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76 votes
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I've just been bitten by a rattlesnake; how, exactly, do I "keep calm"?

Eventually some part of your brain is going to start thinking, "Holy (expletive), Rattlesnake! I'm gonna loose an extremity! I'm gonna die! What's going to happen to my family? Why did I even come ...
cobaltduck's user avatar
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44 votes
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How to treat a severe allergic reaction while hiking?

Anybody who has severe allergies which could lead to anaphylaxic shock should carry appropriate medication with them. Typically, that would consist of: An antihistamine (e.g. benadryll) An ...
nhinkle's user avatar
  • 8,720
33 votes

First aid: alternatives to hydrogen peroxide

Water. The American Red Cross Wilderness First Aid courses in 2021 recommend irrigating wounds with at least a liter of potable water, using an irrigation syringe. If you don't have enough potable ...
Dave X's user avatar
  • 1,134
25 votes

How do you remove a fishhook from a human?

I disagree greatly with all previous answers. Pushing the hook the rest of the way through is very painful and takes much longer than the method I describe below. My preferred method is to wrap some ...
Kyle's user avatar
  • 711
23 votes

How do you remove a fishhook from a human?

Often the best solution is to get some fine nosed pliers and push the point of the hook out and through, making an 'exit wound'. This is often preferable to trying to pull a barbed hook back the way ...
Chris Johns's user avatar
  • 6,212
22 votes

I've just been bitten by a rattlesnake; how, exactly, do I "keep calm"?

Practice. I watched my dad nearly slice his thumb off while cutting wood, in the middle of nowhere in France, with a meat cleaver when I was about 10. He turned to me and said 'Go to your mum, ask ...
djsmiley2kStaysInside's user avatar
19 votes
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What are the first signs that you are headed for heat exhaustion, and what should you do?

Serious heat related illness in wilderness medicine is broken up into two categories, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. This blog post from NOLS has a pretty good overview of the two (including signs &...
noah's user avatar
  • 4,053
18 votes
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Is whiskey a good disinfectant?

This was done on the American Frontier, and during the American Civil War. According to this journal from the American Medical Association printed in 1893, it is a good antiseptic. Apparently, alcohol ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
18 votes

Duct tape as adhesive bandage

Yes you can. Just be aware that Duct tape is very sticky in comparison to regular medical tape, so when you go to peel it off, it puts a lot more stress on the healing wound and is likely to re-open ...
bob1's user avatar
  • 10.6k
16 votes

Is whiskey a good disinfectant?

Is whiskey a good disinfectant in an emergency situation while in the outdoors? Ideally any strong alcohol, whether whiskey, vodka, tequila or some other strong liquor should not be used to clean ...
Ken Graham's user avatar
  • 9,609
16 votes

First aid: alternatives to hydrogen peroxide

When someone is so badly injured that they need immediate professional medical treatment, and you are able to get them that treatment within a day, then wound disinfection isn't a priority. Infections ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 973
12 votes

How do you remove a fishhook from a human?

The usual place this happens is a finger, ear, occasional other places. If you are close to town, and have good insurance by all means, tape it in place to minimize movement, and go see a doctor. I'...
Sherwood Botsford's user avatar
12 votes
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How do you remove leeches from your eyeball?

This story says that a saline solution was used and it was not pulled off. Dr Fogg says tweezers were not an option as simply pulling the leech off could leave its head lodged in the eyeball, ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
12 votes

I've just been bitten by a rattlesnake; how, exactly, do I "keep calm"?

Know what to do Make an effort to know how to deal with the risks of <activity> The most important thing I learn when I attend first aid courses is not the treatment of the injury, but knowing ...
James Webster's user avatar
12 votes
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What to do if someone gets impaled in the stomach?

To quote from the Wilderness First Responder manual, Large objects found impaled in a wound should be left in place if you can get to a medical facility with relative ease. Yanking on an object can ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
12 votes

What first aid steps should you take for someone who faints after being injured in the cold rain?

Send someone to get help, even if it's hours away. The casualty's life may depend on it. Someone needs to grab a phone and start walking. They should check periodically for signal, including at ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.5k
11 votes

Why are tourniquets not recommended as a first aid for a snakebite?

I keep on telling people that they should never try to restrict the blood flow by using a tourniquet or a tight restricting bandage. It has been a stupid myth among people, visualizing that the snake ...
WedaPashi's user avatar
  • 31.7k
11 votes
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Can sanitary pads be a better alternate to gauze to reduce or stop bleeding?

They'd be a decent substitute (and indeed may be carried when first aid supplies aren't, or available to buy in smaller shops), but proper dressings (not merely gauze) would be better for several ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.5k
10 votes
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What first aid can be done for Crab Bite?

First control the bleeding with gauze or a cloth and light pressure Elevate the foot Clean with soap and water Apply an antiseptic You can get single packs Bandage/bandaid(plaster) if necessary If ...
paparazzo's user avatar
  • 7,176
9 votes

Am I able to "open up" a snake bite and suck the venom out of it?

Already a couple of nice answers by imsodin and Liam. I'll add 2 cents to it. Might appear a bit lengthy, but for me its essential. I keep on telling people that they should never try to suck the ...
WedaPashi's user avatar
  • 31.7k
9 votes

How do you remove a fishhook from a human?

I have seen a doctor perform the removal of a hook embedded in the skin. As most have pointed out, the first best thing is medical attention I won't dare argue against that sound advice. But, one ...
Terrence Norfolk's user avatar
8 votes

How do I avoid leeches?

I know this is a bit late, but having had a lot of experience with leeches makes me believe I can add some value here. Salt works for both avoiding and for removing leeches. The method to apply is ...
Ricketyship's user avatar
  • 7,795
8 votes

Is it safe to use denatured alcohol as an antiseptic?

I'm a physician. High proof alcohol – be it ethanol or rubbing – causes osmotic bursting of cells – like distilled water – and hurts like Hell. It is only suitable for surfaces,...
user14993's user avatar
8 votes
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Am I able to "open up" a snake bite and suck the venom out of it?

This is simply a compendium of relevant answers already given. Hopefully someone will come up with an original more detailed answer. This is from an answer by WedaPashi in What are the first aid ...
imsodin's user avatar
  • 21.7k
8 votes
Accepted

Is there any evidence that suction devices are helpful for snake bites?

There are two studies I could find on this, Conclusion The Sawyer Extractor pump removed bloody fluid from our simulated snakebite wounds but removed virtually no mock venom, which suggests ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
8 votes

Duct tape as adhesive bandage

Given your comment that you want to replace an adhesive bandage, rather than medical tape: Yes, you can use duct tape + CLEAN cloth for this, but you can do a few things to make it more pleasant. Cut ...
user3067860's user avatar
  • 1,287
7 votes

How should you treat an open wound in the backcountry?

First of all you need to control what is life threatening. Control the bleed. Lay them down and elevate the wound if necessary. Apply sterile dressings (or the closest thing you have to sterile). ...
paparazzo's user avatar
  • 7,176

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