Duct Tape in Your First Aid Kit





Introduction: Duct Tape in Your First Aid Kit

About: I am a former English teacher turned Interactive Media Instructor. I like to make, fix, and take apart. Few things are more fun than taking something apart to turn it into something else, or just taking it a...

We all know that Duct tape can be used to repair many things, but did you know that you can use it to repair yourself? Consider putting duct tape in your first air kit the next time you go hiking. Read along and see how duct tape can remedy and prevent a variety of injuries. 

Step 1: Bandage

Duct Tape
Scissors (optional)

You've wounded yourself. You tripped while hiking and skinned your knee or you cut your hand rock climbing. You need a bandage. 

Determine the size of the wound to be covered. Make sure the wound is clean of dirt. If possible use antiseptic. Cut a length of gauze and fold it to the size of the wound. Then tear a piece of duct tape and place the gauze on the sticky side of the duct tape. Place the bandage on the wound with the gauze covering the wounded area.  

Step 2: Splinter Remover

Duct Tape

You have a splinter. You just had to walk barefoot through the soft green grass, and now have a sliver of wood embedded in your foot. Duct tape to the rescue. 

Splinters can be difficult to remove. Especially if they are smaller. Tear a piece of duct tape large enough to cover the area where the splinter is located. Place the duct tape over the splinter, being sure to cover it on all sides. Press the duct tape firmly down. Lift the duct tape away. This should lift the splinter out also. Be sure to clean and bandage the wound.

Step 3: Tick Removal

Duct Tape

You have been found by the insectoid vampire of the forest, the tick. The little blood sucker has a good grip on you, and your fingers cannot pull him free. Let duct tape prove its pulling power.

Tear a strip of duct tape large enough for you to pinch between your fingers. Pinch the duct tape sticky side inward to create a crease. Use the duct tape tweezers to pinch the tick and remove it. Be sure to remove all the tick. If any part remains you run the risk of infection. Also be sure to clean and bandage the wound.

Step 4: Wart Remover

Duct Tape

Maybe you got it from a toad, or even a witch. It doesn't really matter. You have a wart. Duct tape can remove those pesky growths.

It has been shown that placing duct tape on warts is an effective way to remove them. Tear or cut a piece of duct tape large enough to cover the wart. Apply the duct tape to the wart. You should replace the duct tape everyday if you can. You will need to do this for about two months. 

Step 5: Splint

Duct Tape
Straight Sticks
Padding (optional)

You though that limb was stronger, but it didn't hold your weight and now your arm is broken. Duct tape can keep it straight.

If you have the misfortune to break a limb while in the great outdoors duct tape can help. It is important to avoid moving the injured limb. For example if your elbow is broken and bent do not try to straighten the limb. Create a splint that will immobilize the limb. I repeat do not try to straighten the limb unless absolutely necessary. You could sever an artery or nerve moving the bones around.

Find two straight sticks. If you have any padding, shirt, bandanna, etc., wrap it around the arm. Then place both sticks on either side of the arm and wrap the duct tape around both the sticks and the arm. Do not make it too tight. As soon as possible seek the help of a medical professional. 

Step 6: Sling

Duct Tape

Now that you have a broken arm you might want a sling to keep it out of the way.

Start with a piece of duct tape about the length of your forearm. Then place two pieces on from the top edge outward in the shape of a triangle with one side missing. Then tear a piece of duct tape to connect the three loose ends. You should have what looks like a triangle with a line through it. Place another piece of duct tape in the middle of the line of duct tape perpendicular to it. Then flip the tape over and cover the sticky side with more duct tape. You should have a nice strong sling to use now.

Have the injured person hold their arm slightly away from their chest so you can slide the sling between them and the injured arm. You want the point at their elbow. Use duct tape to connect the two corners around the back of their neck. Make sure the fingers are slightly higher than the elbow. 

Step 7: Prevent Frostbite and Blisters

Duct Tape

You have survived a many injuries, but you want to prevent anymore from occurring. Things like frostbite and blisters can really put a cramp in your outdoor hike, especially frostbite what with the body parts literally freezing off. Duct tape will protect you.

To prevent frostbite use the duct tape to cover the exposed body part such as your nose or cheeks.
The picture below shows how this is done. Just tear a small piece to cover the ball of your nose and another to cover the bridge. If you want to cover more just tear and stick.

To prevent blisters tear a piece of duct tape to cover an area where you normally get blisters. 

Step 8: All Better

Now that duct tape has fixed you up be sure to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Remember reading this instructable does not constitute a first aid course. If you plan on being in the great outdoors I would recommend a good first aid class. Also if you are seriously injured seek professional medical attention.

If you want more information about duct tape for medical uses check out these links. I found some good ideas on these sites. 

HMO on a roll

MacGuyver Traveler

The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest

Finalist in the
The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Game Life Contest

      Game Life Contest

    34 Discussions

    You get 5 stars for putting duct tape on your nose! ;-D

    This works, I used it on my daughter when she was young. It really does remove warts, and you don't have to use that nasty Compound W or have it frozen off.

    duct tape works well for preventing blisters. apply it to the skin of your feet when hiking or hands when using tools like shovel or axe. apply at the first hint of a blister and you will save yourself grief later.

    It matches your eyes!

    I'm going to try that next time granny falls and breaks something.

    Nice name. I saw where 3M sells duct tape bandages.

    Cool! I'll key my eyes open for those.

    BTW, electrical tape also makes a very good expedient bandage, in some cases even better than duct tape.

    BTW #2, duct tape is indeed great on blister-prone areas. I used to use it on my heel/Achilles area when my work boots would start to rub. A piece on that area under my sock would totally eliminate the friction.

    it seems it also works as a painless varucia remover--takes about three or so weeks to kill off the virus

    1 reply

    Very well done! Duct tape is a wondrous thing... your duct is even more wondrous - it matches the crayon that nobody uses... I wish I could get duct tape that colour :)... Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    You should never ever use just duct tape to treat a wound.
    The low-oxygen environment created thereby is a breeding ground for tetanus-bacteria(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetanus). I don't know if the added gauze retains enough air to prevent this effectively or if punching some holes in the tape above the gauze would help.
    Maybe a professional finds his way here and can comment on this.
    Even if you are vaccinated there is no reason to make make it any easier for the little buggers.

    1 reply

    Okay thanks for the tip. We never want to give any nasty diseases an advantage.

    Sorry Tesla. You still have your death ray idea right? That might have a chance if it uses duct tape. :-)