Practical Advise From a Mother, Wife, and Zombie Fanatic on Surviving After an Extinction Level Event
Part 4 of 4: Basic First Aid for Severe Bleeding and Loss of Appendage
A Soccer Mom’s Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse
by Casey Rostofer
You’ve successfully mastered fire, built a shelter, drank your fill of treated water and have a full belly of smoked possum and home grown peas. Feeling pretty good, aren’t you. That is, until that scratch you received on your leg while running naked and willy nilly turns angry red and starts to ooze pus. It would be a shame to survive a zombie invasion and defeat dehydration only to die from an affliction that would have been easily treated by modern medicine. It’s time to talk first aid for the repeat of the 19th century.
Unless you have successfully raided a pharmacy and hold a plethora of prescription medication in your stash, you are going to either require a great knowledge of natural remedies or be prepared to take extreme measures in certain situations.
Surprisingly, what some people consider a vice, I consider an essential item to have with you at all times. What am I talking about? Whiskey, of course, high proof whiskey. First of all, it’s the end of the world, you could use a drink. But in a pinch, medically speaking, whisky can be used to sterilize wounds and utensils, and sedate a patient in extreme pain. Note of caution, however, do not give alcohol to a person that is bleeding profusely, unless you plan on cauterizing the wound immediately. Alcohol with thin the blood and cause a bleeder’s blood pressure to drop, in addition to creating a larger, bloody mess. Ke$ha was on to something when she claimed to “brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack”. You can also use whiskey as a mouth wash.
Which brings up another good point; even in the end of the world, folks, don’t neglect your teeth. Ever had a bad cavity in need of a root canal? The pain is excruciating. Try having a massive tooth ache when the only Dentists left in the world are more interested in eating your face than relieving your pain. The only option for dental care left is to pull an infected or sore tooth. Make sure and drink some of that whiskey before you attempt that. Popping out a tooth isn’t as simple as a clamp and a yank. No, it won’t be pleasant, but if our fore fathers lived through it, so can you.
Breaks and sprains are likely to be common maladies. Without the use of x-ray, it can be very difficult to discern between the two and know how to treat them. Sprains will swell, but aren’t likely to discolor around the skin, with the exception of some pink or red from your skin swelling. Breaks under the skin will often turn a shade of black, blue or purple due to the severed blood vessels around the break site. To be safe, treat all sprains as if they were breaks as well. Attach a basic splint, using a tree branch, wooden spoon, or any available rigid object the length of the appendage that is broken. Using whatever material available, (duct tape!), keep the appendage as straight as possible and tape the rigid object to yourself. The goal is to keep that arm or leg straight in order for it to heal correctly. Do not try to walk or run on a broken bone. Not only will you cause yourself terrible pain, and increase the severity of your break, you won’t get far before you crumple to the ground and become zombie chow.
Bleeding wounds can be treated with stitches, tourniquets or cauterization. Basic stitches can be performed with thread, fishing line, or any other thin, taught material. If you don’t have a needle handy, you can use a fishing hook without a barbed end. Barbed ends will just serrate the flesh more and cause more pain.
Only extreme wounds should be treated with a tourniquet, as the use of one often results in loss of limb due to lack of blood supply. A tourniquet can be made from any cloth or textile that is the appropriate size and strength. Belts make great tourniquets as they are strong and sturdy. It does no good to fashion a tourniquet that will rip, tear, or give way. During an apocalyptic scenario, your goal with a tourniquet is to just tide someone over until you can get the wound cauterized.
As barbaric as it may sound, searing the wound with a red, burning, object will save your life, especially if you have lost a limb. The blood vessels have to be sealed or you will bleed out and die. It will, however, hurt like no pain you have ever experienced before, and you may lose your appetite after smelling your own flesh being charred.
A metal object is inserted into a fire, long enough for it to turn red and glow. Remove the object from the fire and apply directly to the open wound. (Whiskey!) For this, you will need to enlist the help of other survivors, as the person being treated will likely need to be held down with brute strength.
There is no way to treat a bite victim. Don’t try. Assume all of those bitten are infected and leave them to the land of the dead. Maybe give them a shot of whiskey before you go, though. It’s the right thing to do.
Living in a technology free world isn’t going to be easy, and it won’t be fun, but it really isn’t the end of the world. Well, okay, it is, but whenever one door closes, another one opens. Using basic survival skills and common sense, you and your group should be able to survive the elements and live as long, somewhat happy life, free from World of Warcraft and Facebook status updates. Actual, tangible, paper books will become hip once again. We’ll all live a simpler kind of life, like the Amish. Together, we’ll re-build civilization and thrive as a society once again, free from the technological constraints of our former lives. That is, until the zombies learn to think for themselves. Or run. Then, we’re all doomed….