(Dr. Alton says: From time to time, we publish articles from promising writers in the field of medical preparedness. Today we have an article by Billy Douglas on the medical versatility of paracord as part of your supplies. Billy is an Outdoor and Survival enthusiast from Georgia, who loves camping, range shooting, hiking, and his Ford F-150. Catch up with Billy on the PrepperZine Facebook page.
7 MEDICAL USES FOR PARACORD
In a survival situation, medical conditions such as cuts and scrapes, broken limbs, and other more serious issues are magnified 10x.
As a prepper you know that you will have to make do with what you have on your person and in your immediate surroundings. One item that I highly recommended is paracord, however not for a fancy survival bracelet.
In this article we will be taking a look at 7 medical uses for paracord. First, let’s look at the basics of paracord.
What is Paracord?
It is a mashup name for “parachute cord” and is used by the military for parachutes. Paracord is better than rope since it is lighter, stronger, and doesn’t stretch like rope.
The survival and preparedness community has been a champion of paracord in the last several years. Paracord is mainstream now, and people are using it for countless projects.
Use high quality 550 cord with 5 or 7 inner strands. It is called 550 since it can support 550 LBS of weight. Now, on to the projects…
1) Dental Floss
Whilst not strictly a medical reason, having unclean teeth or even getting food stuck in your teeth can quickly become a problem. At first it’s just irritating, however gum disease and gum inflammation can be a real problem.
We can solve this by ‘gutting’ a small length of paracord, and by gutting I mean removing the 5 to 7 inner strands that make up the inside of the material.
Next, take a single thread and twist it between your thumb and forefinger until you can see the 2 thinner strands start to separate.
Now you have paired down the cord to its thinnest component. This is thin enough to be used as dental floss to remove debris from the teeth and keep the mouth and gums health and disease free.
2) Remove A Stuck Ring
Now that we can make dental floss, we can also use this thin inner strand for another common problem, a stuck ring on a swollen finger.
If you injury or cut your finger, it can swell and become infected causing a ring on the finger to tighten against the skin and it can be painful.
In the video below you can see exactly how to use this ‘magic trick’ to remove the ring with nothing more than dental floss, or in our case “paracord improvised dental floss”!
A simple walk in the woods can throw you into a survival situation – a misplaced foot, snake bite, or a falling branch. All have their own dangers and are likely to leave the sufferer unable to walk.
You can use paracord, along with 2 long and 2 short branches to make an improvised stretcher.
Simply lay out the long branches parallel about 3 feet apart, they should be about 6 feet long. Next place the shorter, 4 feet long branches across the longer pieces to create a rectangle shape, with excess wood poking out either side from the shorter pieces of wood.
Now use your paracord to latch the poles together and then begin to weave a ‘net’ between the two longer pieces of wood. As paracord has a high breaking strength of 550lbs, this should be good for any injured person.
If there is only the two of you, you can also rig up a ‘net’ style chair that can help to carry someone on your back and stop them from falling off and injuring themselves even more.
Just think of a very large sling that sits under the rear of the injured person.
4) Identification Bracelet
These bracelets are not your ‘run-of-the-mill’ survival bracelets. No, they serve a much higher purpose.
First, they are handmade by our country’s veteran soldiers who have been injured as a result of war. HandmadeByHeroes.com offer a variety of paracord medical bracelets that can help to identify you to others. Any condition or ailment you have can be worn, such as:
● An Allergy, such as nuts
● Diabetic and the type
● Your Blood Type/Group
● Other Medical Conditions such as Epilepsy
A great idea if you or a family member has a condition that would be useful for others to know about.
Most quality paracord has at least 7 strands, which form the guts of the material. These inner strands provide great strength to the paracord and have a breaking strength of around 50 lbs each when splint down to their thinnest component.
One of the great uses in a SHTF situation is to take one of those inner strands, to use as a suture. They are thin enough to thread through the eye of a needle and if you have an open wound that needs to be closed up, you can use this to do so.
It’s important to point out there are many things that need to be taken into consideration before using sutures to close up an wound. Be sure to check out the article on open wounds before making the decision to do so, knowing what to do and making the right decision could save your life.
A broken finger, or any bone for that matter in a SHTF situation is amplified 10x because of the situational requirements on you are your body to be fully alert and functional.
A broken finger, whilst painful, is also manageable. To aid the healing process and to prevent further damage, simply wrapping the broken finger and the finger next to it with paracord will act as a split that will s strong and sturdy provide support.
Should you be unlucky enough to break your leg, you can also use paracord and 2 thick branches, about the thickness of your wrist, to support the leg.
If you have a broken arm however, you are in trouble and you need to get that arm secure and out of the way, again to prevent further damage.
By wrapping the paracord around the broken are a few times and then looping it around the neck and over your shoulder, you can have a makeshift sling.
Another alternative if you are carrying a rifle, is to make a paracord rifle sling to carry it over your shoulder. This can also be used as an arm sling in the same manner and will also provide lots of cordage should you need it.
If you have a large wound or have a member of your group who is losing a lot of blood and you cannot stop the bleeding by applying pressure, you should look to apply is a tourniquet.
Using our trusty paracord, we can improvize by using a single length of paracord, tied off above the wound and then using a small stick, you twist the paracord to tighten against the arm or leg and slow the loss of blood.
Pay attention to the length of time the tourniquet has been applied for as after a few hours they can cause the surrounding tissue to die. So they are to be treated as a short-term measure to get the casualty some professional help and stop them bleeding out in the process.
(Dr. Bones says: Although paracord will serve the purpose of stopping bleeding, try to have a tourniquet 2 inches wide in your medical storage. It will cause less damage to the skin constricted by the pressure.)
As you can see, paracord isn’t just for making bracelets, it has many practical uses too and I recommend you have at least a few meters stowed away in your bug out bag and also on your person as part of your EDC.
Medical applications are not the only use for this great material however, you can find more practical and survival uses in the article – 101 Paracord Projects.