A sling is a device used to support and keep still (immobilize) an injured part of the body.
Slings can be used for many different injuries, but are most often used when you have a broken (fractured) or dislocated arm or shoulder.
If an injury needs a splint, apply the splint first and then apply the sling.
Always check the person's skin color and pulse (circulation) after the injured body part has been splinted. If the area becomes cool, turns pale or blue, or if the patient develops numbness or tingling, loosen the splint and bandage.
Injuries to nerves or blood vessels often occur with an arm injury. Your health care provider should check your circulation, movement, and feeling often.
The purpose of a splint is to prevent you from moving the broken or dislocated bone. Splints reduce pain, and help prevent further damage to muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Splinting also reduces the risk of opening a closed injury.
Care for all wounds first before applying a splint or sling. If you can see bone in the injured site, call your local emergency number (such as 911) or local hospital for further advice.
HOW TO MAKE A SLING
You'll need a piece of cloth that is about 5 feet wide at the base and at least 3 feet long on the sides. (If the sling is for a child, you can use a smaller size.)
Do NOT try to realign an injured body part unless the skin looks pale or blue or there is no pulse.
Seek medical help if the person has a dislocation, broken bone, or severe bleeding. Also seek professional medical help if you cannot completely immobilize the injury at the scene by yourself.
Safety is the best way to avoid broken bones caused by falling. Some diseases make bones break more easily, so use caution when helping a person with fragile bones.
Sling - instructions
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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