A sling is a device used to support and keep still (immobilize) an injured part of the body.
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. Loosen the splint and bandage if:
Injuries to nerves or blood vessels often occur with an arm injury. The health care provider should check circulation, movement, and feeling in the injured area often.
The purpose of a splint is to prevent movement of 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 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 advice.
HOW TO MAKE A SLING
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
Klimke A, Furin M. Prehospital immobilization. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2013:chap 46.
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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