How many of you have a first aid kit in your truck or boat? Most of you are probably saying, “I don’t.”
With the exception of a military surplus kit, I didn’t have one either. But that changed some time ago, and a first aid kit is a smart thing to have handy at all times.
First aid kits can be made at home or purchased in many sizes.
Depending on what your outdoor adventure will be will determine the size of your kit.
Activities involving boats, trucks, and recreational campers (those not backpacking to their site) will be able to keep a larger kit on hand.
Hunters, anglers and hikers may need to carry a smaller kit due to space restrictions. Consider getting a larger kit to keep in the truck.
From my truck, I’ll pull sealable plastic bags and small containers with the basics for what I may need for that particular trip.
Kits should also be personalized for the person using them. Diabetics will obviously keep their insulin kits as a part of the main kit. Those allergic to bee stings or other things will keep Benadryl or an antihistamine in their kit.
There are some basic items that should be included in any first aid kit. These include the following:
Small scissors, tweezers, a small flashlight and batteries, thermometer, a few safety pins, and several tongue depressors to use as finger splits.
A SPACE® Brand EMERGENCY BLANKET is a wise addition because shock can make some survivable injuries much more serious. The blanket can be used to keep the victim warm and sheltered. It can also be made into an emergency lifter to help transport an accident victim.
Keep BAND‑AIDS of various sizes in your kit as well. This includes a few gauze eye patches. A scratched eye from a swinging tree branch or foreign particles getting in the eye can be very painful. Immediately flushing and covering the injured eye will bring relief.
Butterfly suture type bandages will quickly close cuts. One roll of 4″ wide sterile gauze is good for wrapping. Carry a roll of 2″ wide adhesive tape. Keep it enclosed in a container to keep it clean and prevent it from drying out. You can also use New Skin to seal up cuts, but let it fully dry before moving on.
Elastic bandages (athletic bandage) for sprains and general wrapping or bandaging will come in handy too.
Last, but not least, find moleskin for blisters. Blistered feet may sound trivial, but they can ruin a trip for everyone.
A list of basic medicines to keep in your kit include:
Eye drops or eyewash to flush eyes, antiseptic wipes to clean wounds and prevent infection, and antibacterial ointments such as Neosporin, Bacitracin or Hydrocortisone cream. Iodine is an old standby that can also be used to purify water or clean wounds.
These are very important items of a first‑aid kit. Preventing the onset of infection is critical in the outdoors environment. Be sure to carry anti‑inflammatory remedies for muscle and joint soreness. The addition of anti‑diarrhea medication speaks for itself.
Anti-itch creams will help relieve surface pain and itching associated with insect bites, contact dermatitis (poison ivy, rashes), etc. Antihistamines reduce swelling in mucous membranes and soft tissues. These are effective for hay fever allergic reactions.
Bee sting kit ‑‑ Anaphylactic shock is an allergic reaction that can kill people. If anyone in your party is known to be allergic to bee, wasp, hornet, etc. stings, make sure they have the proper medicines from their doctor and use them if the victim is experiencing difficulty breathing.
Snake bite kit ‑‑ Current medical opinion discourages radical first‑aid measures for snakebites beyond simple suction and a slightly tight ligature above the bite. Don’t try and cut out the venom, but do try to identify the snake safely and get to a hospital immediately.
Special and prescription medications – Be sure to keep your meds current and bring a few extra along in case you end up staying longer than planned.
FIRST AID’S GOLDEN RULES…
- “First, do no harm.”
- Read the first aid manual and then re‑read it again.
- Have your kit with you at all times.
- Know what’s in it, where it is, and how to use it.
FIRST‑AID BASICS ‑‑ Know How To:
- Stop bleeding (pressure and bandage).
- Prevent shock (keep victim warm, still and comfortable).
- Prevent infections (clean and apply antiseptic to wound).
- Bandage wounds and tape (athletic bandage) sprains.
NOTE: This article is a collection of information and suggestions garnered from personal outdoor experience. It is in no way to be construed as the only measures in reacting to a medical situation. It is intended only as a defensive and preparatory posture of ideas and suggestions. ALWAYS rely on professional medical advice.