Open Package, Medium, Box of 50 Pairs
There are also sets with mask and gloves in one sterile package. I use that.

Prestige Medical Fluoride Scissor, Black, 7 1/2 Inch
EMT scissors, it is very heavy duty scissors, for quick removing clothes from patient, i often use it on my job for cutting seat belt. Quickly, sharp and with guard so you can not cut or stab patient and good ones can even cut wire.

Povidone Scrub Solution, 16 Oz
Kills bacteria.

KENDALL VERSALONTM All-purpose Sterile Sponge, 4 Ply, 4″ X 4″, 2/pk – Pack 25
+ 3M Medipore H Soft Cloth Surgical Tape – 2″ wide –
+ 3M Steri Strip Skin Closures 1/4” X 3” – 10 Packages of 3
+ Kerlix Type Gauze Rolls 4″X4 yds, Sterile, 10/bag
If I have more time to treat wound or follow up treatment.

I have a bit different things but as most of you are from US or other country with Internet shops I looked products similar to mine up. As you see it is not much but it can make a big difference. Difference between life and death.

Some of our Survival Food

As the situation deteriorated more and more, some things about food changed, things were brought to a level where we eat just to survive. To explain you in simple way: in first month it was like-oh i really could use pizza or beer, but after a few months it was like- oh i really want to eat SOMETHING, it was not too important what.

survival food

There was not to many different kinds of foods, i ll try to remember here what we use to eat. Cooking and preparing food mostly was not my part in that days, but i ll do my best here.

Bread was not everyday thing, and it was not bread like we eat today, and it was homemade of course. Flour was bad quality, actually it was some kind of mixture i think. We use to bake that bread in small pots, on plate, not in oven, it took less firewood to bake it like that. After baking we wrap it in wet clothes, rug or something similar and leave it for hour or two, to make it softer.

About pancakes, we just call it pancakes, but actually it was mixture of herbs , water and small amounts of flour, baked also on plates, so when it is done you got something what look like pancake, with lot of green stuff inside and taste bad. For pancakes we used two kind of herbs, one was wild onion or bear onion, other was nettle (urtica).

We also used herbs mostly for different kind of soups, as a soup we used mostly nettle, especially if we had few potatoes to put in. We used all kinds of tea, actually something between tea and soup, i ques depended did we had anything else to put inside. Rice was popular also, alone or in form of some kind of pie.

Sometimes i did not eat for few days but at the end i always managed to get something trough trade or on other ways. It was a question of your strength and brain and some luck to find food.

Now you are going to ask me how?

OK for example two from our group go out to wait for MREs, two others go to find someone to trade something, two are going to find some usable herbs.
Food was coming in town trough few ways, depended on state of those ways in some days was easier to get some food, in other days was just too hard.
For example in one period in black market there were great amounts of some kind of cookies, or hard biscuits, in big metal containers, i do not have clue from where. Something similar to those crackers in MRE.

People avoided to eat that because rumor was that cookies are poisoned, i did not avoided them. So it was some strange situations with food too. Of course all different kinds of cans, MREs, end every other “luxury” thing was subject of many different “if s”. Preparing of food was pointed to how to “how to make it with less firewood”

In summer we prepared food in a yard on a simple two stone and one plate fire. But most of the preparing of food was simple and took as long as to “boil water”, like pancakes or kinds of donuts (not real donuts, more like a bad case of a donut)

Spices were pretty important for the simple reason because most of the home made foods tasted awful, or did not have taste at all, so we practically used them for every meal. Tabascino, peppers, rosemary everything.

You may say that we actually experimented with food but actually that is a really nice way to put it. We did not have too much problems with storing food, because we never had enough food to store it actually. It was like finding food for day or two in most cases, i mean to get somewhere more than 15 cans at once was really rare. There was some importance of having jars, because people tried a lot with making some kind of sauce or marmalade, if we had sugar it was marmalade, without sugar it was tomato sauce.

Most useful tool in preparation of food was something like a small stove, i mean even if we had a wood stove in house it was not to economic to prepare something really fast on it, it just required too much firewood to get hot so you can prepare something.

So solution was to remodel it so you can faster get “water boiling” or even try to make new one from very thin material, so you do not need too much wood to make it really hot. People used sometimes big cans for that purpose, or changed original material on old stove with thinner.

Money was actually not much worth, only in rare occasions you could use it, and under very changed valuation of course. Even before everything started the monetary situation was confused and we had hyperinflation. When all started i had as i said before some food in my house, for a week maybe not sure, some other folks who joined me brought more, and i had some money, if you compare it with today situation and money i can say that i had something like 700-1000 Euros in house and good savings in bank.

In first days of confusion i did nothing with that money, i just waited for situation to get better, so in some two months i barely found some guy and bought from him some flour for that money, at price maybe 40 times more than at the beginning of everything. On the other way if i would have been smarter and bought candles, batteries, and food for example at the beginning, in few months i would have been rich trough trading that stuff.

So real explanation of question was money worth much it depended how smart you used it. I was not smart. But truth is that very soon money simply didnt matter anymore or was nothing we even thought about.

What did we eat?

Not too many types of food, most popular was some kind of local pancakes, to prepare them you needed water, hand full of flour and local herbs, i don t know type of herb, but i am pretty sure it was cow food.It did not require cooking oil, and it needed few minutes on fire to be ready, feeling was like you are eating dusty carpet 🙂

To explain it simply, it was grass, we just use small amounts of flour and water to keep that grass together.
We eat that when we did not anything else.

Speaking about herbs, people used a lot garlic and  lavender as substitute for antibiotics, pine was popular as a antiseptic and of course camomile.

Mre s and cans were luxuries, we acquired cans mostly trough trade. Rice was popular to had, i ques one reason was because it easy to prepare it.
Who owned some kind of garden was in advance, i remember green salads mostly from gardens, to protect that gardens was another problem, but that is theme for another post i quess.

It was matter of whole new thinking, for example if you manage to get somewhere tomatoes, and happened to had some sugar in house, than probably you gonna make kind of marmalade from that, or sauce, call it as you like, and put it in jars.
Most popular kind of can was corned beef because few reasons, it was meat to eat of course, it had a lot of fat in that can, when we eat meat, we used that fat and can as a lamp (add a lace and bottle cap, melt fat)
As i said mostly it was a matter of improvisation,like to make small portable stove from pressure cooker, simply with hammer nails and saw we made two openings, one for smoke and one for wood, we attached some pipe on smoke opening, so basically we had small portable stove, we could carry that in bag, or backpack, if we going somewhere on day, we could quickly cook something on that, and warm our self.
Of course it looked funny, we cough because smoke all the time, but it worked, and it was portable.
We also made stove from the bigger cans, also portable.