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How to Dress a Simple Wound in the Woods

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What happens if you hurt yourself in the outdoors? A lot of first aid is incredibly simple and requires only basic gear. Here, Wes Siler shows you how to address a simple flesh wound; whether it’s a cut, a scrape, or a three-inch-deep hole in your knee, this method remains the same. (Editor’s note: Siler is not a medical professional. Please consult your doctor about any serious injuries.)

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Video Transcript

WES SILER: If there's any skill that I think I have the most experience with, it is first aid. And that's because I'm incredibly accident prone. Big injuries, small injuries, you name it, I've done it to myself, and I've done it in the wild and had to fix it.

I'm going to show you how to fix probably the easiest first day probably you'll ever going to encounter, and it's a simple cut. I have my wn crash test dummy. Don't do this at home. Cuts like this are incredibly common. You're going to have to deal with this at some point. It's really simple. Here's how


So the first step is to wash the injury with some clean water. Just gets any foreign objects out of there. Water bottle is totally fine. I don't really carry a full first aid kit in the outdoors. I typically just carry a little bit of duct tape, a bandage or two, some Neosporin. So step 2 is just to go ahead and stick some antibacterial ointment on that. That just prevents any sort of infection.

Now you want to apply a non-stick bandage to cover the wound. And then, instead of a Band-Aid, I just use duct tape because it just stays on better. You know, if you're throwing on clothing layers, if you're way in the back country, this neeads to stay on for a few days. It's just going to be easier to use.

So fully cover the wound with the bandage. If you don't have a bandage, it's totally fine. I don't always carry them. Tear up a t-shirt and use whatever. And then just wrap it on there with some duct tape. And that's pretty much good to go.

I'm going to pull that off every 24 hours or so, rinse it again, reapply the antibacterial ointment, reapply the duct tape. Do it until your wounds healed. I've healed wounds that are like 3 or 4 inches deep with the same method, clean them out every day, antibacterial ointment, bandage, duct tape, bam, done.

First Aid