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Things you should have in your 1st Aid Kit

Discussion in 'First Aid Station' started by Claren, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    Hey, all.

    These are some things that in my experience as an EMT, are great to have in your boo-boo kit, as well as a kit that may see some more serious trauma. These are also things that most pre-made kits will not have stocked, and are well worth adding.

    ==Kerlix:
    http://www.amazon.com/Kerlix-bandage-rolls-sterile-4-1/dp/B0000ZUGNQ/
    You cannot have too much of this stuff in any kit. Even just a single roll is so useful. For anything but musculoskeletal injuries, Kerlix is a much better dressing than Ace wraps. It's tough and elastic, stays in place with tape, and puts enough pressure on a wound to help with stopped bleeding, yet is light enough to make it pretty darn hard to wrap so tight that you occlude blood flow distal to the wrap. Also, it's sterile in the undamaged packaging, so you don't --need-- gauze; just wrap and go. In case of a GSW, shove a bunch in the hole(s), then wrap over it with more. In case of burns, wrap them with kerlix after you use...

    ==2nd Skin/Water Jel:
    http://www.amazon.com/Spenco-2Nd-Skin-Moist-Inches/dp/B000GGMSI0/
    http://www.amazon.com/Water-jel-Emergency-Burn-Dressing-X/dp/B0015TAUNW/
    Invaluble for 1st and 2nd degree burns (sunburns included). Similar to each other, they're water-based gel pads that you lay on immediately on top of the burn. This gives you a barrier to lay a dressing over, so that your it won't stick to the damaged skin (which, believe you me, can be a really bad scene later on @ the ER).
    I have both in my kit, because the water jel has Lidocaine in it (a topical anesthetic), and the 2nd skin does not. Lidocaine is great for pain relief, but can potentially lead to allergic reactions in sensitive people. It's also not a good idea to use on young kids (the potential for OD/toxicity is higher). Both times that I've used it on friends, i asked beforehand "Have you ever had stitches before?". Since they said yes, I knew they had been exposed to lido (the numbing shot used when suturing) without incident.

    ==Emergency Trauma Dressing
    http://www.narescue.com/4-Emergency-Trauma-Dressing-ETD-P206C225.aspx
    These go by many names (Israeli Dressing/"Izzy", ETD, Cinch-tight, Emergency Bandage) but they all are a similar idea; an integrated sterile gauze, attatched to an Ace-type wrap, with a plastic buckle of some sort that you can use to apply tension to make a compression dressing (or full-blown tourniquet, if you torque it down hard enough).
    These are kind of overkill for most household boo-boo kits, but then again, I think most of us on this site know (live by?) the old saw: "Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it". When someone (or you) is hurt bad, the quicker the wound is dressed, the better. Only one package to open, and that's it; You're good to go. You can even use the package as an occlusive dressing in the case of the infamous 'sucking chest wound'. If you are around firearms with any regularity, you should have at least two of these with you at all times.
    Note: If you buy these, buy several, and use 1 or 2 to get a feel for how to put them on. The buckle isn't necessarily intuitive, and when the Molé is flowing isn't the best time to be figuring it out. :(
    2nd Note: You should NEVER use one of these as a tourniquet without training. New research has shown that the TK isn't the "sacrifice the limb, to save a life" approach that they told us it was in the boy scouts, but unless you know exactly what you are doing, act as though every bad thing you ever heard about them is true.

    ==Blist-o-ban
    http://www.amazon.com/Blist-O-Ban-6-Large-Adhesive-Bandages/dp/B0014RRM8Q/
    Not as cool as some of the other stuff, but likely much more useful on a daily basis. These things are great for, well... foot blisters. They're way better than moleskin, for my money. They are 2 little pieces of plastic, sealed together with low-friction goop between them. One side is adhesive; you stick this to the blister/hotspot, and the shearing forces are transferred to the blist-o-ban (which can handle them much better than your flesh).
    These things are GOLD for impressing the woman/women in your life. If you are around the fairer sex, it's only a matter of time before their shoes give them blisters. Ta-freaking-da! You come to the rescue with your B-o-b and no more bleeding feet. For such a small thing, they go nuts over it :smitten:. It often makes them look @ your whole EDC kick in a whole different way. Imagine that: some of the stuff we lug around might actually be useful...

    Well, those are the big ones. If anyone else has anything to add, go nuts.
     
  2. porkchop

    porkchop Loaded Pockets

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    Duct tape!

    Used it on several occasions to keep other bandages on sweaty appendages when other medical tapes wouldn't work.
     
  3. mrichelo

    mrichelo Loaded Pockets

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    First time I went out west (I'm from the east coast) I spent 10 days in Yellowstone National Park. I was not prepared. :) It was really dry and my nostrils got so dry they hurt. I asked around and NEOSPORIN® was recommended. It worked great and now I always carry a small tube whenever I go outdoors in hot weather. That was one use for it I was unaware of.

    IMO a must for a FAK.

    Mark
     
  4. Mr. kydex

    Mr. kydex Loaded Pockets

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    +1 for duct tape.
     
  5. riprater

    riprater Loaded Pockets

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    sam splint
     
  6. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    Wow. *smacks forehead* Great additions. Dunno how I overlooked them.

    mrichelo: Neosporin is really just white petroleum jelly impregnated w/triple antibiotic. I'd hate for you to get a cut, and not have any cause you stuck it all up your nose. :D Maybe get some plain jelly for your nose, and leave the Neo for your wounds ?

    porkchop + Mr. kydex: +1, again. Duct tape is full of win. 100 MPH tape is even better, and a buddy of mine rants about Gorilla tape like it's the 2nd coming. Dressings don't need to be pretty, they need to stay put where you put them. Good, strong tape helps this happen.

    Riprater: SAM splints are also teh win. Extremely important item to have, and they come in a lot of the medium/large pre-made kits (as well they should). Just remember to put a C - curve in them, or they're completely worthless.

    Keep it coming, guys. :roof:
     
  7. callmekipling

    callmekipling Empty Pockets

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    +2 for duct tape. It's bigger and stickier than most tapes (at the cost of leaving residue.. ya can't have everything) and it's pretty much sweatproof for a few days at a clip.

    Anyway, in the class one of our instructors told us that in lieu of head straps, Philly EMS uses duct tape for cervical immobilization during mass casualty incidents.


    I just found out I passed my own state EMT exam a week ago.. woohoo! Not that it's been done on this thread, but I'd urge people not to waste weight on stuff they don't know how to use. That isn't an admonition to carry less stuff, it's an admonition to learn more! :lolhammer:


    Hey claren, how about an asherman seal/occlusive dressing? Not bulky to carry if you never need it, and hard to fake if you do.
     
  8. medic808

    medic808 Loaded Pockets

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    Gloves? :brickwall:
    Antimicrobial wipes? one of many available
    If you are going to have a splint, you should have some triangular bandages to use as a sling.
    be safe out there...
    Aloha from Hawaii :D
     
  9. Valerian

    Valerian Tea-powered admin

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    FAK advice from actual EMTs, awesome! Have I mentioned lately that I love this forum? Now I'll just have to figure out what equivalents of those products I can buy locally, since I'd rather not try to import medical products... :sigh:

    (Hmm, I have completely overlooked burn dressings. I'll have to get some of those, at least.)
     
  10. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    w00t w00t ! Good going, Kipling. Good luck on the NREMT!

    The ACS is alright; they used to have problems with it not sticking, but I think they've sorted it out by now. A better choice is the Bolin chest seal. 3 valves instead of one, and better adhesive. Insofar as "hard to fake"; the wrapper for the Izzy dressing has been used for years as a field-expedient occlusive dressing. Pretty cool, huh?

    Gloves, obviously, are good. Most folks have gloves in their FAK, though. Nitrile gloves are to be considered, if you may have to give care to strangers; severe latex allergies are more common than you may realize.
    I'm not sure about that type of wipe. We use a similar one in the ER to wipe down beds and stuff that gets splashed with blood/what-not, and they are most certainly NOT for use on people. Anything that kills Hep B, TB, and C-Diff is going to be very harsh; the wipes we use are mostly alcohol based, with some other killers thrown in. Maybe yours have differing chemestry?
    Plus, I'm always hesitant to encourage widespread use of any sort of Anti-bacterial product. AB soaps and lotions in every bathroom/shower are a big part of the reason why we have MRSA (and VISA :yikes: yikes!). In most urban EDC scenarios, simply washing your hands is just as effective. If you want to carry something to clean your hands, Purell-type hand sanitizers are probably more space efficient.
     
  11. Edwood

    Edwood Loaded Pockets

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    Awesome stuff.

    I've just gotten a Maxpedition FR-1 to attach to my Colossus to serve as my EDC 1st Aid kit.

    Found some Kerlix and 2nd Skin at Walgreens. Kerlix is pretty neat. It's so unassuming I've completely ignored it before.

    I carry Nitrile gloves because my wife is allergic to latex, so it will help if others are allergic as well. Plus, they are easy to spot in a bag with their nice bright blue color. (I remember seeing purple gloves used by hospital staff before, are those a type of nitrile as well?)

    Any recommendations for common medications that would be good to have in a 1st Aid kit that most would not think to have?

    I know there is the usual Acetometiphin, Aspirin, IB, etc.

    -Ed
     
  12. Edwood

    Edwood Loaded Pockets

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    You're going to laugh at this one, but I heard this straight from an ENT. Try using KY Jelly or Astroglide lube. It's designed for use with a ... ahem... other muscous membrane, so it does a great job with the mucous membrane in your nasal passage. :D

    I, personally don't like the feel of KY in my nose, but it works really well for others, that don't like the stuffy, greasy feel that Petroleum products give. My personal preference for dry nostrils is Aquaphor. Feels better than plain petroleum jelly.

    -Ed
     
  13. jp2515

    jp2515 Loaded Pockets

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    I have been looking at many different kits (commercial and military) and examining their contents, there are some other items I would like to add.. One items to consider is Israeli Trauma Bandage . Also as others have mentioned, tape, whether it be surgical or duct tape, a burn dressing and antibiotic ointment. Other items to consider: triangle bandage/gauze and antiseptic (povidone iodine solution).
     
  14. mrichelo

    mrichelo Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the info. I did not realize that. A little goes a long way, so if I got wounded and dried out enough to use a whole tube... I'd have other things to worry about. :)

    I didn't realize it was the petroleum jelly in the ointment that did the trick. I just used a tiny bit, and the slight greasiness was way better feeling than the dried out on the verge of bleeding feeling. I'll definitely check out that Aquaphor though. Thanks.

    It is amazing how much one can learn from this forum. Lots of knowledgeable people here.

    +1 for learning about how to stock a FAK from EMTs. Thanks guys. :)

    Mark
     
  15. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    Two points to address:
    Yes, those pretty purple gloves are nitrile. Pretty much all colored gloves are nitrile, and yes, they do pop out @ you in an aid bag. BUT: I hope you are not carrying them loose, in there. If your bag is made out of tacti-cool Cordura (especially the 1000D stuff) it can wear them thin, without you realizing it. My suggestion is to put them, pair by pair, into those little "baggies" that illicit substances usually come in. This shields them from wear and you can just grab a bag in a hurry, knowing you have 2 gloves (not 1 or 3).

    http://www.narescue.com/Black-Talon-Gloves-P1C194.aspx These gloves are the new hotness, especially for trauma. They're graduated thickness, thicker at the fingers to keep from tearing when working with tape (happens ALL the time with normal exam gloves) and everyone loves to look cool in black. ;D

    The Israeli bandage, as mentioned before in the thread, is great. Countycomm would not be my source for them; their shipping is high, and they're not the best overall price, either. This site has them on sale, right now. Botach has them for a good constant price, once that sale is over.

    Triangle bandages/cravats are great for making slings. I can't recommend using iodine in most cases because it's irritating to exposed tissue. If you were in a situation where definitive care was far away/not coming, then it'd be a better idea.
     
  16. Claren

    Claren Loaded Pockets

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    Claren's (highly) unofficial breakdown of OTC/EDC meds:

    Disclamer: I AM NOT YOUR DOCTOR. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. THIS IS SIMPLY MY OWN, ENTIRELY ANECTDOTAL EXPERIENCE. DON'T TAKE ANY MEDICATIONS YOU DO NOT HAVE A RX FOR blah blah blah, keep your arms and head inside the bus.

    The meds I carry in my EDC bag:

    Aspirin (ASA): Moderately good for pain. I only keep it in my personal kit to have someone with cardiac symptoms chew+swallow a couple. Do NOT give aspirin in cases of trauma; it is a blood thinner and will promote lots of bleeding. Not for folks with ulcers.
    An off-label use for ASA is to "treat" the pain of a broken tooth. If you are far from definitive care, and have a broke tooth w/ exposed nerve that you just cannot take any longer, grind up some aspirin and place the powder on the tooth. ASA stands for acetylsalicylic acid ; it will kill the nerve, bringing a sharp end to the pain. And I do mean sharp; it'll hurt like crazy for a bit, then nothing. Note: after this, the tooth will need to be extracted promptly.

    Advil (ibuprofen): Good for musculoskeletal pain. Good for cutting fever. Ok for headaches. Too much will make most peoples' stomach hurt; 600 mg is almost as good as the 800 mg maximum dose, with fewer upset tummies, in my experience. Also not for the ulcer-prone.

    Aleve (naproxen): Pretty much the same as ibuprofen, but has a longer half-life in your body (a good thing). I like it better than ibu. Yet again, bad for ulcers.

    Tylenol (acetaminophen/paracetamol): Good for most "general" pain. Worse than ibuprofen for muscles/joints, better for fever and headaches. Never take more than the 1000 mg max dose; acetaminophen is quite toxic for the liver, and it takes surprisingly little less than the labeled max dose to do bad things. As a result, you shouldn't combine it with other liver stressors: Don't use it for hangovers, or before/with alcohol. Don't combine it with Vicodin/Lortab/Norco (each tablet already has 500 mg of tylenol). As an EMT, the folks whose idea of a party is a handful of "Vitamin V" and some tequila, are my bread and butter every Friday night (and that of the ICU, come Saturday morning).

    Excedrin: Tylenol plus aspirin plus caffeine. Caffeine increases the efficacy of most pain medications; migraine sufferers (myself included) often take a caffeine pill along with whatever other pain meds. My favorite for "general" pain and headaches.

    Benadryl (diphenhydramine): Good for seasonal allergies and acute allergic reactions (bugs, food, etc). Also good for falling asleep; diphenhydramine is the "sleep" ingredient in Tylenol PM (and anything PM, for that matter). Helpful for when you know you need to sleep, but are having a hard time actually doing it. Benadryl should also be given in tandem with an Epipen dose, if the person can swallow.
    An instructor of mine told me about a time he was leading a whitewater trip, and someone was stung by a bee. He used his epipen, and my instructor gave Benadryl. The epi worked immediately, but as they were moving him out of the woods, his airway started re-closing. Everyone was getting very scared (he had used his only pen), when all of a sudden, his symptoms began to subside; the Benadryl had kicked in.

    NoDoz (Caffeine): Good for staying awake. Each pill is 200mg, equivalent to a big mug of strong drip coffee. Bite them in half before swallowing to wake up faster, or take them with food for a smoother, longer lasting effect with fewer jitters. Do not take more than 2 at a time, or you can get really uncomfortable. Also good for helping with constipation. ;D

    Pepto-Bismol caplets (Bismuth subsalicylate): good for nausea, heartburn, the runs, and general "upset tummy" symptoms. Take them with something carbonated and non-caffeinated for maximum effect. Will turn your poop a dark color (mentioned because some people notice, and think they have a GI bleed :yikes:).

    I think those are just about all of them. Mix and match to meet your needs. Oh, and one last thing; most OTC drugs' expiration dates are B$, put there to make you put more money in the pockets of Bayer and Procter&Gamble. Unless they are 6 or 7 years (and that's being safe) out of date, don't re-buy them.
     
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  17. Komitet

    Komitet Empty Pockets

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    This may sound wierd, but that's usually what I sound like.

    My doctor (a field surgeon during Vietnam) says that the best thing he would carry in his pocket was *ahem* feminine hygiene napkins (maxipads). He said to consider this: they're sterile, light and compact, have an adhesive back that will hold it in place under wrap, and was MADE TO ABSORB BLOOD...

    Since he told me that I've always carried a few in my FAKs and Trauma Kits.
     
  18. Edwood

    Edwood Loaded Pockets

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    Any recommendations for a good EDC-able CPR mask, basically something where a novice would be comfortable using on a complete possibly diseased stranger?
     
  19. Edwood

    Edwood Loaded Pockets

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    That's neat. Would be perfect for other messy tasks like working on the car, as I've ripped through more gloves than I can count.

    And they have conveniently individual packaged ones too.
    http://www.narescue.com/product1.aspx?SID=1&Product_ID=211

    What size would you recommend for someone like myself with a hand size from bottom of palm to tip of middle finger = 7 inches?
     
  20. protaganis

    protaganis Loaded Pockets

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    http://zeemedical.com/zeemedical/NewZee/Catalog2005/index.jsp?Page=http%3A//zeemedical.com/zeemedical/NewZee/Catalog2005/Product.jsp%3FSubCategory%3D465%26Family%3D%26Dynamic%3D
    Look on the list for 0797 Urgent QR. (it won't link directly.)
    Best stuff for NON Intrusive wounds - ie: any non torso penetrating wounds. It'll stop a cut on the head from bleeding in a mere few seconds.

    As for Pepto, it works okay as a basic nausea and upset stomach med, but against hellish diarrhea (Montezuma's revenge or Traveler's Diarrhea) NOTHING works better than Imodium A.D. - Three of them will stop up an elephant.
    Pepcid AC or complete - best for heartburn.

    As for sucking chest wounds, a plastic baggy sealed on three sides (creating a valve effect) may not be as fancy, but you can afford to stuff 20 plastic sandwich bags into a kit without costing me much (plus the bags can be stuffed anywhere in my kit, the valves can get clogged / broken if not kept flat and sealed.)

    As for feminine hygiene gear. Put 5-6 Tampons and Pads into your kit. Unscented type. Go camping with a woman once at the wrong time and you'll have the first reason. Second reason - a pad will absorb blood and help to clot the blood from a traumatic wound, tampons absorb and swell when wet, use them for large piercing wounds and bloody noses. Pop one into the nose, trim excess and go.

    Gaffers tape is my recommends for a must have, will stick when the skin has a little blood on it, HELLISH to get it off, but them's the breaks.