Friday, November 14, 2014

Survival Medicine: Tampons, Effective for Bullet Wounds?

During my time learning about survival techniques I have heard it said many times that a tampon is an effective stopper for a bullet wound. It makes sense to me. Tampons are individually wrapped so they remain sanitary. They are meant for collecting blood. They would expand to fill the wound and stop bleeding but I wanted to find out if this really was an effective method or not. Here's what I found.

I found an article by one unanimous prepper who is an Emergency Medical Technician and he said this is a fallacy and there are many reasons why using a tampon is a bad idea. He points out that putting in the tampon manipulates the wound and could make the wound worse. Another valid point that he makes is that the tampons soak up too much blood and could have dangerous effects. He goes on to mention that since tampons are made of cotton they stick to material and tissue, making the wound messy and their expansion also expands the wound. Another point he brings up is if you left the tampon in too long the blood and tissue would dry to the tampons. When you remove it you would essentially be making a new wound inside the old one. His final point is that simply sticking a tampon in the hole does nothing to address internal bleeding. 

I never considered all of these points but they all make sense too. So what to do? introduces a new product on their blog that has been introduced to our soldiers to use on the battlefield. It's called an X-stat and it's made by RevMedx (featured in right hand picture). Popular Science touts it as being able to stop bleeding in just 15 minutes. It is a tube of dime sized medical grade sponges that are covered with a hemostatic agent to stop bleeding. RevMedx claims that the number one cause of death on the battlefield is uncontrolled bleeding and many of these injuries occur to areas where pressure can not be applied. This product addresses this issue but it is not yet available to the general public. 

In the mean time if the SHTF do we turn to our stockpiles of tampons to help with the inevitable bullet wounds or not? I am no medical specialist but I would say yes. When there is no immediate medical help available you have to do what you have to do. If you have the choice between watching someone bleed out before your eyes or doing what you can to stop the bleeding, of course, you have to stop the bleeding. At that point complications from the bandage will probably be the least of your worries anyway.

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit:
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