How should I care for a sucking chest wound?

  • To care for a sucking chest wound, cover the wound with a large occlusive dressing. A piece of plastic wrap, or a plastic bag folded several times and placed over the wound, makes an effective occlusive dressing.
  • Tape the dressing in place except for one side or corner, which should remain loose.
  • A taped-down dressing keeps air from entering the wound when the person inhales, and having an open corner allows air to escape when the person exhales.
  • If these materials are not available to use as dressings, use a folded cloth.
  • Take steps to minimize shock. Monitor the person’s breathing.
In addition to the information provided above, you should call 911 to transport the person emergently to the appropriate health care facility. This is a medical emergency. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.