Bandages are an essential part of any first-aid kit, but what if you don’t have access to one? What if you’re far away from your home or retreat, or if you’ve been forced to leave your kit behind when bugging out? You’ll have to take a hint from the ancients, who found a common, convenient source of antiseptic bandages waiting in any forest, cave, or even a dark corner of their own homes…
First-Aid with the help of your eight-legged friends
These bandages were, of course, spiderwebs! Yes, those sticky things you run into all the time down in your basement are actually extremely valuable during a survival situation. You see, the humble spiderweb has two key properties that make it perfect for application on most minor wounds.
It is strong, but easy to remove. A ball of webbing stuffed into/around a wound will tend to dry out and harden over time, but can be easily removed with the addition of a little hot water to soften it.
It has a natural antiseptic property that helps keep the wound clean. Spiderwebs are coated with a natural anti bacterial and anti fungal agent in order to preserve the webbing in dark, moist corners. When used to cover a wound, this protective property helps prevent infections from a wide variety of sources. The web itself is considered to be biologically neutral: the body will not become infected from it like it would from most other foreign material.
These properties made them popular with the Ancient Greeks and Romans in particular during their many wars. Although their understanding of infections and bacteria was largely nonexistent, trial-and-error showed the utility of spiderwebs in preventing common infections and helped to reduce casualty rates on the battlefield.
How to make a web bandage for yourself
Any clean spiderweb you can find will do. Although many “folksy” tales call specifically for dusty cobwebs, it’s clean webbing you need. While the dusty webs are surely easier to see and common in any household (which is probably why old wive’s tales use them) a clean one will reduce the chance of contamination from airborne particles. After you’ve found some suitable webbing, follow these steps.
- Remove the spider. You want it to keep on spinning more bandages for you, and they kill mosquitoes, flies, and other disease-bearing insects.
- Pluck out any corpses from the webbing. In an emergency, you don’t want to risk infection from any source, and this will take just a few seconds.
- Ball up the web, then stuff it around the wound. This isn’t just a band-aid that needs to cover the wound and protect from contaminants, you actually want the webbing to touch it and clean it.
- Wrap the wound and webbing in a sterile cloth or other typical bandage, if you have one. In an ideal situation this keeps the wound doubly protected from any contaminants, and ensures that the web will stay in place to do its work. At the very least keep the webbing away from water that might wash it out.
- When the wound is sufficiently healed, remove the web by applying a little hot water. This will make the webbing soft and pliable again since it tends to dry out and harden in a wound. Don’t worry if a few strands are left behind: remember, the webbing is non-infectious.
A few words of warning concerning which webs you should use.
Obviously a spider web is sitting out in nature and can be contaminated long before you find it, particularly in the chaos of a major disaster. You should not rely on spiderwebs found near areas of chemical or radiological contamination such as factories, nuclear plants, or areas coated by fallout or acid rain. If the area you’re in is clear of chemical contamination, you should be fine so long as you choose a clean web.
Also, be cautious when choosing webs to harvest. The last thing you need is to be bitten by a black widow or brown recluse during a survival situation. If you can’t see the spider that made the web, look on for a bit, and come back to it only if you can’t find other safer sources.
Optional natural ingredients to use with spiderweb bandages.
Taking a hint again from the ancient Greeks, you can add other natural cleaning agents to the wound when using spiderwebs in order to maximize the chances of a clean healing. After battle, Greek medics would apply vinegar to irrigate wounds, then put honey (which we’ve already noted is a powerful natural antibiotic) into the wound, then use the spiderweb to keep the honey in the wound. Only after all that was done would they wrap the injury in a sterile cloth bandage and leave it to heal.
Spiders and spiderwebs are typically considered a nuisance in our homes, but a second look shows just how valuable they can be in an emergency. Keep a few of those eight-legged creepy crawlies around: you’ll be glad you did!
Other useful resources:
Pioneer Survival - Lessons We Should All Learn
Alive After The Fall (Advice onto handling crisis situations )
US Water Revolution (Have Plenty of Water when others don't have any!)
Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)
Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )
Backyard Innovator (All Year Round Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)
Liberty Generator (Easy DIY to build your own off-grid free energy device)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )