It was called “duck tape” by the military when it was introduced during World War II because it repelled water. Later it became known as “duct tape” to those in construction using it to hold metal ducts together. Whatever you call it, you might want to move it from your toolbox to your first aid kit because this extra-tough, super-sticky tape can be a big help in a medical emergency.
Cure For Warts?
The best-known medical use of duct tape is as a cure for warts, and it has been proven to be more than an old wives tale. Doctors at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington had a group of patients apply duct tape patches to their warts every day. Warts disappeared in 85 percent of those treated, making the tape more effective than the standard practice of freezing warts with liquid nitrogen.
All you need to do is put duct tape over a wart for six days, then soak the area in water and rub the surface of the wart with a pumice stone or emery board. Repeat the process until the wart is gone. It may take six to eight weeks, but it’s cheaper than a doctor’s visit. How does duct tape cure warts? Warts are caused by a virus, and one theory is that by putting duct tape over them you suffocate the virus. Another possible explanation is that the irritation caused by the tape stimulates the immune system.
For First Aid
When using duct tape for first aid, keep two things in mind. First, while the tape is now available in a rainbow of colors and patterns, this is completely irrelevant to its effectiveness as a first-aid tool. Plain old gray works just as well as tie-dye purple. Second, duct tape is much more adhesive than first-aid tape, which can make removal painful if it is applied directly on a wound or on hair. Think pulling off band-aid times 100.
Your first choice when administering first aid should be regular medical tape, but if you run out, duct tape can be used for bandaging wounds. Tear off the length of tape needed and secure gauze or a clean cloth over the wound. For large wounds, wrap the tape all the way around the body part … arm, leg or torso. Duct tape adheres to itself really well and can hold a wound shut until medical help is available.
Duct tape can also be used to create a make-shift splint. Set the bone, secure it with a straight stick or rod and tape the stick and body part together as tightly as possible without cutting off circulation.
Of course, if you’ve already had your broken arm set by a medical professional, you can always use that tie-dye purple duct tape to decorate the cast.
Another use for duct tape is splinter removal. Many people swear by this removal method. This method is best for more superficial splinters rather than deep ones. Simply break off a piece of tape large enough to cover the area, then pull off the tape in the opposite direction the splinter went in.
Take It Camping To:
- Repair tears in the tent
- Mend a broken pole
- Use it as an emergency firestarter – duct tape is very flammable and is a great tool to get a fire going.
- Fix a leaky water bottle
Do you have any clever ways you use duct tape? The possibilities are endless!
Judy Kneiszel is a freelance writer from De Pere, Wisconsin. She contributes to regional and national magazines and newsletters, writing on a wide variety of topics including food, farming, health, renewable energy, and running a small business.