First Aid and Emergency Information

1 Fundamental Criteria for First Aid
2 Basic Measures for First Aid
3 First Aid for Special Wounds
4 First Aid for Fractures
5 First Aid for Climatic Injuries
6 First Aid for Bites and Stings
7 First Aid in Toxic Environments
8 First Aid for Psychological Reactions

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6-3. Human and Other Animal Bites
Human or other land animal bites may cause lacerations or bruises. In addition to damaging tissue, human or bites from animals such as dogs, cats, bats, raccoons, or rats always present the possibility of infection.
a. Human Bites. Human bites that break the skin may become seriously infected since the mouth is heavily contaminated with bacteria. All human bites MUST be treated by medical personnel.
b. Animal Bites. Land animal bites can result in both infection and disease. Tetanus, rabies, and various types of fevers can follow an untreated animal bite. Because of these possible complications, the animal causing the bite should, if possible, be captured or killed (without damaging its head) so that competent authorities can identify and test the animal to determine if it is carrying diseases.
c. First Aid.
(1) Cleanse the wound thoroughly with soap or detergent solution.
(2) Flush it well with water.
(3) Cover it with a sterile dressing.
(4) Immobilize an injured arm or leg.
(5) Transport the casualty immediately to a medical treatment facility.

NOTE
If unable to capture or kill the animal, provide medical personnel with any information possible that will help identify it. Information of this type will aid in appropriate treatment.

6-4. Marine (Sea) Animals
With the exception of sharks and barracuda, most marine animals will not deliberately attack. The most frequent injuries from marine animals are wounds by biting, stinging, or puncturing. Wounds inflicted by marine animals can be very painful, but are rarely fatal.
a. Sharks, Barracuda, and Alligators. Wounds from these marine animals can involve major trauma as a result of bites and lacerations. Bites from large marine animals are potentially the most life threatening of all injuries from marine animals. Major wounds from these animals can be treated by controlling the bleeding, preventing shock, giving basic life support, splinting the injury, and by securing prompt medical aid.
b. Turtles, Moray Eels, and Corals. These animals normally inflict minor wounds. Treat by cleansing the wound(s) thoroughly and by splinting if necessary.
c. Jellyfish, Portuguese men-of-war, Anemones, and Others. This group of marine animals inflict injury by means of stinging cells in their tentacles. Contact with the tentacles produces burning pain with a rash and small hemorrhages on the skin. Shock, muscular cramping, nausea, vomiting, and respiratory distress may also occur. Gently remove the clinging tentacles with a towel and wash or treat the area. Use diluted ammonia or alcohol, meat tenderizer, and talcum powder. If symptoms become severe or persist, seek medical aid.
d. Spiny Fish, Urchins, Stingrays, and Cone Shells. These animals inject their venom by puncturing with their spines. General signs and symptoms include swelling, nausea, vomiting, generalized cramps, diarrhea, muscular paralysis, and shock. Deaths are rare. Treatment consists of soaking the wounds in hot water (when available) for 30 to 60 minutes. This inactivates the heat sensitive toxin. In addition, further first aid measures (controlling bleeding, applying a dressing, and so forth) should be carried out as necessary.

CAUTION
Be careful not to scald the casualty with water that is too hot because the pain of the wound will mask the normal reaction to heat.

6-5. Insect Bites/Stings
An insect bite or sting can cause great pain, allergic reaction, inflammation, and infection. If not treated correctly, some bites/stings may cause serious illness or even death. When an allergic reaction is not involved, first aid is a simple process. In any case, medical personnel should examine the casualty at the earliest possible time. It is important to properly identify the spider, bee, or creature that caused the bite/sting, especially in cases of allergic reaction when death is a possibility.
a. Types of Insects. The insects found throughout the world that can produce a bite or sting are too numerous to mention in detail. Commonly encountered stinging or biting insects include brown recluse spiders (Figure 6-9), black widow spiders (Figure 6-10), tarantulas (Figure 6-11), scorpions (Figure 6-12), urticating caterpillars, bees, wasps, centipedes, cone-nose beetles (kissing bugs), ants, and wheel bugs. Upon being reassigned, especially to overseas areas, take the time to become acquainted with the types of insects to avoid.
Figure 6-9 Figure 6-10 Figure 6-11 Figure 6-12
b. Signs/Symptoms. Discussed in paragraphs (1) and (2) below are the most common effects of insect bites/stings. They can occur alone or in combination with the others.
(1) Less serious. Commonly seen signs/symptoms are pain, irritation, swelling, heat, redness, and itching. Hives or wheals (raised areas of the skin that itch) may occur. These are the least severe of the allergic reactions that commonly occur from insect bites/stings. They are usually dangerous only if they affect the air passages (mouth, throat, nose, and so forth), which could interfere with breathing. The bites/stings of bees, wasps, ants, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks are usually not serious and normally produce mild and localized symptoms. A tarantulaís bite is usually no worse than that of a bee sting. Scorpions are rare and their stings (except for a specific species found only in the Southwest desert) are painful but usually not dangerous.
(2) Serious. Emergency allergic or hypersensitive reactions sometimes result from the stings of bees, wasps, and ants. Many people are allergic to the venom of these particular insects. Bites or stings from these insects may produce more serious reactions, to include generalized itching and hives, weakness, anxiety, headache, breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Very serious allergic reactions (called anaphylactic shock) can lead to complete collapse, shock, and even death. Spider bites (particularly from the black widow and brown recluse spiders) can be serious also. Venom from the black widow spider affects the nervous system. This venom can cause muscle cramps, a rigid, non-tender abdomen, breathing difficulties, sweating, nausea and vomiting. The brown recluse spider generally produces local rather than system-wide problems; however, local tissue damage around the bite can be severe and can lead to an ulcer and even gangrene.
c. First Aid. There are certain principles that apply regardless of what caused the bite/sting. Some of these are:
• If there is a stinger present, for example, from a bee, remove the stinger by scraping the skinís surface with a fingernail or knife. DO NOT squeeze the sac attached to the stinger because it may inject more venom.
• Wash the area of the bite/sting with soap and water (alcohol or an antiseptic may also be used) to help reduce the chances of an infection and remove traces of venom.
• Remove jewelry from bitten extremities because swelling is common and may occur.
• In most cases of insect bites the reaction will be mild and localized use ice or cold compresses (if available) on the site of the bite/sting. This will help reduce swelling, ease the pain, and slow the absorption of venom. Meat tenderizer (to neutralize the venom) or calamine lotion (to reduce itching) may be applied locally. If necessary, seek medical aid.
• In more serious reactions (severe and rapid swelling, allergic symptoms, and so forth) treat the bite/sting like you would treat a snakebite; that is, apply constricting bands above and below the site. See paragraph 6-2c(1) above for details and illustration (Figure 6-8) of a constricting band.
*• Be prepared to perform basic lifesaving measures, such as rescue breathing.
• Reassure the casualty and keep him calm. • In serious reactions, attempt to capture the insect for positive identification; however, be careful not to become a casualty yourself.
• If the reaction or symptoms appear serious, seek medical aid immediately.

* CAUTION
Insect bites/stings may cause anaphylactic shock (a shock caused by a severe allergic reaction). This is a life-threatening event and a MEDICAL EMERGENCY! Be prepared to immediately transport the casualty to a medical facility.

NOTE
Be aware that some allergic or hypersensitive individuals may carry identification (such as a MEDIC ALERT tag) or emergency insect bite treatment kits. If the casualty is having an allergic reaction and has such a kit, administer the medication in the kit according to the instructions which accompany the kit.

d. Prevention. Some prevention principles are:
• Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin, such as the ankles to prevent insects from creeping between uniform and boots. Also apply the insect repellent to the shoulder blades where the shirt fits tight enough that mosquitoes bite through. DO NOT apply insect repellent to the eyes.
• Reapply repellent, every 2 hours during strenuous activity and soon after stream crossings.
• Blouse the uniform inside the boots to further reduce risk.
• Wash yourself daily if the tactical situation permits. Pay particular attention to the groin and armpits.
• Use the buddy system. Check each other for insect bites.
• Wash your uniform at least weekly.
e. Supplemental Information. For additional information concerning insect bites, see FM 8-230 and FM 21-10.

6-6. Table
See Table 6-1 for information on bites and stings.
Table 6-1 Table 6-1 (con't)

 

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