Hesperian Health Guides
Chest Wounds and Broken Ribs
In this chapter:
tender, it is broken. If only one rib is broken and it is not poking in or out of the body, give pain medicine. The person should avoid lifting and hard work for a few weeks. It will heal without any special treatment. Remind the person to take deep breaths every few hours. This hurts, but keeps the lungs working.
A fall or crushing injury can break many ribs at once.
Many broken ribs (flail chest)
- Tape a thick pad, or folded piece of clothing over the broken ribs.
- Lay the person in whatever position best helps them breathe.
- Watch for signs of shock and get help.
Deep chest wounds
A gunshot, stab wound, explosion, or badly broken rib can cause air to leak in and out of the lungs.
- Immediately cover the opening with anything airtight, like a bandage covered in petroleum jelly, a folded plastic bag, or a banana leaf.
- Tape only 3 sides so air can get out but not get in.
- Lay the person in whatever position best helps them breathe. Get help.
This page was updated:05 Feb 2020