You Cut a Finger Making Dinner in Camp

Mar 11, 2010
Outside Magazine
Adventure Medicine


A deep gash may require stitches. But how urgently?
DEAL WITH IT: You might be tempted to close it with superglue. Don't. If bacteria got in there, that will just accelerate infection. But if you can't get to a doc immediately, don't panic: After 12 hours, they won't suture it for a few days anyway. Wilderness doc Paul Auerbach, author of Medicine for the Outdoors ($23; Lyons Press), says you should apply pressure to stop the bleeding, irrigate the cut really well with soap and water, disinfect with Betadine diluted with sterilized water, rinse, apply Neo­sporin, and cover with a clean bandage. Cut tendon? If you can keep it clean, don't call the heli. That can be fixed weeks later.
AVOID IT: Slow down. Use a cutting board.

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