Our friend Fred Woodbridge (@fwoodbridge) inquired as to if your Gormogons could recommend a first aid kit.
Before Dr. J. could get cracking, The Czar penned this interoffice memo:
Here is what the Czar does.
He goes to Wal-Mart or Target and purchases the nice, typical first aid kit in the water-tight white box with FIRST AID emblazoned on it.
Then he takes it home and throws away all the cheap Chinese bandages, novelty items (smelling salts? Really? And ibuprofen packets?) and keeps the box.
Then he packs it with trauma-oriented gear:
Medical scissors (stainless steel) for cutting bandages and clothing. Stainless steel lets you clean them in the dishwasher if they get used.
A folding knife (stainless) for cutting heavier cloth and even seat belts. The butt can be used to break windows on locked car doors.
Stainless steel tweezers
Latex gloves in your size
Both white waterproof tape and Coban-type for compression bandages.
3″ x 5″ bandages
A variety of band-aids of different sizes, from small (kid fingers) to large adult sizes to big honkers for burns and scrapes. Try to get 6 of each.
Zip-loc bags, quart size. These are essential for irrigation (fill with water, poke a hole, and squeeze to flush wounds to clear out dirt, grime, and sand.
They can also be used (seriously) to collect teeth, severed finger tips, or other leave-behinds so the surgical hospital can reattach.
Chemical packets that produce cold when cracked.
3″ x 3″ sterile gauze pads
4″ x 4″ sterile gauze pads
Aquaphor or stronger antibiotics.
Then, the Czar suggests you pack one of these for each vehicle.
Then, replace most of this each year: antibiotics typically fail first due to temperature extremes. Bandages decompose subtly after 18 months. Latex gloves degrade as well. Basically, the stainless steel gear and the plastic bags are all one keeps for years. It is essential that you rotate this stock out in every vehicle.
Home first aid kits should be much more extensive and have a larger variety of bandage sizes, cold and flu stuff, burn kits, etc.
We keep one in the kitchen (near the door to the exterior for fast access) and the second floor.
The Czar recommends a smaller subset for hiking and travel.
We have a small waterproof kit that fits in a backpack and contains basically the same stuff as the vehicle kit, but in fewer quantities.
Do not confuse first aid kits with personal survival kits [ed. PSK’s].
That is a larger subject, but keep one in your disaster-go-to-place at home as well as the trunk of the car. Your car kit should be different from your home kit for obvious reasons. Do not mix PSKs with first aid kits: they serve two different functions and you want to keep them separate. No matter what you elect to keep in a PSK, never ever include anything that you do not know how to use in the dark with one hand.
The Czar covered the bulk of it. I do, however feel some things should be added to the first aid kit. They add bulk, and weight, but if it is for the home or the car, it should be fine. A hiking grade kit should be lighter.
Dr. J. recommends the following over the counter medications:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Sterile saline in bottles – Dr. J. likes to irrigate with something sterile rather than something clean.
- Bacitracin (triple-antibiotic) ointment
- Antiseptic spray
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Aspirin (at least 325 milligrams, preferably chewable)
- Glucose (for hypoglycemic attacks)
- Pepto Bismol, if you think ‘Puter will be requiring use of your First Aid Kit
He would also recommend the addition of the following hardware:
- Sterile low gauge (thick) needles – to puncture holes in above saline bottle.
- CPR mouthpiece (if CPR certified, which you should be).
- Waterproof matches and a candle