A well stocked first aid kit can help you get out of an emergency situation. However, not everyone is lucky enough to have a kit available when they need it. That's where unusual first aid products come in. The six items on this list can be surprisingly handy when the unexpected strikes. Make sure you have them on hand.
7 Unusual First Aid Products
- Safety Pins: Chances are you already have a few of these hanging around. Safety pins are useful for holding bandages together to help cover a wound. Sterilize the sharp end and you have the perfect tool for removing splinters. You can even use them to help immobilize an arm while on the trail: pin your sleeve to your torso to reduce movement until you can find a better sling.
- Tampons: Tampons are small, sterile, easy to carry, and extremely absorbent. All of these traits make them perfect for first aid. Their most common first aid use is for addressing nose bleeds. In some situations they can also help plug larger wounds, but be careful: they can be difficult to remove. Only use them for wounds if you are in a life-threatening situation and have no other option available.
- Vaseline: Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is easy to keep on hand. While it won't disinfect a wound, it can help keep contaminants out. Dab it on cuts after cleaning them to keep new contaminants from settling in. You can also put a small dab on a biting tick. The tick will let go in order to breathe, allowing you to remove it easily.
- Super Glue: Super glue shouldn't be first on your list for closing wounds, but in a pinch it's better than nothing. Use it to glue small wounds (2 inches or less) shut. Don't attempt this on wounds that have irregular edges, are on your face, or are particularly deep. Make sure to clean the wound before closing it, and keep an eye on it over the next few days to ensure bleeding doesn't start again.
- Dental Floss: Strong and sterile, unflavored dental floss is a viable alternative to sutures in a life-threatening situation. Dental floss has also successfully been used as a tourniquet, but this is a risky solution that should only be attempted in dire circumstances.
- Towel: The humble towel is a viable (and sometimes more effective) alternative to gauze squares for compressing a wound. Simply wrap a clean towel around the cut and apply pressure.
- Duct Tape: You may know duct tape from its dozens of household uses, but it can be just as handy in first aid situations. Use it to hold down bandages, remove ticks, and even fashion a makeshift sling. Best of all, you probably already have some on hand.