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Just when you thought the tampon debate was over, another article (thanks to @outsidemagazine this time) comes out putting hope above science. The author, a freelance expert with a passion for pickleball, uses 4 “survival experts” for her resources. Let’s play FACT or CRAP.
1.) Medical Emergencies- According to the author: Tampons also make great wound dressings… "A lot of backcountry emergency personnel like them because they stop bloodflow in emergencies." While tampons do absorb a lot of blood, this does not stop life threatening blood flow. There are some studies to show that plain packing gauze and pressure will stop bleeding, but simply inserting a tampon won’t do it. INSTEAD- Carry a Tourniquet and hemostatic gauze.
2.) Wound Care- One of the authors sources recommends using a tampon soaked in tannin heavy tea for application to wounds. There are studies to support the use of applying tannins to wounds and partial thickness burns to reduce scarring and decrease infection. Some dressings use tannic acid which is different than the tannins from tea. INSTEAD- flush thoroughly with potable water and apply a clean dressing. For poison ivy/oak carry prednisone.
*Though not lifesaving, and the tampon is only used as an applicator.
3.) The cotton inside a tampon can be used as a fire started, especially if soaked in petroleum jelly. While true, INSTEAD carry a legit firestarter with a longer/higher burn time.
4.) Use the applicator as a straw to access water sources. This one is a stretch here… While unfiltered water can be used in an emergency it may make things worse by giving you a bad case of giardia and really dehydrate you. INSTEAD use a dedicated filter or Lifestraw as safe drinking water should always be part of your plan.
5.) Use tampons to hang in trees as a breadcrumb trail to help find your way back. If you are relying on tampons hanging in trees to find your way back, you are screwed. Plus, how many tampons are you going to carry? INSTEAD use a GPS AND learn how to use a map and compass.