Any med people that carry lightweight med kits?
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Patrick Craddock
(pcraddock) - F
Any med people that carry lightweight med kits? on 01/18/2008 04:29:01 MST Print View

I'm a doctor about to hike the PCT. I feet it'd be pretty dumb of me not to carry a pretty decent kit. I'll bring the standard stuff, some antibiotics, antiseptic, a little sewing thread etc., but I want to pack light. Any good hints out there?

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Any med people that carry lightweight med kits? on 01/18/2008 06:20:45 MST Print View

My goal was to keep my med kit under one ounce, I used to carry a .4oz kit, but i am more comfortable with my 1oz set up.

I carry the basics.

-2x 3"x3" gauze pads
-2x antiseptic towlettes
-6x medium sized bandaids
-2x large adhesive bandages
-5x butterfly wound clouser strips
-2x small packet of triple antibiotic ointment
-1x antihistamine tablet
-5x Ibuprofen tablets
-5x acetaminophen tablets
-1x safety pin

I also carry duct tape, superglue and a needle and thread in my repair kit, which can all be used to close wounds.

For foot care, I carry hydropel and leukotape.

but you are the doctor.. tell me what i am missing

Edited by ryanf on 01/18/2008 06:26:44 MST.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Medical Supplies on 01/18/2008 12:54:58 MST Print View

Closure strips are great (better than trying to sew stitches yourself). The other thing I would add is a little syringe (without the needle) to use as an irrigator. It is my understanding that you should wash out a dirty wound with water (before putting a bandaid on it) as opposed to trying to use an antiseptic (like alcohol, which would tend to aggravate the wound).

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Med Kit... on 01/18/2008 14:04:22 MST Print View

I've been lucky to have a doc that is an outdoors enthusiast because he has always been good about supplying me with prescriptions for my kit. Antibiotics (pills) for infected blisters, heavy duty pain pills for sprains, back problems, broken bones etc. (face it... if you have to carry your pack a few days after these injuries Ibuprophen isn't going to cut it!). Antibiotic eye drops and epipen were recommended but I don't take them... too much bulk and I've never had an allergic reaction so far, so I figure the antihistamine pills are fine. I would definitely add a pair of small tweezers to the list above... good for tick and sliver removal. On shorter trips the kit can obviously be pared down because you won't have to worry about long term suffering.

My doctor told me the same info as Ross about cuts... immediately dump your entire water bottle over the wound and then stop the bleeding and close it with butterfly closures. He said antiseptic treatments will kill tissue as well as germs and this in turn promotes infection.

Perhaps Patrick could enlighten us on this (is it really a good practice?).

Edited by skopeo on 01/18/2008 17:10:23 MST.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
medical kit on 01/18/2008 14:50:56 MST Print View

i go pretty light on medical stuff, at least when the car, town, or road are no more than a coupla days away.

ibuprofen (inflammation, pain)
benadryl (allergic reaction, sleep aid)
tylenol 4 (severe pain)
triple antibiotic (wound care)

i have duct tape and tp for fashioning minor bandaids, and a couple safety pins, duct tape, clothing, sleeping pad, etc. for making large bandages, splints, etc. necessity is the mother of invention. i also carry a razor blade (no knife). can dig splinters our with a sterilized safety pin. cover hot spots with duct tape before they become blisters. perhaps a couple of butterfly strips would be a good, very light item to carry. i kind of just make do with what i have.

from what i know about wounds, definitely work hard to clean via irrigation - you want to get as much foreign material out as possible. if you don't have a little irrigation syringe, cut a little hole in the corner of a ziplock, fill with water and seal, and squeeze to shoot clean water into the wound. do that well, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover with as clean of material as possible.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
cleaning wounds (was medical kit) on 01/18/2008 15:02:20 MST Print View

WFA courses from both WMI and WMS both teach the above advice of cleaning wounds by forceful irrigation with clean water.

I would add that they define clean water as water that is safe to drink, they suggest using a LOT of water (depends on size of the wound but use a liter for "not large" wounds or more if it's a nasty wound) and they define forceful as more force than you get from squeeze bulb syringes or a zip lock bag. If you don't have a good syringe, then by all means improvise but if you intend to plan to be able to do a good job cleaning a wound, pack the real thing ... they are not heavy in the UL sense ... perhaps they are in the SUL sense.

Edited by jcolten on 01/18/2008 15:03:21 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Any med people that carry lightweight med kits? on 01/18/2008 15:33:05 MST Print View

1. Read two articles below
2. ABC kit- triangular bandage, pressure bandage, nitrile gloves (2 pr.), CPR mask, blunt tip scissors, ziplock for biohazard waste
3. Wound/blister kit- Bactroban antibiotic ointment, 10 cc irrigation syringe, athletic tape, sterile gauze, tegaderm, bandaids, tincture of benzoin, alcohol pads
4. Meds
5. Other- tweezers, safety pins
6. Medical forms, safety/evacuation plan

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00039.html
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00022.html

Realize the worst-case scenario can happen to anyone. A friend nearly died of toxic shock syndrome from a foot blister...trailname Sandals.

http://vonhof.typepad.com/fixingyourfeet/2007/07/fixing-your-fee.html#more

Edited by jshann on 01/20/2008 17:09:47 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: cleaning wounds (was medical kit) on 01/18/2008 18:47:28 MST Print View

> WFA courses from both WMI and WMS both teach the above advice of cleaning wounds by forceful irrigation with clean water.
Curiously, I have never done this. I rely on letting the small wound bleed a bit - the amount of blood loss is trivial, and the blood flushes out any nasties. There are very few nasties in the wild in fact.
And none of the many occasions when i have done this have given any problems at all.

> they suggest using a LOT of water (depends on size of the wound but use a liter for "not large" wounds or more if it's a nasty wound)
Of which 99% will flow past the wound and do absolutely nothing useful - apart from looking good to the novice.

cheers

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
i'm no doctor on 01/18/2008 20:35:43 MST Print View

... but from what i know the forceful irrigation is most important with foreign embedded material. if you get a deep cut and get some dirt/gravel/funk/whatever in it, you really want to open the wound and irrigate and get that funk out, to prevent infection and/or the nasty possibility of a doctor having to reopen the wound to clean it out later. when we are talking about "dirty wounds" and cuts requiring stitches, it's a good idea. if it's just a little clean cut, i'm sure letting it bleed a bit and treating it is no worries. but, as they say, i'm no doctor.

Edited by DaveT on 01/18/2008 20:39:49 MST.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: cleaning wounds (was medical kit) on 01/18/2008 21:25:15 MST Print View

Roger,

They weren't talking about treating small clean wounds.

Oh rats, Dave beat me to it.

Edited by jcolten on 01/18/2008 21:26:38 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: cleaning wounds (was medical kit) on 01/19/2008 00:05:58 MST Print View

Hi Jim

> They weren't talking about treating small clean wounds.
I was responding to your comment thus:
> (depends on size of the wound but use a liter for "not large" wounds

I repeat: I have never really bothered washing out a wound with lots of water as described. 99% of the Liter would be wasted.

I have carefully brushed the gravel out with a handkerchief, and encouraged the blood to flow to help clean the wound. This has worked fine. Note that for the first 5 - 10 minutes the patient will not feel anything in the wound - shock kills the nerves for a little while. Just get him to look the other way. :-)

This includes a cut up to 2" wide and right through the skin to the underlying tendons - he slashed his palm open when descending a schist gully and slipped.

It also includes a surface abrasion several inches in diameter over the shin bone but not quite through the skin. Similar problem - went for a slide down a gully on schist.
Both cases healed just fine.

But note: after cleaning the wound was dusted with Bismuth Formic Iodide powder (BFI). This is a surgical dusting powder of great power - but it should be readily available. Then the wound was dressed and the dressing was left untouched for several days.

Works for me. Ymmv
cheers

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
of course... on 01/19/2008 00:47:22 MST Print View

... how could i have ever doubted.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Nasties... on 01/19/2008 02:22:07 MST Print View

>> There are very few nasties in the wild in fact.

Roger - the nasties aren't in the wild they are on your skin! It's one of the reasons you want to flush the area around the cut immediately (large or small) with lots of water. Once staph gets into an open wound you could be in serious trouble very quickly.

I do agree that in most cases, healthy people won't develop a problem but I'm still going to waste the water as I'm not much of a gambler.

Patrick Craddock
(pcraddock) - F
What you should know about wounds. on 01/20/2008 14:46:09 MST Print View

Turns out I'm an ER doctor, so wounds are what I deal with. I originally wrote this as I've always eschewed anything but the makeshift med kit from stuff in my cabinets. Anyway, all besides the point.

Here's some advice on wounds:
1. Make sure your tetanus is up to date before you go out. Tetanus is a spore former and most likely to be contracted with dirty wounds. specifically, rust and dirt. Yes, regular old hiking trail dirt has lots o' tetanus. And odds are you may have some dirt in your wounds. The recs, if you've had a fully vaccination series in the past (and if you're from the US you have), are for a tetanus within 5 years for wounds at high risk (dirty wounds, deep wounds, improperly irrigated wounds), and 10 years for other wounds. So, 5 years.
2. Studies have looked at all of the aforementioned issues and the only thing that has really been shown to help wounds is irrigation, irrigation, irrigation. I don't really know much about the bloodletting approach, but hey, knock yourself out. Wound infection rates are inversely proportional to the volume of irrigation AND THE PRESSURE WITH WHICH IT IS APPLIED. That's key, thus the shouting. a little 3 cc syringe is pretty crappy. You can get pretty decent pressure with 10 cc. In the ED I use a 20 or 50 cc syringe for dirty wounds. Don't drip water into the wound, spray it in. If you are near a sink a faucet opened all the way does a pretty good job. Making a pressure bag with a big ziplock, or spraying through pressure using a hose from your water filtration device can be useful too.
3. You gotta get out foreign bodies. Leaving a rock or gravel or glass etc. in a wound will highly increase your risk of infection. If you need to use tweezers or more irrigation or your finger, then sterilize the best you can and JUST DO IT! swoosh. If you think there is stuff in it, don't close it.
4. If the wound is deep, then get out the gunk, wash it, then wash it again, wrap it, and be hesitant to close it. We will leave dirty dirty wounds open a few days and then perform a appropriately named delayed closure 3 or 4 days later if it doesn't look infected.
5. Don't use alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide, or iodine or whatever on your wounds. It can be helpful to use a little hydrogen peroxide on a really dirty wound if you can't immediately wash it. It also MIGHT be helpful to mix in a small amount of iodine with your irrigation water. Be sure to rinse the iodine water out prior to closure. i say might because studies are inconclusive. Since the water may be out of a bag you've been sucking on for 10 miles, I imagine the iodine technique might be a good idea. Don't use hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, iodine etc after you've washed. These things work by creating an environment that kills bacteria. That being said, they also kill healing tissue.
6. Irrigation is key. Whether you close something with steri strips, stitches, duct tape, superglue, etc., it's never been shown to affect healing. I would hesitate to close any deep wound (like a 2 inch deep thigh wound) where there might be a potential space left underneath. In other words, where the top is closed and there is a big unsutured deep cut that isn't pulled together. That is a big space that bacteria love. Warm, deep, with pools of protein. You should also not close deep punctures (stab wounds and gunshot wounds in the er are not sewn up). Of note, did you know that superglue was originally made by the military as a wound closure for field use in Vietnam? It works pretty well for small wounds.
7; After you've closed something, wash with simple soap and water. I would cover with a antistaph/antistrep antibiotic. Bactroban is a good choice.
8. If you are close to society and get cut, typically wounds can be closed on the body for up to 12 hours. They can be closed on the face for up to 24 hours. If you show up later, they will be washed and then possibly sewn up in 2 or 3 days if there are no signs of infection.
9. Prophylactic antibiotics are not a good idea unless a wound is highly contaminated.
10. If you close a wound and it gets infected, open it up. Let the pus get out, and irrigate it. Staph makes little pockets of pus in a wound that need broken up. Pop those vicodins you carry, open the wound, wash like hell, and try to break up the walls very gently with your washed and alcohol cleaned finger. Don't ignore your big pus filled wound. See a doc fast. And start up some antibiotics! Pus is usually staph. You should have strep coverage too.
11. Wounds you obtain in water are another beast. As are punctures through your shoe. Those are high risk and need antibiotics, but you have to know which ones as they are special situations.As are a lot of other situations.

Anyway, I hope that helps!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: What you should know about wounds. on 01/20/2008 15:52:46 MST Print View

Thanks for the info Patrick!

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
My kit on 01/20/2008 15:57:14 MST Print View

Although it might be light by this sites standards this is what I usually take for a 2 week wilderness canoe trip days from civilization:
Ibuprofen 400 mg #24
Loperamide 2 mg #10
Levofloxacin 500 mg #5
Diphenhydramine 50 mg #10
Abreva
dental floss
Neosporin ointment packets #4
Slivergripper
Safety pins #3
bandaids #4
butterfly closures #3
knuckle adhesive bandage #2
alcohol pads #4
alcohol from fuel bottle (must dilute to 70% conc)
moleskin
small conforming gauze #1
large conforming gauze #1
2x2 sterile dressing #1
3x3 sterile dressing #1
3x3 non-stick dressing #1
3x4 non-stick dressing #1
self adhering elastic bandage #1
duct tape from repair kit
Cravats #2 (I wear one as a bandana)
CalStat hand wash 4 oz from mess kit
Zip-lock bag from mess kit
AquaMira from mess kit

Patrick Craddock
(pcraddock) - F
for Reginald on 01/20/2008 16:34:40 MST Print View

Looking at your kit, I might include the following:
you have one antibiotic, which is Levofloxacin. This is useful for traveler's diarrhea, although Campylobacter is resistant to it (one of the 4 or 5 common bacterial causes of traveler's diarrhea). A good choice for foreign travel. It also will cover UTI's for females, both typical and atypical pneumonia, and is good for foot puncture wounds through a shoe. It is not good for staph. It was okay before Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus came to predominate, but is not good now. i would add some staph coverage. Bactrim is the best (but be careful as it is a sulfa med and people can have bad allergic reactions to it). Clindamycin is a good choice as it covers strep too. Doxycycline is good as well.

I would also consider adding Tinidazole for Giardia if you have a longer trip. The incubation period for giardia is 1-3 weeks so most the time you would get it on return from society. A 2 gram dose has a 95% cure rate for giardia. Metronidazole/Flagyl is an old choice and only 80% effective now and has to be taken for 7 days.


I would also add a steroid cream. Something potent from your doc would be good, but hydrocortisone would be okay.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Wound Irrigation on 01/20/2008 16:51:06 MST Print View

Curved tip syringes are great for cleaning out wounds (esp. deep ones). The curved tip tapers to a smaller point, providing great water pressure. You can always cut the tip to reduce the pressure and increase the flow, if need be.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Nasties... on 01/20/2008 21:36:57 MST Print View

Hi Mike

> Roger - the nasties aren't in the wild they are on your skin!
I am sorry to have to disagree - and strongly too.
The bugs on your skin are part of you. They will not do you any harm at all. (Assuming no faecal matter etc.) Humans (and our precedents) have been living with them for ... many hundreds of thousands of years.
Remove them with an antibiotic wipe and you risk getting far worse bugs which will cause you harm.

Do you know where the biggest source - in fact far and away THE biggest source, of staph infections is (especially MRSA) ? Hospitals. Too many miss-applied antibiotics floating around breeding resistance, too many people walking around from patient to patient carrying bugs (these people are called nurses and doctors), and too many sick people.

Sure, irrigate the wound if you have the water. But don't panic if you can't.

cheers

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Endemic Bacteria on 01/20/2008 23:19:24 MST Print View

"The bugs on your skin are part of you."
---Yes, staph has been shown to colonize ~30-50% of humans.

"They will not do you any harm at all."
---Normally this is true but given the proper environment (wet/warm), bacteria can reproduce rapidly. Combine that with a foot wound (or even a crack in the skin) and a weak immune system response = infection.

"THE biggest source, of staph infections is (especially MRSA) ? Hospitals."
---For MRSA, yes. "Regular" staph is much more common elsewhere (air, dust, sewage, water, milk, food or on food equipment, surfaces, humans, animals).

"Remove them with an antibiotic wipe and you risk getting far worse bugs which will cause you harm."
---It is true that an antibiotic treatment may kill off beneficial microbes and disturb the balance. That being said, the balance is likely already disturbed somewhat. Use judiciously.

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 01/20/2008 23:33:56 MST.