Barbed wire fences have been in use since the 1960s. The material is easy to find, convenient to haul and install, and effective in keeping animals within a confined space. However, due to the sharp “barbs” barbed wire fences have probably been responsible for more injuries to horses and cattle than any other human invention.
Although barbed wire is still widely used in fencing, many states now ban their use in areas where they may injure wild or domesticated animals. In fact, the World Wildlife Fund is funding a project in Australia to replace hundreds of miles of barbed wire fences with more animal-friendly barriers. Even though these fences have not been responsible for many human injuries, once in a while people do end up sustaining mild injuries from them. Here’s how you should go about treating a wound caused by a barbed wire fence.
Step 1 - Clean and Disinfect the Wound
Most injuries caused to human beings by barbed wire are not very serious. However, they can range in severity from a mild scrape to a deep puncture. If you found yourself entangled in barbed wire, you may have several injuries to tend to. Regardless of the type of wound, the first step is to clean it. Pour hydrogen peroxide liberally over the wound to remove any foreign elements from the wound. Then clean the area with clean cotton balls soaked in an antiseptic liquid. This will help remove microbes from the wound site. The main concern with barbed wire injuries is the risk of infection.
Step 2 - Bandage the Wound
Apply a layer of antiseptic cream on the wound, and then cover it with a sterile gauze bandage. Use adhesive strips to hold the bandage in place if the wound is large or apply a Band-aid type strip if it is smaller.
Step 3 - Stem the Blood Flow
Most wounds caused by barbed wire fences do not bleed very heavily. In case there is heavy bleeding from the wound, try to stem the blood flow by applying pressure on the wound. If possible, you should also elevate the wounded part above the heart to minimize blood loss. In extreme cases, you may even have to apply a tourniquet to staunch the blood loss. In all cases of heavy bleeding, ensure that the victim receives prompt medical attention as this could be a result of another medical condition such as poor blood clotting capabilities.
Step 4 - Get a Tetanus Shot
If it has been more than 10 years since your last tetanus shot, you need to get one. Irrespective of whether the wound was superficial or deep, or whether the barbed wire fence was rusted or shiny, if the skin was broken, you should get that tetanus shot.