Taking Care of Those You Love in An Emergency

M.D. Creekmore

I've been interested in self-reliance topics for over 25 years. I’m the author of four books that you can find here. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about prepping, homesteading, and self-reliance topics through first-hand experience and now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

20 Responses

  1. JP in MT says:

    Nice article. Good info/reminders.

  2. Zulu 3-6 says:

    Dog bites (any animal bites actually) can be very dangerous as you learned. When I was doing emergency room clinicals as a paramedic student, a veterinarian came in with a single dog bite to the joint of her thumb and hand. She had done basic first aid and then came to the ER.

    The ER doc cleaned out the wound as well as he could, gave her an IM antibiotic, and a scrip for oral antibiotics. The doc wanted the vet to stay in the ER for a few hours under observation as he had a bad feeling about the bite, but the vet felt she was OK and wanted to leave AMA.

    The ER doc told me, “She’ll be back in a few hours.” He then took some time to study up on what might present if she came back. Sure enough, she came back driven by family. Her whole hand was swollen and partway up to her elbow. The ER doc got her on strong IV antibiotics immediately and called in a hand surgeon he had already consulted with just in case. The vet was spiking a very high fever and was in great danger of losing her arm at the least.

    She went straight to surgery and they were able to relieve the pressure and work on the infection from the inside out. I think she spent the better part of a week in the hospital. They managed to save her hand, but weren’t certain how much function she would regain. All from a single dog bite. Luckily the ER doc’s “spidey sense” told him something was wrong and he prepped for the worst – which came.

    I guess the take-away from all of this is don’t mess around with animal bites. If possible, go see professional medical care ASAP. In a SHTF situation, I suppose other steps such as those you have recommended have to be taken.

    Human bites are bad too, but they don’t tend to be as deep as animal bites can be, particularly if the incisors get good penetration. like with the veterinarian. I’ve been bitten by dogs and people as a police officer and I always went to be seen at the ER.

    As far as an anaphylactic reaction is concerned, if you don’t have epinephrine, Benadryl is better than nothing. But if the patient can’t control their own airway, they can’t take Benadryl the normal way. If you have capsules, you can always try putting the Benadryl powder under their tongue and hope for the best. If you have to do an emergency cricothyrotomy, it is worth the try, but without definitive treatment such as epinephrine and O2, you may not have much luck saving a life.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Zulu-you said it! Never mess around with bites

    • Zulu 3-6 ,

      Dog bites (any animal bites actually) can be very dangerous as you learned.

      To which I would add cat scratches. While cats are generally fastidious and constantly licking themselves clean, those feet and claws are in the same litter where there is urine and feces and along with bacterium that are generally bad for us, can also contain the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.
      Many cats can also carry the bacterium called Bartonella henselae that can cause “cat scratch Fever”, starting out as inflammation of the scratch; but, potentially spreading to the lymph nodes and in rare cases causing liver damage

  3. Jesse Mathewson says:

    Denise, a very solid well approached explanation and experience. – personally I have long ago gotten rid of peroxide. Medical science back in 70s or 80s made it clear peroxide does sometimes more harm than good and clean running water *scrubbing when needed* is far better add in salt *just plain salt or honey or sugar* and you can reduce infection potential – otherwise love it!

    I use bleach /derivatives and solids/liquids for cleaning surfaces never flesh- again the overall potential for greater issue is there.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Jesse, and others , interested….re: bleach in wound care… I have heard of this being used and tho i did not have info on strength of solution, Had heard of it being used for grossly infected wounds..things like incisions that could not be closed secondary to infection and no antibiotic available to use.
      ..It. is called Dakins solution… this excerpt came from healthfullydotcom..

      “Dakin’s Solution

      Dakin’s solution is another antibacterial agent that is used in the presence of infection. Unlike Betadine, Dakin’s is not safe to use around the eyes. Some pharmacies stock Dakin’s Solution, but you can make it by mixing 1 or 2 tsp. of liquid bleach to 1 liter of sterile saline solution. The solution should then be further diluted before using for wound care: one part Dakin’s to three or four parts saline or sterile water. Dakin’s solution is also good for dressing changes.”

      I keep perxoide fro wounds that may have trash in them, leaves, dirt, gravel…type wounds…It destroys new tissue, so only use one time on a wound, and to clean trashy things or debride an infected area..would be another use.
      .. I have found the fake out of manuka honey i use to be highly effective. my effective mix has been 6 drops of tea tree oil in 2 oz of local unheated raw honey.. aply liberally to clean wound, change dressing every 8-10 hours until imporvement evident then q 12.

    • Jesse,

      I use bleach /derivatives and solids/liquids for cleaning surfaces never flesh- again the overall potential for greater issue is there.

      I agree and all of my training says that thorough washing with soap and water is very effective. Antibacterial soaps can help as can antibacterial gel or wipes; but, since these contain alcohol they can irritate the skin.
      Hydrogen peroxide can also be effective; but has similar downsides and bleach on the skin would I think be much too harsh.

  4. Zulu 3-6 says:


    Yes, bleach is a corrosive liquid as is hydrogen peroxide to a lesser extent. However, in SHTF situations, doing something is better than doing nothing. I would never use bleach on flesh if modern medical care was available. Peroxide, yes, I would use it if the wound were minor and not really ER worthy, though I would rather use Betadine followed by a Triple A ointment.

  5. mom of three says:

    Check your animals, very well if they get into a fight our cat, got nailed by a possum, I did look her over but because of her long hair, and being scared I did not see the two puncture wounds to her back I saw one to her side that I cleaned out. A week later I could tell something was wrong wih her not feeling well, the chills, not eating very well I started to check her she had an infection took her in the vet, could not do anything it was late in the night we were coming in the next day but becuase he had felt the area guess what the nasty infection in the skin ruptured and oh it stunk to high heaven, poor cat. I cleaned it out took her back the next day they put a tube in after three days, took it out gave her shots for pain but the darn infection came back . I could smell the infection again and she saw me and ran, I was able to get her wrapped her in a towel told hubby, grab babywipes, and we held her down while I pushed on her back like a tube of toothpaste, getting all the yuckys out I did the pushing on her back twice to make sure everything was out an hour later, she was feeling good running around. I kept an eye on it for a week to make sure it did not come back it was over $400.00, just for the visit and tube, shots. I was told never to use peroxide, which I did the first time second time was using plain babywipes. I had a infection in my gum, it was so swollen I used my toothbrush to scrub the area and get all the gunk, out I swished with peroxide, for a few days it came back again I again brushed to reopen it up cleaned it did not use peroxide, this time and it finally healed up after a few days of keeping it brushed and getting the infection out.. Infections are nothing to play around with even cat scratches, I make my kids scrub well, and use triple antiboctics medication for several days.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Oil of Oregano works well applied one drop 3 x a day to gum infection, I drained the abcess well and applied after 3 days reduced to 2x a day for 2 days.. day five, pocket the pus had been in came out and was healed .. has never returned. This one was was resistant to all antibiotics, would take for sinus infection etc… would knock it down and abcess would return… after 3 days off of antibiotics. .. had tried z pack , doxi, septra, keflex.. oil of oregano did it with no help. Silver solution would if someone was not allergic to silver…silver solution should be used sublingually.. held in mouth for 3 min, if possible for best absorbtion gastric juices destroy its primary ability.

  6. Grammyprepper says:

    For those questioning the use of bleach to clean wounds, medical professionals use Dakin’s solution, which is a medical grade bleach. in long term wound treatment. I do not know the concentration off hand. I see no reason why household bleach, properly diluted, could not be used. Just remember, as Denise mentioned, that household bleach degrades over time (as the medical grade likely does too).

    I have a known allergy to yellow jackets. I SHOULD have an epi pen. I am scared to death of getting stung by anything. BUT, I have learned that I am okay with honeybees ‘and hornets, learned the hard way(panic reaction was worse than the sting, LOL). I always have liquid benadryl on hand, it’s not an epi pen but the next best thing. Whenever I get stung, I automatically take 50 mg liquid benadryl. It is absorbed more quickly than tablet form. Just be sure, if you still need medical intervention, that you tell them what you have taken already. It is lucky that Denise had an inhaler to help open DH’s airway during his allergic reaction. While I am fairly confident in my skills to be able to perform an emergency cric, I don’t think I would be able to do one on myself during an anaphylactic reaction. So steroidal inhalers are something I need to look into obtaining.

    Denise, this was a great post. Thanks for sharing your protocols.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Grammy, more great points!

    • Zulu 3-6 says:

      Dakin’s Solution can be obtained commercially in several strength levels, or home brewed (so to speak). However, even full strength Dakin’s Solution is not the same percentage as household bleach straight out of the jug. Household bleach is about 5% or so. Full strength Dakin’s is only 0.5% bleach. Full strength household bleach would not be helpful due to the corrosive nature, particularly on healing flesh.

      See this link for the recipe for making Dakin’s Solution and a link for obtaining commercially prepared Dakin’s Solution.


    • Anonamo Also says:

      The inhailer. He had was albuterol.,( we also have a nebulizer and albuterol available…now and we have an oxygen concentrator) Between his benadryl and he albuterol emergency inhailer, it bought him enough time for the antihistamines to kick in… It has ben several years and he has not had another episode, but was on antihistamines for 2 years…It is important to note: The area he had, that initiated his reaction was tick bite that was TEN DAYS old.. His reaction was manifested there FIRST…The childs dose of allegra- 60 mg is what he uses now…for all bug bites, looks like tick bites and mosquitoes are his worst reactions… but also reacts badly to fire ants, and now to red wasp stings.

      There is also a childs 30 mg Allegra melt a way.. can be used via chewing/mashing, and putting under tongue…for a quick systemic utilization….
      .He does not like them, even tho they are grape flavored.
      The adult dose of allegra in OTC’s is 180 mg… a low level taken during “bite season” is what we are doing now, since antihistamines have side effects on him… putting a powdered bendryl or allegra in a teaspoon of honey and putting under tongue can increase abosrbtion and reduce time to effectiveness. if out in the bood docks and need immediate care.

  7. Livinthedream says:

    There’s no way to know, of course, but this might have been an extreme reaction to a spider bite. All spiders can bite, but not all have the ability to penetrate deeply. And some spider bites are, obviously, more toxic than others. We all know about Brown Recluse & Black Widows, but there is also a small black spider (in the south) known as “jumping spider”, because they literally “jump” in movement. Their venom is strong. And, then, we have small scorpions.

    One thing I like to do is home-can water, particularly distilled water. I run it in my pressure canner as tho it is meat (90 minutes @ 10 lb pressure) in quart jars. Sometimes I do this to test a canner, to make sure it’s working properly. Testing w/water doesn’t cost you lost food, right?!

    The result is sterile water to store for cleaning wounds. I recommend distilled water, as many of the minerals have been removed. I would not add anything to the water. You can do that before using.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Living the dream, Is the jumping spider the one that is black with white spots on its back.? they will crawl across the ceiling and drop down on you in night. I lived in a house that had them a short time… Dad took care of it….after maiking us all leave the house for a day..and a night…
      we have them here,
      when he had the reaction we were driving across country and had been in hot vehicle all day… as we got settled in for night, reaction started and we saw nothing new.. no creepies,no crawlies and no spiders but it began at a tick bite….Heat could have triggered the reaction.? from old bite..

    • Livinthedream,

      The result is sterile water to store for cleaning wounds. I recommend distilled water, as many of the minerals have been removed. I would not add anything to the water. You can do that before using.

      You can do the same thing with normal tap water or in our case water from our R/O system by boiling in a pan or a small amounts very quickly in the microwave oven. While we may think that a SHTF scenario and the microwave oven, are incompatible, if you can produce enough power to run the microwave, the energy efficiency for boiling small amount is better than almost any other method, unless of course you heat with wood and hot water is just part of your cold weather protocol.

  8. This is a good list for anyone to start with; but, I would add that everyone should get as much training as possible. I’ve taken CPR and several levels of first aid numerous times and completed CERT training within the last year, and by asking around and volunteering, each of these courses cost me nothing but my time. If you ask around and get involved with local groups, you might be amazed at what training is available, sometimes with a commitment to help if and when it is required.
    We keep a lot of OTC medications around as well as prescriptions; but, whenever possible we use the store brand for OTC and the generic for prescribed medications.
    I have a sister who uses only Advil and claims that generic Ibuprofen isn’t effective for her, so there can be some exceptions.
    Like the author, I tend toward low hemoglobin; but, in my case it is a chronic condition potentially caused by inflammation which we are working on. In my case taking iron supplements or liver does increase the measured free iron in my bloodstream; but, still leaves me with low hemoglobin, so sometimes consulting a specialist like a hematologist is necessary.
    I’m lucky that I don’t have any diabetic tendencies so I can still eat carbohydrates, as long as I try to keep them balanced with reasonable fat and a variety of proteins.
    I guess what I’m saying here is that other than the occasional accident, some conditions may be helped by getting enough rest, exercise, and eating a healthy diet.
    As for accidents, I recall a maxim of the Pennsylvania Dutch that states wisely: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get” to which we can add the immortal “Haste makes waste.
    In short jobs that could cause an injury, which could be as simple as travelling up and down a staircase, need to have the properly allotted time to them, else slipups and injuries are likely to occur.
    All in all, this entire article has some good information and especially for those not yet prepared in this area, is the beginning of a good checklist.