Prevent and Treat Shock
Anticipate shock in all injured personnel. Treat all injured persons as
follows, regardless of what symptoms appear:
If the victim is conscious, place him on a level surface with the lower
extremities elevated 8 inches.
If the victim is unconscious, place him on his side or abdomen with
his head turned to one side to prevent choking on vomit, blood, or
If you are unsure of the best position, place the victim perfectly flat.
Once the victim is in a shock position, do not move him.
Maintain body heat by insulating the victim from the surroundings
and, in some instances, applying external heat.
If wet, remove all the victim's wet clothing as soon as possible and
replace with dry clothing.
Improvise a shelter to insulate the victim from the weather.
Use warm liquids or foods, a prewarmed sleeping bag, another person,
warmed water in canteens, hot rocks wrapped in clothing, or
fires on either side of the victim to provide external warmth.
If the victim is conscious, slowly administer small doses of a warm
salt or sugar solution, if available.
If the victim is unconscious or has abdominal wounds, do not give
fluids by mouth.
Have the victim rest for at least 24 hours.
If you are a lone survivor, lie in a depression in the ground, behind a
tree, or any other place out of the weather, with your head lower
than your feet.
If you are with a buddy, reassess your patient constantly.
BONE AND JOINT INJURY
You could face bone and joint injuries that include fractures, dislocations,
There are basically two types of fractures: open and closed. With an
open (or compound) fracture, the bone protrudes through the skin and
complicates the actual fracture with an open wound. After setting the
fracture, treat the wound as any other open wound.
The closed fracture has no open wounds. Follow the guidelines for
immobilization, and set and splint the fracture.
The signs and symptoms of a fracture are pain, tenderness, discoloration,
swelling deformity, loss of function, and grating (a sound or feeling
that occurs when broken bone ends rub together).
The dangers with a fracture are the severing or the compression of a
nerve or blood vessel at the site of fracture. For this reason minimum
manipulation should be done, and only very cautiously. If you notice the
area below the break becoming numb, swollen, cool to the touch, or
turning pale, and the victim shows signs of shock, a major vessel may
have been severed. You must control this internal bleeding. Rest the
victim for shock, and replace lost fluids.
Often you must maintain traction during the splinting and healing process.
You can effectively pull smaller bones such as the arm or lower
leg by hand. You can create traction by wedging a hand or foot in the
V-notch of a tree and pushing against the tree with the other extremity.
You can then splint the break.
Very strong muscles hold a broken thighbone (femur) in place making it
difficult to maintain traction during healing. You can make an improvised
traction splint using natural material as follows:
Get two forked branches or saplings at least 3 inches in diameter.
Measure one from the patient's armpit to 8 inches past his unbroken leg. Measure the other from the groin to 20 to 30 centimeters past the unbroken leg. Ensure that both extend an equal distance beyond the end of the leg. Pad the two splints. Notch the ends without forks and lash a 8 inch cross member made from a 2 inch diameter
branch between them.
Using available material (vines, cloth, rawhide), tie the splint around
the upper portion of the body and down the length of the broken leg.
Follow the splinting guidelines.
With available material, fashion a wrap that will extend around the
ankle, with the two free ends tied to the cross member.
Place a 10- by 2.5-centimeter stick in the middle of the free ends of
the ankle wrap between the cross member and the foot. Using the
stick, twist the material to make the traction easier.
Continue twisting until the broken leg is as long or slightly longer
than the unbroken leg.
Lash the stick to maintain traction.
Note: Over time you may lose traction because the material weakened. Check
the traction periodically. If you must change or repair the splint, maintain the
traction manually for a short time.
Dislocations are the separations of bone joints causing the bones to go
out of proper alignment. These misalignments can be extremely painful
and can cause an impairment of nerve or circulatory function below the
area affected. You must place these joints back into alignment as quickly
Signs and symptoms of dislocations are joint pain, tenderness,
swelling, discoloration, limited range of motion, and deformity of
the joint. You treat dislocations by reduction, immobilization, and
Reduction or "setting" is placing the bones back into their proper
alignment. You can use several methods, but manual traction or the
use of weights to pull the bones are the safest and easiest. Once performed,
reduction decreases the victim's pain and allows for normal
function and circulation. Without an X ray, you can judge proper
alignment by the look and feel of the joint and by comparing it to
the joint on the opposite side.
Immobilization is nothing more than splinting the dislocation after reduction.
You can use any field-expedient material for a splint or you can
splint an extremity to the body. The basic guidelines for splinting are-
Splint above and below the fracture site.
Pad splints to reduce discomfort.
Check circulation below the fracture after making each tie on the
To rehabilitate the dislocation, remove the splints after 7 to 14 days.
Gradually use the injured joint until fully healed.
The accidental overstretching of a tendon or ligament causes sprains.
The signs and symptoms are pain, swelling, tenderness, and discoloration
(black and blue).
When treating sprains, think RICE
R - Rest injured area.
I - Ice for 24 hours, then heat after that.
C - Compression-wrapping and/or splinting to help stabilize. If possible,
leave the boot on a sprained ankle unless circulation is
E - Elevation of the affected area.
Cont. to Bites and Stings - Page 3