UNITED STATES—Human resilience can power through nearly any obstacle, especially once the adrenaline kicks in. However, the human body has limits, and this hormone will eventually fade away. As soon as that happens, you’ll be subjected to consequences for pushing your body too much. And these consequences could easily be life-threatening without taking proper safety measures.
Adrenaline is a numbing agent at its peak. It would leave your body insensitive to any external force to push you to keep going. While this helps retain your focus, numbing your body leaves you oblivious to the injuries you’ve collected the entire time. Therefore, you and everyone else might only realize you’ve been bleeding profusely for a while now.
What Are Tourniquets?
Tourniquets can be the most valuable device out of your entire first aid kit. Considering how blood loss has the victim knock on death’s door, this tool could better their chances for survival, especially if they’re bleeding profusely. Tourniquets can fulfill a huge role in any responders’ bleeding training since their main purpose is to hinder the victim from severe bleeding.
To do this, all the responder has to do is tie it near the victim’s wound. Since its material is typically elastic, the tourniquet serves to cut off the blood flow there. Hence, stopping the victim from losing more blood while getting prepared for proper medical assistance. Then, keeping the fabric or elastic twisted in place is a metal bar or fulcrum that holds it together so it can constrict the victim’s artery or vein.
Things To Remember
Even with this full article of different devices, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to stop the victim from getting a hemorrhage. Think of it like someone interested in the inner workings of a musical instrument. But once they’re tasked to play a song, they can’t make heads nor tails on where to start without getting off-key.
Something similar can happen when handling these medical devices. Because although their purpose and designs look straightforward, not knowing how to use them can easily turn them pointless. And considering how crucial a tourniquet’s purpose is for one’s life, not knowing how to utilize it properly will be detrimental. Therefore, you need to have the basic knowledge down to a science already to guarantee better results.
- Always Have Spares
Although it’s not used directly on the wound itself, tourniquets are meant to be single-use. Even though there are different types of tourniquets, such as combat application or tactical tourniquets, they’re all designed for one-time use. Because if you want it to retain its constriction around the victim’s limb, repeated usage will continue to wear it down. Once that happens, it’ll be too loose beyond usefulness.
Because of that, make sure to keep spare tourniquets in your kit. And you don’t need to reuse the old tourniquet anymore and force it to work. Because instead of simply slowing down your blood flow, you’re likely to leave permanent damage on the patient’s blood vessels, nerves, and muscles, especially if you leave it longer than two hours.
Furthermore, this applies to situations where you’re practicing how to use a tourniquet properly. Be diligent in setting aside tourniquets for training and real-life situations. This way, you won’t experience any shortage when you’re face to face with a victim bleeding out.
- Only For Limbs
Although tourniquets are designed to hinder excessive blood flow, this doesn’t apply to the victim’s body as a whole. Tourniquets utilize pressure to squeeze your blood vessels or veins, cutting off circulation. Therefore, if the victim has a laceration somewhere on their head, using a tourniquet on them would be ineffective, not to mention extremely dangerous.
In comparison, using tourniquets on the victim’s limbs is much more helpful. Because instead of wrapping it around the victim’s neck to ‘stop their head injury from bleeding,’ the only thing you’re squeezing in their limbs is their blood circulation and nothing else.
- Positioned Above The Injury
Once you’ve located the wound and applied pressure to control its bleeding, you need to determine where to position the tourniquet next. And while it makes sense to have it close to the wound, this could only irritate the victim’s wound even further. Place the tourniquet a few inches above the affected area. But to make it easier to remember, always have it closer to your heart. So, if your elbow is injured, tie the tourniquet above the joint.
- Make An Assessment (time and double tourniquets)
Besides locating the injury, assess how severe the damage is. Because as mentioned earlier, if you leave the tourniquet on the patient for too long, it can easily damage their nerves and other crucial parts of their body. The same applies to how strong their blood loss is.
These are already common knowledge among first responders. However, those who aren’t learning to observe their patient first will determine how to approach the injury. In doing so, you can better estimate how long the patient needs the tourniquet on, as well as know whether you need to double the tourniquet for even more constriction.
Despite their simple design, tourniquets fulfill a vital role in medical emergencies. After all, this is applied when someone is undergoing blood loss. Therefore, knowing how to use it properly can easily be considered detrimental to the patient’s health.