View Full Version : Med Kit

The Reaper
07-05-2004, 20:01
Got this off of the Aeromedix website for a pre-made kit.

Pretty extensive, little real trauma, lots of owwies treatment. Needs ABC trauma gear to be complete, and I would add some silver sulfadine for burns.

I like his comments about preferring products with multiple applications.

Not endorsing him or his kit, but it is a basic place to start and it made me think about what I was packing.

Looks like I need to do some shopping/scrounging to add to my kit. Gotta get a Mosquito hemostat with fine nose, Mastisol tape-skin adhesive, Cohesive compression bandage, Tea Tree Oil, and SAM splint.

Hope this makes you relook your list as well.




"Developed by Aeromedix.com founder and emergency room physician Dr. Brent Blue, this is the finest and most versatile first aid kit you can buy.

Do you carry a first aid kit in your airplane or car? One of the things that has always driven me crazy about the commercial first aid kits that you find in drugstores and pilot supply catalogs is that they're filled with crap that is totally useless ... and sometimes even harmful. Over the years, I have assembled my own traveling medical kit for dealing with away-from-home emergencies, based on my long experience as an emergency room doc, frequent traveler, pilot, outdoorsman, and dad. Now you can buy a kit of your own substantially identical to the one I carry when I travel.

Most first aid kits contain too much special-purpose stuff and not enough multi-purpose stuff. When weight and space are at a premium, it's essential to choose medications and other items which can be used to deal with multiple problems. For instance, antibiotic eye drops can be used in the ear, but eardrops cannot be used in the eye.

Read my detailed write-up that explains exactly what I carry in my medical kit, why I selected each item, how it should be used, and why the way it's packaged is so important.
Ordinary first aid kits are packaged in a plastic or metal hinged-lid box that requires the user to dump most or all of the contents out to find a needed item. This makes the kits difficult to use, which in turn causes people to avoid using them in anything but the most dire emergency. If you carry a first aid kit in your car or airplane or boat or backpack, think about when the last time was that you actually opened the kit and made use of the contents. For most people, the answer is "a long time ago" or "never."

Dr. Blue's medical kit is designed to be useful and user-friendly, not a "break glass in case of emergency" affair. It cuts out all the junk and contains a host of useful items, most of which can be used for a multitude of purposes. At $350, it's not cheap, but it includes stuff you are most likely to actually need. I have included the best and most useful items available, packaged in a fashion that makes the kit truly useful. (If you tried to duplicate this kit on your own, you'd spend well over $500.)

What I Carry, and Why

Let me go over the key stuff I carry in my kit, and explain why I selected each item:

Band-Aid-type adhesive bandages
First, let me admit that I am not a big fan of Band-Aid-type strips. They occlude the wound and make it gooey. You know that white, wrinkly skin you find under a Band-Aid? The medical term for that is "maceration," and it not only impedes healing but also promotes infections.

But it's hard to fight all that Johnson & Johnson advertising money. Seriously, adhesive bandage strips are great for bleeding wounds in order to stop the bleeding, but I recommend that the strips be removed after a few hours ... or immediately if they get wet. I prefer the fabric stretchy adhesive strip, particularly for fingertips and knuckles, but the straight ones are great too. Most kits just don't include enough. Mine has a lot.

Band-Aid decorated spots and strips
Okay, these are pretty useless, too, but I have a four-year-old son. Regardless of the situation, a decorated strip or spot can cure a crying attack faster that an ice cream cone, and you can't store ice cream in a first-aid kit (except for the freeze-dried stuff the astronauts have never taken into space).

Rubber gloves
Conventional rubber gloves have their place, but I would not necessarily use them on my family. Paramedics around the country use the blue ones because they do not tear as easily. These blue gloves are so good that I know paramedics who buy their own when their employers are too cheap to provide them. They also can be used to carry water in a survival situation, and as a tourniquet.

SAM splint
Splints do several things. They provide a firm material that can be used on broken arms or legs. The purpose of splinting an injured extremity is threefold: to reduce bleeding, to decrease pain, and to reduce further injury. The splint material I use can be bent easily, can be reused, and does not age quickly. The SAM has detailed usage instructions rolled up with it, but in general the splint should be unrolled, doubled and curved around the extremity. Curving the splint material provides a great deal of rigidity and strength. The splint can be applied to the injured extremity with tape or gauze, or tied on with triangular bandages secured with knots. Upper extremities should also be put in a sling with a triangular bandage after splinting ... the more elevation, the better.

Provoiodine liquid
God, I love provoiodine solution. Basically, Provoiodine sterilizes everything on contact. It is great for cleaning abrasions (it does not sting like regular iodine) and sterilizing wounds. Any situation where a wound has occurred deserved to be wiped off with provoiodine.

I first saw it used (later proven counterproductive) by the Chief of Surgery at my medical school (I am not telling which one). The surgeon mixed the brown solution with peroxide and poured it into the belly of patients who had infections in their abdomen. He called it "brown and bubbly." You should have seen this combo start to bubble out of a belly wound. Looked like Old Faithful or Mount Saint Helens erupting!

Waterless soap
Antibacterial waterless soap is the best for prepping the hands for working with wounds or any other situation for sterilizing the skin.

Hand cleaner/prep pads
These are saturated with benzyl ammonia and packaged in individual tear-open packets. They're non-sticky and do not require rinsing to clean up hands. I find them good for everything from cleaning the relief tube to getting ready for dinner, but they're really great for washing off solid or liquid contaminants on the hands or skin.

Small towels
Several pilot friends recommended towels. They do come in very handy for all sorts of situations, and take minimal space. I use disposable ones.

Earplugs are important. Hearing loss from loud sound is cumulative, and those of us from the rock-crazed 60s already have problems. Headphones are okay for flying, but there are lots of times on the tarmac that earplugs come in handy. They are also good for passengers (especially infants and small kids) who do not have headsets or do not want to wear them. They also work great if you get stuck in a hotel room with a snoring copilot.

Antacid chewable tablets
These tablets can be lifesavers when dietary indiscretions get the best of you. Although the liquid is more effective, the tablets store better and do not spill. Two at a time is the minimum dose, and can be used as frequently as necessary.
Throat lozenges (eucalyptus or menthol)
These help with minor sore throats and coughs. Although they provide symptomatic help only, this medication can really improve a sick person's disposition.

Hydrocortisone cream
Now available over-the-counter without prescription, hydrocortisone cream is the best remedy available for dry skin, irritation, and most scaly rashes. It's particularly good for contact dermatitis such as poison ivy or poison oak. A small amount applied frequently works best -- you do not need to goop it on.

Suntan lotion
The water-based children's type is our favorite, since it doesn't tend to blind you when you start to sweat and it drips into your eyes.

The Reaper
07-05-2004, 20:02
Mosquito Repellent
Citronella-based repellent is the best. It is non-toxic to children, smells okay, and won't melt plastic like DEET (which is also toxic to children). Citronella has one huge advantage in addition: It repels flies and other biting insects besides mosquitoes that DEET does not.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
Ibuprofen is one of the truly great drugs developed since aspirin, and is part of a drug family known as NSAIDs -- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Non-prescription dose is 400 mg (two tablets) every six hours, while the prescription strength is 800 mg (four tablets) every six hours. It is useful for headaches, sunburn, pain, muscle aches, and general soreness. The only downside is that it can cause stomach upset, so it should be taken with food.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
The acetaminophen dose for adults is 1000 mg every four hours for fever and pain. Acetaminophen differs from aspirin and ibuprofen in that it has no anti-inflammatory effect, but is much easier on the stomach.

Aspirin is similar in effect to ibuprofen, and has similar stomach side effects. Dose is two to three 325 mg tablets every four hours for fever, arthritis, headache, or other pain.

Tea Tree Oil
Doug Ritter of Equipped To Survive turned me on to this stuff. It is the best thing I have found for insect bites (stinging ants, bees, mosquitoes, etc.). The thick stuff should be dabbed (not rubbed) on the site on an "as necessary" basis. It also works well for minor burns almost eliminating the pain immediately. Friends have reported to me that it also works well as an anti-fungal to relieve athlete's foot and ringworm.

Non-adhering dressing
If you have to cover a wound, this is probably the stuff you want to use. The Telfa pad supposedly keeps it from sticking, but sometimes you have to soak it off a crusted wound.

Unstarched roll gauze
This unstarched gauze is great for wrapping large wounds. It is not elastic so it will not go on too tight (unintentionally). It conforms to the area it is placed and tends to stay there.

Cohesive compression bandage
Although this stuff looks like an Ace bandage, it is not. The material sticks to itself, is waterproof, and can be reused to some extent. It's great for wrapping wounds, especially over unstarched gauze, and eliminates the need for securing clips or tape. It's important to note that it is elastic, so take care not to wrap it so tight that it impedes circulation. Although it's intended for dressings, it's also perfect for splint applications, creating a makeshift sling, and all sorts other uses. Think of it as the duct tape of first aid kits.

Ace elastic bandages
Ace bandages are for general support of joints and for compression dressings. Support of ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows are the most frequent use, but Ace bandages can also be used with gauze pads and or unstarched gauze rolls for keeping a wound from bleeding. Ace elastic wraps can be dangerous if wrapped too tight, causing a tourniquet effect and cutting off circulation. If used to stop bleeding, an Ace bandage must be loosened periodically (every 30 minutes is fine) until bleeding is controlled, and then reapplied less tightly for gentle pressure. They can be washed, re-rolled, and reused.

Gauze pads
Gauze pads are good for cleaning and dressing wounds, and are better than plain cotton dressings since they do not leave fibers in the wound. They're also great for applying provoiodine, etc.

Tape (zinc and plastic)
Zinc tape is more conforming, but plastic tape does not absorb water. Only experience with use will help you decide which tape is the best for each job. I carry a roll of each in my medical kit.

Mastisol tape-skin adhesive
This stuff is the Crazy Glue of first aid kits. Put this on the skin and tape will stick forever, even in water! Great for steri-strips (see below).

Steri-strips are modern day butterfly bandages. They will aid closing and/or keeping a wound closed (especially when used with Mastisol). However, I have concerns about putting steri-stips into a first aid kit, because wounds are very difficult to keep sterile when closed in the field. It is essential to remember this caveat: Open wounds rarely get infected, and when they do it is usually minor. Closing a wound, however, creates the potential for an abscess and blood poisoning that can create a disaster. The scarring from a wound that is not closed might be greater than one that is closed, but that can be dealt with later by a plastic surgeon. Blood poisoning or abscess formation while camping can be lethal, especially if it occurs in a survival situation or a third-world country. In most cases, it's better to leave the wound open.

General wound care should start with cleaning with soap and lots of water. Painting with provoiodine completes the cleaning. If soap and water are not readily available, irrigating with the provoiodine is best alternative. For a dressing, I am personally fond of using gauze lightly wetted with provoiodine directly on the wound, with a layer of dry gauze on top -- a so-called provoiodine wet-to-dry dressing. A few studies have shown provoiodine to be irritating and destructive to live cells, but my personal experience is that the wet-to-dry dressing works extremely well for sterilizing wounds and preventing infections.

Triangular Bandages
There are good for making slings and tying extremities to splint material for stabilization. They can also be used as a tourniquet as a last resort for uncontrollable bleeding.

Mosquito hemostat with fine nose
These are the surgical equivalent of needle-nose pliers, but made of springy steel alloy and with a self-locking feature. They are great for removing splinters, fishhooks, and a variety of other missions.

Bandage scissors
These are small scissors with one blunt blade, allowing bandages to be cut off without injuring the bandage. (I also carry a Robin Safety Boy Rescue Cutter for heavy-duty jobs like cutting seatbelts and breaking out windows, but it's too big and heavy to include inside the medical kit, and should be stored within easy reach in the event of a crash.)

Diphenolhydramamine 25 mg chewable (Benadryl)
Benadryl is good for allergic reactions, itching, and insomnia. Adult dose is one or two tablets every six hours, or half that for children.

Sterile needles
I carry several hollow bevel-point hypodermic-type needles in my kit. They're the best thing I've found for digging out small splinters and making small incisions. They're not recommended for draining abscesses, since a needle-punctured abscess will reseal and form again. (An abscess should be lanced with a scalpel blade.)

Scalpel blade
This is incredibly sharp, good for large splinters and incising (making a large cut in) an abscess for drainage. Also good for cutting thread. The blade can be clamped in the hemostat.

Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
Dramamine works as well as any other over-the-counter drug for motion sickness (which is not particularly well). The tablets are chewable and the dose is on the packet. (The ReliefBand provides far more predictable and effective relief for most people.)

Zip-Lock bags
These are good for everything from transporting water to ice packs to disposing of used dressing material. They have zillions of uses, and are invaluable.

Safety pins
Used to secure triangular bandages, replacing lost buttons, and a variety of other useful applications.

Folding paper cups
I find them handy.

Cotton-tip applicators (Q-Tips)
These applicators can be used to apply medications, clean the external part of the ear, cleanse wounds, and remove foreign bodies from the eye.

This stuff is used to protect the feet and take pressure off of blisters. Self-adhesive, but best used with Mastisol. To take pressure off a sore area of the foot, cut Moleskin in the shape of a donut with the central hole slightly bigger than the blister or other lesion.

Instant ice
These chemical cold-packs can be used on a contusion, sprain, strain, or other traumatic injury. The cold reduces bleeding and swelling. They will not last long, but will help immediately and are better than nothing while you find some ice. Heat should not be applied for 72 hours.

Eye wash
Use this for washing out contaminants (battery acid, chemicals, dirt, etc.) from the eye. The eye must be held open for this to work.

Electrolyte powder
This is particularly good for fluid replacement for diarrhea, and for treating dehydration due to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Plain water is next best choice. Remember that hot dry climates may precipitate dehydration more suddenly than you might expect. My physiologic rule is that if you are drinking enough to have to urinate every three hours, your tank is full.

Liquid tears
Good lubrication for irritated eyes of any cause. Not for washing out a foreign body or chemical unless nothing else is available. Eye wash or even plain water is better for irrigation of contamination.

Lip balm
Always handy for routine use.

Trash bags
Good for everything from trash to holding ice for ice packs.

Sanitary napkins
Also can be used for holding pressure on bleeding wounds.

Tongue depressors
Can be used as finger splints, looking down the throat, or toys for kids. Can supplement large splints.

Urine/puke bag
The #1 TravelJohn is the best of the products we have tested. The internal polymer absorbent material gels any liquid, making it spill-proof, and neutralizes odor. These cannot be used for water storage or transport because it cannot be recovered from the gel. Can be used for ice or cool packs when placed in a freezer or filled with cold water."

07-05-2004, 21:08
Originally posted by The Reaper
Looks like I need to do some shopping/scrounging to add to my kit. Gotta get a Mosquito hemostat with fine nose,

TR... I will look tomorrow at work in my surplus goodies. I may be able to "help" you in this supply problem. :D

07-06-2004, 17:03
See if this would fit the bill, TR. I found it in my surplus/old put out to pasture instrument box. I included a ruler for scale, you can decide whether it is what you need. I have VERY small curved ones... but they are for me and are kept in my surgical kits. Sorry :)

Let me know...

07-07-2004, 09:08
Great thread, Ive contacted them about some of the packages, and recieved some great deals on them. They have an ACLS package Ive been looking for to add to my kit. They also have BTLS kits at reasonable prices as well. Overall great post and thanks for the wealth of information.

Has anyone used "bloodstopper"? I would like to know how it compares to the others. Thanks