First Aid

Using Duct Tape as First Aid Tape

Duct tape is famous for its variety of uses from hold two of anything imaginable together to being construction material for wallets and prom dresses. However, duct tape can also be used as an emergency medical tool.

Typically, when administering first aid you want to use regular medical or surgical tape. However, there may be some instances where this tape is unavailable or even that duct tape is the superior tool. Here are a few ways that duct tape can be used as first aid tape.

Taping on bandages

Duct tape can be used in many cases that are commonly reserved for first aid tape, such as securing bandages to a body. Simply rip off the length of tape needed and slap it on. You may want to rip the duct tape length wise to make it slimmer, as the full width isn’t always necessary.

You must be careful when using duct tape, though. It is much more adhesive than normal first aid tape, so it will stick to a body much better. In some cases, this might be a good thing. In others, it can mean an extremely painful removal, especially if the tape is for some reason placed directly on a wound. Even if it’s not, duct tape will stick to hair and anything else with its famous tenacity, so apply with caution.

Slowing blood flow

This is something that regular first tape isn’t so good at that regular duct tape can do with ease. Say that a person’ arm or leg is bleeding profusely, and you want to slow the blood flow to keep them from dying. Simply wrap duct tape around the base of the extremity as tightly as possible. You might want to do this at a couple places on the body=side of the wound. Be careful, though; long-term blood denial to a part of the body can do lasting tissue and nerve damage. Don’t create any wrappings you can’t easily remove.

Setting a splint

Duct tape is incredibly useful for creating a splint, and it can do it on much larger body parts than normal first aid tape can. In order to do this, set the bone in its proper position, then place the “setter” alongside the broken or fractured bone. The setter is whatever straight rod, pole, or stick you’re using to secure the bone’s position. Then, duct tape the setter and body part together as tightly as possible without cutting of blood flow.

Closing a wound

If someone has a large, open wound, medical tape might simply be out of it’s league for the amount of blood flow and pressure it’s expected to handle. If there’s anything in the world that can be used to seal up a gaping wound quickly, it’s duct tape. Place in any gauze and clean cloth you have, then begin taping. Go all the way around the body part, so that eventually the tape is adhering to itself rather than a sweaty, slimy, blood-covered body.

Replacement Bullet or Cork

Sometimes a person is in such extreme pain that he or she is at risk of biting his or her tongue of from clenching teeth. Historically, these people have been given a cork or even a bullet (hence the term “bite the bullet”.) If those aren’t available, though, a bit of rolled up duct tape can serve as an emergency tongue saver.

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