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Blood Agents – Chemical Warfare Agents

Andrew’s Note:  Today’s discussion on Blood Agents, also known as Cyanogen Agents is from U.S. Army Field Manual FM 4-25.11, First Aid (Approved for Public Release).  If you don’t think there’s any chance you’ll ever encounter a blood agent then think again.  There are a number of commercial and industrial uses for these agents in addition to their use by foreign governments in chemical warfare.  The most frightening use of these agents is by criminal or terrorist groups against an unprepared populace. Cyanogen agents interfere with proper oxygen utilization in the body.  Hydrogen cyanide (AC) and cyanogen chloride (CK) are the primary agents in this group. Protective Measures Your protective mask with a fresh filter gives adequate protection against field concentrations of cyanogen agent vapor. The protective overgarments, as well as the mask, are needed when exposed to liquid AC.  [Andrew’s Note:  Military grade protective masks and garments are available for purchase from many storefront and online merchants] Signs and Symptoms During and immediately after exposure to cyanogen agents (depending on agent concentration and length of exposure), you may experience some or all of the following signs and symptoms: Tearing (lacrimation). Eye, nose, and throat irritation. Sudden stimulation of breathing (unable to hold breath). Nausea. Coughing. Tightness of chest. Headache. Light-headedness (dizziness). Unconsciousness. First Aid (1)  Hydrogen cyanide. During any chemical attack, if you get a sudden stimulation of breath or detect an odor like bitter almonds, PUT ON YOUR MASK IMMEDIATELY. Speed is absolutely essential since this agent acts so rapidly that within a few seconds its effects will make it impossible for service members to put on their mask by themselves. Stop breathing until the mask is on, if at all possible. This may be very difficult since the agent strongly stimulates respiration. (2)  Cyanogen chloride. Put your mask on immediately if you experience any irritation of...

Inhalation Burns

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the final article in our series on Burns, first aid for burns and treatment for burns drawn from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s lesson discussions inhalation  injuries and inhalation burns.   Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  Many of the therapies discussed in this series should only be attempted by a licensed medical professional.  INHALATION BURNS & INHALATION INJURIES a. General Information. More than half of all fire related deaths are caused by smoke inhalation. Eighty percent of those who die in residential fires do so because they have inhaled heated air, smoke, or other toxic gases. The substance inhaled by the patient can burn the respiratory tract causing potentially lethal results. b. Causes. Three causes of inhalation injury are heat inhalation, inhalation of toxic chemicals or smoke, and inhalation of carbon monoxide gas. A thermal burn patient who was in an enclosed space is liable to also have an inhalation injury. c. Severity of Inhalation Burn. These factors determine the severity of an inhalation burn: (1)  Products of combustion (what the products were). (2)  Degree of combustion (how complete the combustion was). (3)  Duration of exposure (how long the patient was exposed). (4)  Whether the person was in an enclosed space. d. Effects on the Body. The effects on the body of inhaled toxic substances include the following. (1)  Internal damage. When noxious fumes are inhaled, mucosa in the lungs swell and break. This results in fluid leaking into the nearby alveolar spaces and damaging the cilia. Mucus builds up and plugs the air passages. This may lead to reduced oxygen exchange and, if left untreated, death. (2)  Cause of death. The usual cause of...

Chemical Burns

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the fourth  in our series on Burns, first aid for burns and treatment for burns drawn from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s lesson discussions chemical injuries and chemical burns.   Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  Many of the therapies discussed in this series should only be attempted by a licensed medical professional. CHEMICAL BURNS & CHEMICAL INJURIES a. General. Chemical burns, as previously mentioned, are caused when the skin comes in contact with a caustic substance, a substance capable of burning, corroding, or destroying living tissue. Such substances include acids, alkalis, white phosphorus, and napalm. The depth of a chemical burn depends on how strong the chemical is and how long the chemical has been in contact with skin. If the chemical contains phosphorus, glowing particles may be seen on the casualty’s skin. Burning will continue as long as the chemical is on the skin. b. Immediate Care. Chemical burns are the only type of burn that requires immediate care of the burn wound. The chemical must be washed from the body surface as soon as possible. c. Phosphorus. Many antipersonnel weapons used in modern warfare contain white phosphorus. Phosphorus ignites on contact with air. Fragments of phosphorus from these weapons may be driven into soft body tissue. Most skin injuries from phosphorus burns, however, are caused by clothing catching on fire. This results in conventional thermal burns. d. Treatment. The goal is to remove all contaminating chemicals from the patient’s body–chemicals on his skin, chemicals embedded in his body, or chemicals in clothes touching his body. Chemicals in contaminated clothing left on the patient will continue to burn him. Follow the procedures and guidelines...

Electrical Burns & Injuries

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the second article in our series on Burns, first aid for burns and treatment for burns drawn from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s lesson discusses electrical burns and lightning burns.   Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  Many of the therapies discussed in this series should only be attempted by a licensed medical professional.  Additionally, there are some discussions about handling electricity in this article…but that should also be done only by professionals. ELECTRICAL BURNS a. General Effects. Electric current passing through the body can cause severe injury to body tissues. How much tissue damage occurs depends on the strength of the electric current passing through the body and the length of time the patient was exposed to the current. Electricity is a fundamental part of our environment. Man-made electricity provides us with conveniences such as air-conditioning and pleasures such as VCRs and television. Electricity in nature gives us the beauty of the aurora borealis and lightning. However, electricity can also be dangerous. When it goes through the body, electricity is converted to heat that burns tissues in its path. High-voltage electrical current can arc, generating so much electricity that it burns a person standing nearby. Current passing through vital body organs can cause respiratory or cardiac arrest with fatal results. b. Determination of the Severity of an Electrical Burn. The severity of a patient’s burns is critical to the order of care he will receive, the type of care, and the order of transport. For an electrical burn patient, an accurate history of the accident should include the following elements. (1)  Voltage and amperage of the current. (2)  Amount of time the patient was exposed...

Severity and Causes of Burns

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the first in a series on Burns, first aid for burns and treatment for burns drawn from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s lesson discussions the severity and causes of burns.   Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  Many of the therapies discussed in this series should only be attempted by a licensed medical professional. SEVERITY AND CAUSES OF BURNS 3-1.  INTRODUCTION a. General Seriousness of Burns. Human beings exist in an environment that contains elements which can be hazardous to our health. Excessive heat, excessive cold, dangerous chemicals, fire, and water are a few of these elements. Whatever causes burns (fire, electricity, etc.,) is of particular concern to us since burns are a major cause of accidental death. Each year more than 2,000,000 million burn accidents cause over 90,000 individuals to be hospitalized. Almost 10,000 people die from burns yearly. Injuries from burns can be painful, require many months of treatment, and involve loss of function. Burns are especially hard on children and the elderly, not only in healing but also in surviving the injury. b. Importance to the Armed Forces. Today’s military uses more fuel than ever before in order to provide ground and air mobility. The extensive presence of this fuel increases the risk of burns to military personnel. During conflict, there is a greater chance of these fuels igniting accidentally and causing burns to those nearby.  Accidents with thermonuclear weaponry can also result in burns. Use of more fuel and the development of thermonuclear weaponry make the possibility of instant, large numbers of burn patients a medical and a logistical problem. Whether you deal with one casualty or a large number of casualties, it...

Food & Water for Cold Weather Operations

Andrew’s Note:  The weather in my neighborhood has reminded me lately that man is at the mercy of nature.  Could you operate in cold weather…would you know to increase your water and caloric intake assure your health?  Today we’re providing a lesson from TC 21-3, the SOLDIER’S HANDBOOK FOR INDIVIDUAL OPERATIONS AND SURVIVAL IN COLD-WEATHER AREAS (Approved For Public Release) on Food & Water for Cold Weather Operations. Rations and Diet 5-1. GENERAL Most of what we eat and drink is used in maintaining our body heat, while only a small portion is used in producing energy for physical work. You must ensure adequate caloric intake in cold-weather operations. About 4,000 calories per day are necessary for personnel performing physically demanding work in the cold. Efficiency may drop rapidly if this level is not maintained. The body loses liquid at a very fast rate in arctic conditions, regardless of how carefully you adjust and ventilate your clothing. The exertion of movement on foot, preparation of bivouac sites and defenses in the snow, etc., take a toll in sweat and loss of moisture in the breath. These liquids must be regularly replaced, preferably by hot drinks, which provide extra calories if they contain sugar. 5-2. RATIONS Rations provide the needed calories to live and fight effectively. When eaten in their entirety, rations contain the right amount of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and vitamins [Andrew’s Note:  this is one time not to be stingy with calories…you need them to keep you warm].  The proper intake of these essential items depends on the entire ration being eaten in properly spaced meals. The lack of concern regarding eating caused by the cold, combined with the difficulties and inconvenience of cooking, may tempt soldiers to miss meals. The principles of sound leadership and discipline in cold weather require that meals be prepared and that the...

Building a Bug Out Bag – Part IX, Personal Health, Fitness & Medical Preparedness

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Building A Full Spectrum Preparedness Bug Out BagIn Building a Bug Out Bag Part I we discussed why building a Bug Out Bag is important and what type of bag to select.  In Part II we discussed the Transportation Items to consider, in Part III it was Water preparedness, in Part IV it was Food preparedness, in Part V we tackled Shelter, Clothing and Protection from the elements, in Part VI we considered Communications options, in Part VII we discussed Security Preparedness and in Part VIII we explored Financial & Identity preparedness for your Bug Out Bag.  Today we’ll discuss Personal Health, Fitness and Medical preparedness and Bug Out Bag elements to consider.  Remember, this is your last ditch, carry on your back, walk away from trouble Bug Out Bag…not what you hope you can get to your bug out location if your car, SUV, or Ford Falcon Coupe/Interceptor makes it. Personal Health, Fitness & Medical: Fitness:  The fitness aspect of Personal Health, Fitness & Medical isn’t something that you can pack in a bag and take with you.  Fitness takes a lot more work than Building a Bug Out Bag…but don’t neglect it.  A good way to establish and maintain fitness is to practice walking with your Bug Out Bag…it’s also a good test of how comfortable your bag is and how capable you are of humping it. Health, Sanitation & Prevention Hand Sanitizer or Soap:  Hand Sanitizer doesn’t last as long as soap but can be used without water and will help you start a fire (be very careful if you do this as it’s very flammable).  If you go with soap, make sure it’s unscented so you don’t attract bugs.  Your soap can be stored in a zip lock baggie. Insect Repellent:  Bug repellent isn’t just...

Spider Bites and Scorpion Stings

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present another lesson from our Military Pedagogy series.  This discussion, from FM 21-76, the U.S. Army Survival Manual [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited] is on identifying and treating (in the absence of available licensed medical care) Spider Bites and Scorpion Stings. Black Widow Spider The black widow spider is identified by a red hourglass on its abdomen.  Only the female bites, and it has a neurotoxic venom.  The initial pain is not severe, but severe local pain rapidly develops.  The pain gradually spreads over the entire body and settles in the abdomen and legs.  Abdominal cramps and progressive nausea, vomiting, and a rash may occur.  Weakness, tremors, sweating, and salivation may occur.  Anaphylactic reactions can occur.  Symptoms begin to regress after several hours and are usually gone in a few days.  Threat for shock.  Be ready to perform CPR.  Clean and dress the bite area to reduce the risk of infection.  An antivenom is available. Funnelweb Spider The funnelweb spider is a large brown or gray spider found in Australia.  The symptoms and the treatment for its bite are as for the black widow spider. Brown Recluse Spider The brown house spider or brown recluse spider is a small, light brown spider identified by a dark brown violin on its back.  There is no pain, or so little pain, that usually a victim is not aware of the bite.  Within a few hours a painful red area with a mottled cyanotic center appears.  Necrosis does not occur in all bites, but usually in 3 to 4 days, a star-shaped, firm area of deep purple discoloration appears at the bite site.  The area turns dark and mummified in a week or two.  The margins separate and the scab falls off, leaving an open ulcer.  Secondary infection and regional swollen lymph glands usually become visible...

Best Emergency Dressing – The Israeli Battle Dressing

Yesterday’s video on the Jackson Family’s First Aid Kit elicited a number of questions.  Most of the questions were about the Israeli Battle Dressing I mentioned as ‘the best’ battlefield dressing or first aid dressing but it really wasn’t shown in the video (it was inside a First Aid Pouch).  I was introduced to Israeli Battle Dressing during pre-deployment first aid training in 2006.  I was impressed with the battle dressing’s simplicity, versatility and effectiveness. The Israeli Battle Dressing or Emergency Dressing can take the place of several items in your first aid kit and is purportedly the most versatile battlefield or first aid dressing in history.  It comes in 4 & 6 inch sizes and is designed with a sterile wound field (the primary dressing) backed by a sterile elastic bandage (which becomes the secondary dressing) similar to an old fashioned Ace bandages.  On the back side of the sterile wound field is a pressure applicator that allows the dressing to apply up to 30 lbs of direct pressure to the wound once it’s applied.  At the end of the long tail is ‘closure bar’ that allows the dressing to secure itself similar. The dressing’s sterility is assured by a vacuum sealed with two layers of plastic to make sure it stays that way.  In addition to covering the wound and applying direct pressure, the Israeli Battle Dressing can be used to form a sling, immobilize an appendage, secure a splint or even be used almost like a tourniquet using the pressure bar to twist and tighten the dressing. Because of the innovative design (primarily the pressure applicator) the dressing can be applied one handed which allows for self-aid as well as buddy aid.  The pressure applicator also allows the wounded person or the buddy to take care of other ‘pressing’ needs and reduces the requirement to apply...

First Aid Kit for the Prepared Home

A subscriber asked for my help putting together a first aid kit for her home. First Aid isn’t my forte but we haven’t identified our First Aid, Medical and Trauma Columnist for Prepography yet so this video will have to tide you over.  I have had military first aid training at the self and buddy-aid level and that’s the background I used to develop my family’s First Aid Kit.  So, here’s a look at the Jackson family’s First Aid Kit…it should give you some ideas towards starting your own.  The video can also be viewed directly here. For close up views of some of the first aid items I’ve stocked my kit with you can check out the Personal Health Section of the Prepography Amazon Store. FacebookPinterestGoogleRedditTwitterTumblrEmailPrintPocketMoreLinkedInLike this:Like...

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