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Treat Deep Wounds

Miles from the trailhead, your hiking partner springs a gusher after taking a fall on an iffy scramble. Here's what to do.
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Prevent Shock Maintain blood flow to a victim’s brain.
After you’ve stopped a bleed, expect and preempt shock. Symptoms include a weakening, rapid pulse; gray, cool, or clammy skin; nausea; and shallow breathing. Lay your victim down, elevate his feet 6 to 10 inches, and keep him warm and hydrated. Prepare to turn him on his side in order to prevent choking if he vomits.

Key Skill Close a Wound
After bleeding stops and the cut is cleaned, trim ¼- to ½-inch-wide strips of duct or medical tape long enough so they will extend at least 1 inch beyond each side of the gash. A. Starting in the middle of the wound, apply strips of tape in pairs: First, attach the end of each strip to opposite sides of the cut. Then, gently pull the strips to close the wound, and adhere the loose ends to the cut’s far side. B. Continue placing pairs of tape strips above and below the center closure (allowing 1/8 inch between strips of tape) until the wound is fully closed. Dress the cut to keep dirt out, and check it regularly for signs of infection.

DIY Demo
Watch Ted dress a big bleed—and learn how to practice the skills yourself using a hydration bladder, pigs’ feet, and a whole lot of red food dye. backpacker.com/dropdeadted

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