Tampons. They’re simple, they’re everywhere, and there are about twenty different ways they can save your life. Despite being marketed solely as a way to absorb menstrual fluid, these neat devices have a lot of uses that you don’t see every day. For example: tampons provide a great solution to a bloody nose. Just stuff one in your nostril and wait a few minutes and you’ll be right as rain!
And their use as bandages isn’t just limited to bloody noses. Tampons are often used in emergency situations to staunch blood flow, and even plug bullet wounds! From the military to your local emergency services department, tampons are used to save lives. In fact, the absorbent cellucotton material that would later become Kotex’s selling point originated in World War I, where it was sold by Kimberly Clark as bandages for Allied Soldiers. Today’s tampons may be marketed differently, but they’re still cheap, sterile wads of highly absorbent cotton packaged in waterproof casing. For a medical worker treating injuries in the field, what’s not to love?
But combat isn’t the only situation where tampons come in handy; they can also save your life if you’re stranded in the wilderness. Thanks to their outer layer of cotton, the tampons that we buy in the USA make handy water filters. While the cotton/cellulose mixture that make up the core of the tampon can’t filter out heavy metals or harmful bacteria, it can filter out larger contaminants, turning water that’s silty and brackish into something drinkable. Simply stuff your tampon into the bottom of whatever vessel you’re collecting water with, wait a few hours, and drink!
And once you’ve had your fill of water for the day and want to set up camp, tampons can be torn apart into tiny strips of dry cotton, making excellent kindling for your evening’s fire. Plus they come in their own watertight packaging, making them perfect for travel in damp regions.
Tampons also have a less common use in the form of drug delivery; because it is designed to sit inside the body for long periods of time and absorb liquid easily, it can be a convenient way to provide a delayed release for drugs that need to be administered over time. Although this technique is not commonly implemented in the USA, much of the world has used it for reasons both medical, and… recreational.
Finally, if this isn’t enough to convince you of their versatility, tampons also make excellent toys for pets and kids alike. Why this is true is up for debate, but we’ve heard too many accounts of cats batting tampons across the floor to dismiss it. And really, if your pets can play with them, we’re not sure what other uses you need.
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