Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reply: Tampons for wounds?

Anonymous recon said...
 I´ve heard conflicting theories about the tampon for wounds, and have no real world experience so take what I´m saying with a grain of salt; but I´ve heard that the traditional idea of stuffing a tampon directly into the wound can cause more harm than good because it soaks up blood, blood that may not necessarily be otherwise leaving your body. but I´m not an emt and have zero training in first aid, so I dont know for sure. but it sounds like it makes sense.
I do a fair amount of research before writing these posts, commenting and making suggestions.
Based on what I’ve read and of course, this is in no way medical advice of any kind:
Yes, as you can expect, a chunk of cotton on a wound that includes clotting blood is generally a bad idea. The blood will clot and the cotton will stick all over the wound.
Still, the tampon does have a place when there’s intense bleeding and the alternatives are either dying then and there, or living and later have to deal with the problem of cotton inside a wound. If the wound bleeding can be controlled with direct pressure, then there´s no need to use a tampon or even clotting agents, but is someone is losing blood fast and it cant be controlled, then using a tampon to stop the bleeding makes more sense.


Mike Messina of flsgear.com said...

I'm surprised that my previous comment apparently generated enough interest to warrant a response. I wanted to clarify and said specifically 'wound packing' for a reason. Obviously dressings should be changed. But in the case of a GSW, you typically are going to pack the wound with gauze before dressing it. The pressure dressing goes over top.

The use of tampons for this purpose is documented and anecdotal:

Sources: http://www.snopes.com/military/tampon.asp



Again, this should be treated as a wound packing article and should still follow the same rules as gauze for replacement, changing, etc.

My personal kit has gauze, trauma bandages, a full trauma kit, and hemostatic agents. The tampons are mostly there as a firestarter with secondary utility in a pinch.


Matt said...

I've had a couple of doctors with expereince treating traume in 3rd world countries recommend sanitary knapkins for my trauma kit. Specifically the thick overnight kind. Sanitary Knapkins have a thin liner that will keep the cotton from sticking in the wound and can cover a pretty good size wound. Their first recommendation is for an Israelie Battle Dressing, second the old U.S. Battle Dressing or anything similar on the commercial market. Being third worlders they understand that often money is rare and often adequate kits will not be supplied.