Over the last several months, I have put together a small, yet flexible, medical kit for my pack, which is also my 72-hour kit. A while back I tested my 72-hour kit and wrote about my experiences here.
It took a minor family medical crisis to make me realize my kit was mostly complete when I had to remove a portion of my son’s toenail. I had everything in my medical kit needed to remove the nail, treat the nail bed, and prevent infection. That was when I decided to share the contents of my kit with others.
Testing and Evaluation
My background is one of preparedness. In the military, we made casualty response plans, then tested those plans. We called them “drills.” Now, in my post-military life, I’m CERT-trained, and FEMA IS-22 certified – both deal extensively with emergency response and preparation. This experience lends itself to building a decent medical kit as each time I need to use a first aid kit, I make sure I have that item in my medical kit. I have also added to the kit based on reading and discussions with medical personnel.
Medical Kit Inventory and Reasons for Inclusion
My kit is housed in an old Crayola zipper bag with interior webbing, providing two compartments and a space in the middle. Unzipped, the bag measures 8.5” x 13.5”. The bag is durable and provides for three compartments. When folded and zipped up, it measures 5.5” x 8.5” x 3.5” and fits inside a MOLLE II First Aid Pouch.
Unopened bottled water. Used for cleaning wounds. Replace after each use. If you can clean the wound with soap and water, that’s best. If not, then flush the wound. (Hydrogen peroxide is no longer recommended for disinfecting wounds as it also damages healthy cells needed for healing the injury.)
Burnfree Gel. Burn treatment, including sunburns. It comes in packages containing single-use packets making it easy to store and use.
Neosporin. Disinfects and relieves local pain. I’ve used Neosporin which was several years out of date, and it was still effective – not that I’m recommending this practice, but it’s good stuff.
Visine ½ fl oz. Relieves eye discomfort in the desert.
Super Glue. Used to seal cuts or ripped sutures. Yeah – got this tip from an EMT.
Motrin, Tylenol. Mild pain relievers.
Benadryl. Allergy treatment. Add more potent meds if you have a prescription for them. Consider adding an EpiPen if you may be prone to anaphylaxis.
Chlorine Dioxide Tablets. My wife is allergic to iodine, so I had to use something different. Used to disinfect water. One tablet treats 1 quart of water.
Insect Repellent Patch. Not that we have many flying insects in Arizona, but sometimes we get them.
Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Plus Padding. Used to help feet from long walks.
Blue Latex Gloves. Prevents contamination from body fluids. My family doesn’t have any blood-borne diseases, but gloves are available should I need to treat a stranger or a stranger is treating me.
Braunamid Suture and Needle (3). Ready-to-go sutures for sewing up a deep cut. Available from Amazon or a veterinarian supply store.
Leatherman. Used to grip the suture needle. Also used to remove cholla spines and toenails. Can be used to cut gauze. Many uses.
Feminine Pads and Tampons. These are great at absorbing blood. May be used for the intended purpose but are included in the kit only for their superior blood-absorbing properties.
Cotton Balls and Cotton Swabs. General cleaning of wounds.
2” x 2” Adhesive Bandages. Covering wounds.
Alcohol Pads. Cleaning tools and skin around wounds. May be used inside a wound if you want to really torture your patient.
Roll of Cotton. Used to absorb blood or hold bandages onto a limb.
American Red Cross First Aid Kit. Contains gauze, scissors, tape, antibiotics, pads and bandages. This kit is really small and generally duplicates all the above materials, except it includes small scissors and tape. Alternates include the duct tape and big scissors I already have. Redundant tools are a good thing!
Each time you use the medical kit, you can learn from the experience. What did you need that was not in the kit? What do you use more of than anything else (therefore, you should put more in the kit)?
What supplies are essential for your first aid kit?
A guest post by Varian Wrynn