|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – November 2008
Close a wound, remove a tick, prevent poison ivy rash, and more essential tips.
CLOSE A GAPING WOUND
Good news: You've stopped the bleeding. Bad news: You need stitches, and medical care is days away. In the meantime, follow these steps to close the wound and prevent infection:
1) Thoroughly wash the skin around the cut, then irrigate the wound with a syringe, water bladder, or a plastic bag with a pinhole. Use only water that is safe to drink.
2) Smear a line of tincture of benzoin compound along both sides of the wound, keeping it out of the wound itself, and let dry for 30 seconds (the resulting stickiness helps keep the bandage in place). Touching only the ends of the strips, pull the wound's edges together and tape shut with closure strips, butterfly bandages, or thin strips of athletic or duct tape.
3) Cover the wound with a micro-thin dressing or gauze smeared with antibiotic ointment.
Note: Due to the high risk of infection, do not close wounds involving animal bites; damaged tendons, ligaments, or bones; those caused by crushing injuries; and those too heavily contaminated to clean thoroughly. Instead, pack with moist sterile gauze, cover with dry gauze, and evacuate.