In this week’s Survivalist Prepper Podcast we did a segment called Ask the Rescue Ninja (Ask the R.N.) where Lisa answered some listener questions. Here are some of the show notes for those questions, and you can listen to the show here.
How about when/ when not to suture a wound after SHTF
In my opinion, the only time I would ever suture a wound is if I had made a surgical incision. If I did not, I would not suture it. The main reason to suture a wound is to help it heal faster, however you run the risk of infection if you suture a dirty wound shut.
You can put in a drain, and then suture the wound closed, but you are still leaving an opening, which bacteria can get in, so I am of the mind set to leave it open, and do dressing changes. As an example, when my horse cut open his leg we tried 3 times to get it to the point where we could suture it closed, and it just wasn’t happening. But by keeping it covered, it healed and there is only a tiny line scar. Not the fastest way to heal, but it healed, even in a ‘poopy’ environment, literally.
How to take care of poison ivy, oak or sumac after SHTF?
- Steer clear of areas where you know they grow.
- Cover up with closed shoes, socks, long pants, long sleeves, and gloves. Wash any clothes that come in contact with poisonous plants as soon as possible.
- If you get exposed, wash your skin with soap and warm water right away to get the plant’s oils off your skin. Some experts say that washing within the first hour may help limit the rash.
- Use a cold compress, calamine lotion, non-prescription hydrocortisone cream, or an antihistamine to ease itching.
How to make the decision whether to use antibiotics or not
If you fear an infection, and it seems to be spreading, I would use an antibiotic. Signs of a spreading infection are:
- Smelly discharge, or increasing drainage of a wound
- Pain that is not relieved by medication
If I were not able to distinguish what the bacteria was, I would probably use 2 antibiotics to get the widest possible coverage. So I would grab my nursing drug guide book, and find antibiotics that had the broadest spectrum of killing bacteria. Bactrim (Sulfa drug) and Augmentin (Cillin based antibiotic) would have the largest spectrum of coverage. But, you also need to know if the patient has any allergies to penicillin, or sulfa drugs, and if they do, you can’t use them.
You also have to be careful, because once you start treating an invading bacteria, you will also destroy the beneficial bacteria, and you may need to take steps to replenish that beneficial bacteria, with probiotics, etc. Fish antibiotics are a good alternative in a SHTF scenario.
What can be used for pain when a wound needs to be sewed up?
You can buy lidocaine gel, and you could put that on some 4×4 gauze, and apply it to the area to help numb it before you cleaned it, or sutured it closed. However, if there is infection present, no amount of numbing medication is going to help, it will still hurt, which is a good indicator you should NOT be suturing the wound closed. Also, unless the trauma just occurred, and if the wound has been open for over 4 hours, you should not suture it closed.
Also, as a side note, the fascination with suturing a wound closed seems to be a HUGE topic of interest. If you are thinking you should be suturing a wound, get the training first, or, you can always use butterflies, or steri-strips, as this will bring the edges of the wound together, and allow the wound to heal without suturing the wound closed.
Another thing that is a lot easier and quicker would be to use staples. This is super-fast, easy, and no knot tying, just boom, boom, boom, done! Just be sure to have a staple remover, so you will be able to remove the staples once the wound has healed.