I've always wondered what I could use In case I ran out of bandages. So, it made me wonder, what exactly could I use to complement bandages.
Note - The answers should be household items and not stuffs that should be bought.
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At a pinch, for small cuts and bruises, consider making a make-shift plaster with a small piece of tissue paper held down with sticky tape (any kind).
If you don't want the tape to stick to your skin, wrap the tissue paper all the way around (say) the finger, and wind the tape around the tissue paper. The tail end of the tape should be stuck onto the head end.
Any clean cloth will do. Best is washed at 90C or boiled. If in doubt iron it at high temperature.
Tear into suitably sized strips. Use just like ordinary bandages. To fix it you can use duct tape or some other similar robust tape.
I have been known to use cotton balls. Matter of fact, many hospitals / emergency rooms use these after they stick your arm after doing a blood draw.
Just take the cotton ball and use with tape. This works very well and it's extremely cheap. A great benefit is that many households already contain both items anyway - so it's also convenient.
You can help clean it by either soaking in rubbing alcohol or boiling in a pot of water if you chose to do so. I don't personally think this is necessary but if you, make sure you squeeze out the excess liquid (and rubbing alcohol evaporates very quickly - even if it's damp placing on the wound, it shouldn't be for long).
Depending on the size of the cut and severity, you can use super-glue and salt or baking powder.
This does burn when using salt, but will close a wound fast. I had this used on a gash on the back of my hand when out in the field by a former combat medic.
T-shirt and duct tape.
I have used this method several times while backpacking or camping. The adhesive on the duct tape hold much better than most bandage adhesive. Ideally, the t-shirt should be as sterile as possible, but if this isn’t possible, at least try to use a clean one. Cut or rip the shirt into whatever size you need it to be, and fold it over several times to make in as thick as necessary to absorb the blood. Place the folded t-shirt on top of the wound, and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. You can add additional t-shirt layers on top of the first one if necessary, but do not remove the first one because it will be helping the wound clot. Once the bleeding has stopped, use the duct tape to secure the t-shirt dressing.
I use a piece of masking tape with a little piece of paper on the inside, to prevent it from sticking to the wound (or a little piece of the same tape, reversed).
Cyanoacrylate adhesive aka Crazy Glue. Believe it or not Doctors sometimes use this to seal cuts. It works best if the skin is wet. If your skin is cracked from cold you can seal the cracks with it. As it heals below the hardened glue it pushes toward the skin surface and eventually detaches itself leaving no scarring. Incredible but true. It has the advantage of being waterproof when cured.
For more significant injuries, where you might be looking for a trauma pad or large gauze pads.
Feminine hygiene pads make great trauma pads. The are individually wrapped and cleaner than anything else you might find. Open the package, apply to the area that is bleeding, use pressure as needed.
Keep a couple in your emergency pack, they can be used for either intended or repropse usage. They can also serve as emergency fire starting materials.