Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Overview of my Camping Gear-Part 7-First Aid Kit

Okay, I promise, this is the last gear overview post. I just want to briefly point out a few things about my first aid kit. It is listed as item number 6 in Part 1 of my post.

This is a fairly typical first aid kit. It has items designed to deal with minor to moderate injuries. It is not designed with the intent of being able to keep a person alive in the woods for months, or to perform any serious procedures there.

In a box, I carry an assortment of pills. This will vary for each person depending on what needs one has. I make sure to stock pain killers, allergy medication, and Imodium (men’s best friend in the woods).

For minor cuts and injuries, I carry an assortment of band-aids. The ones I have are pre-treated with antibiotics. I got them at a regular pharmacy, and they didn’t cost much more than the regular band-aids. I like that because it is an easy way to prevent an infection. While cleaning a wound will decrease the chances of infection, it will not prevent it, even if done with alcohol. Being able to use a topical antibiotic increases the chances that any infection will be stopped. It is not as good as an oral antibiotic, but in my opinion it is the next best over the counter option.

For more serious cuts and injuries, I carry gauze and gauze wrap. It works fairly well to stop heavier bleeding. I also have a small tube of antibiotic ointment that I can use before bandaging a wound. I know some people love the idea of being able to stitch their own wound in the woods, but that is not recommended. Unless you can sterilize that wound, stitching it together will only make the situation worse.

For the really bad injuries, I carry two Quik Clot sponges. They are an amazing product designed to stop heavy bleeding. They cost anywhere from $10 to $50 depending on the size sponge. The ones you see are the small size.

There isn’t much more I can tell you about first aid, as I am not a doctor. The only recommendation I can make is to have items available for different degrees of injury, so you can use them without hesitation. If all you have is a large roll of gauze, you are not likely to open it for a small cut. The cut may then get infected, causing unnecessary problems. Be prepared for the serious stuff, but also remember that most injuries will be small, but still need to be treated.