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What do you carry for First Aid?
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David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Drugs and naughty bits. on 01/31/2013 15:48:18 MST Print View

When I do bring prescription drugs and creams, I love professional samples. It helps that I live with an MD, but when you or a loved one goes to the GP, Dermatologist, etc, they can ask, "my husband/wife/father is a backpacker and would really appreciate the smallest tube of anti-fungal / cortisone / antibiotic / cream you could recommend". The samples are (1) free to them, (2) free to you (they aren't pharmacists, they can't sell it) (3) always the newest stuff (still on patent with a high mark-up), (4) labelled, unlike some plastic straw you've heat-welded shut, and (5) really tiny - 1 to 2 grams of cream.

Even if you're not sleeping with a physician (and before I was), I found I could present a reasonable, small-quanity list to an provider (like from the appendix in "Medicine for Mountaineers" - xerox it, reduce the quantities, and legible cross off the narcotics) and get scripts to take to the drug store. Crossing off the narcotics will immediately elevate you in their mind to someone reasonable, because - good grief! - half the calls that wake me and my wife from bed are some addict claiming, "the dog ate my Oxycontin". Instead, tell them you think for reasons of safety, theft, and international borders, you don't want narcotics but ask them to advise you on the safe upper limits of over-the-counter NSAIDs.

>" I've also learned to pack a couple tampons"

30 years ago, I was driving with three lesbian friends into Boston for a Lily Tomlin show. On MassPike with no stores around, one says, "Ooh!, Does anyone have a tampon?" and another says, "Ahhhhh, no, but I think I need one, too." And I open my glovebox and take out half a dozen. It takes a few minutes for anyone to comment how weird it was that only the guy was prepared, but I pointed out that the emotional angst of 28 days prior made it REALLY easy for me to remember.

Which reminds me: a condom. It makes a handy one-fingered glove to remove an impacted stool. It also is excellent for preventing the original, sexually-transmitted disease - pregnancy (for those trips you might be making with straight women).

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
What do you carry for First Aid? on 01/31/2013 17:23:07 MST Print View

>> Some people don't even put bandaids in their kit, because they know that a wound small enough to be covered by a bandaid probably isn't large enough to kill you. Of course, if the wound gets severely infected, the story changes. <<

I've learned the hard way with both of these... not enough bandaids and a small cut that went bad quickly.

I have started packing a lot of bandaids after a bad encounter with barnacles on a week long trip. Barnacle cuts can become infected really easily so I covered them with bandaids and antibiotic ointment but I ran out of bandaids on the first application (multiple lacerations). I ended up having to cut up duct tape and a gauze pad and make my own bandaids... it worked out OK but when you figure that a bunch of bandaids weigh next to nothing, it was a real hassle to have to improvise.

I also carry antibiotics with me so that I can treat infections caused by cuts and blisters. I once had a small cut on my shin turn bad on a 4 day trip and couldn't believe how fast the infection took hold. On the last day of my trip I could hardly get my shoe on because the infection had caused my foot to swell. If I'd been out any longer I would have been in serious trouble.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: What do you carry for First Aid? on 01/31/2013 18:02:40 MST Print View

>>I ended up having to cut up duct tape and a gauze pad and make my own bandaids... it worked out OK but when you figure that a bunch of bandaids weigh next to nothing, it was a real hassle to have to improvise.<<

I don't know if it was the most researched move on my part, but something maybe to look into if you're using a lot of bandaids.

I dumped bandaids because I really liked the "bandaids" I made with Leukotape and gauze pads, and I believe the zinc oxide adhesive they use on Leukotape should have antiseptic qualities. Actually, I don't even bother with the gauze, but just slap the tape on as my bandaid.

Added bonus, is Leukotape so far has proven more durable for my gear repair than duct tape. So, I stopped carrying duct tape and bandaids. Although, I've yet to try and patch anything holding water or air with it, so I can't really testify to how it might patch somebodies leaking air mattress. I've so far only used it to patch ripped clothing, and to of course tape up hot spots on my feet. As far as the clothing I patched, I have a shirt that has been through the wash several times and the tape is still holding.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: What do you carry for First Aid? on 01/31/2013 20:00:21 MST Print View

> Actually, I don't even bother with the gauze, but just slap the tape on as my bandaid.
Playing around in the workshop with lathe tools and milling cutters, I sometimes knock some part of my hand against an edge. Good tools are sharp! I don't mind the cut, but the blood is a nuisance. Ah well, a length of paper masking tape ...

Cheers

Simon Wurster
(Einstein) - F

Locale: Big Apple
Re: What do you carry for First Aid? on 01/31/2013 21:23:45 MST Print View

My trips these days average 2 days in the northeast, 3 seasons, solo, never more than a stone's throw from civilization. I look at first aid as task-based:

Little boo-boo: Hydrogen peroxide, maybe a band-aid
Big boo-boo: Sterile gauze, maybe hydrogen peroxide, maybe Neosporin
Burn boo-boo: Lanacaine
Poo-poo boo-boo: Immodium AD (generic)
Belly boo-boo: Papaya enzyme
Pain, head: Acetominiphen
Pain, joints/muscle: Ibuprofen
Pain/Nighttime: Tylenol PM

I always carry a tiny spray bottle of HO, so it's my go-to wound disinfectant, has many uses. The Neosporin and Lanacaine are repackaged into an empty contact lens case, then labeled on the caps and the bottom (ask me how I learned that). Other items I always carry:

Cough Drops (used sometimes in the mornings for sore throats)
Mirror (all things eye related)
Magnifying Glass (part of Tic tool with tweezers)
Tic Tool

New for 2013: 2 prescription pain pills, just in case.

Edited by Einstein on 01/31/2013 21:25:28 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Drugs and naughty bits. on 01/31/2013 21:28:18 MST Print View

"Which reminds me: a condom. It makes a handy one-fingered glove to remove an impacted stool."

David, you are one party animal.....

One question, did you get all three legs up there?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Drugs and naughty bits. on 01/31/2013 21:35:20 MST Print View

Douglas....



you're amazing.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Wicked Ideas on 01/31/2013 21:43:36 MST Print View

Papaya enzyme! My people! I carry that. Nice idea with the contact lens case; stealing it.

As for the condom, I feel like bringing more than one is setting myself up for a cold, depressing reality check miles down the trail.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: What do you carry for First Aid? on 01/31/2013 22:37:25 MST Print View

Simon you should switch to a small bottle of Saline instead of Hydrogen peroxide. HO is not tissue friendly.

side benefit saline is multiuse for eye drops and contact solution. And it hurts a hell of a lot less.

"esearchers have found that hydrogen peroxide has little ability to reduce bacteria in wounds and can actually inflame healthy skin cells that surround a cut or a scrape, increasing the amount of time wounds take to heal."

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Re: Re: What do you carry for First Aid? on 02/01/2013 16:08:13 MST Print View

>"I was trekking in Nepal, and I was up around 14,000 feet when I sustained a painful muscle injury in my diaphragm. Fortunately, I had some prescription-strength painkillers, and that got me through the next day or two."

"My wife broke her arm in Nepal, at 16,000 feet and hiked out in 2 days on OTC Ibuprofen. But then, she's tougher than I am."

When my uncle was trekking in Nepal at about 16,000 ft, and he was the MD on the trek, he had a heart attack. After writing a good bye letter to his family, he took some altitude sickness medicine, knowing it might have some useful off-label efficacy. Apparently it did. Although, he was relieved of his backpack for the hike over the 19,000 ft pass, he still had to walk over it and down the other side to get to where they picked him up to airlift him to a hospital in Kathmandu.

In the end, no permanent damage, probably because of the meds . . . knowledge can be a good thing.

Simon Wurster
(Einstein) - F

Locale: Big Apple
Re: Re: Re: What do you carry for First Aid? on 02/01/2013 16:46:09 MST Print View

Yeah, I should have mentioned my benzalkonium chloride hand sanitizer: won't sting eyes when used with contact lenses. This is also may be used directly in cuts and scrapes. H2O2 is in the toiletries kit, but the BC is in my pocket and used more for first aid.

The H2O2 squirts, the BC foams; sometimes the H2O2 is better for cleaning. Old habits die hard...

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: What do you carry for First Aid? on 02/01/2013 16:53:18 MST Print View

My solo kit contains duct tape, safety pin, scalpel blade, Q-tips (ever had an ant in your ear?), and moleskin.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
My girlfriend was not happy with my Leukotape notions on 02/01/2013 23:38:30 MST Print View

As luck or misfortune (depending on your viewpoint) would have it, my girlfriend cut her thumb last night digging into a pile of random utensils. To her displeasure, this seemed like a great time for me test Leukotape on something with a good flow of blood. After taping a little gauze square on her injury, blood came leaking through almost immediately. Although it was really kind of cool to watch, it blew some holes in my notions about how well it might work.

What ended up working really well was the rubbery Active-Flex bandage from Band-Aid. Which I then wrapped in some Leukotape, because I didn't want to admit my first attempt was a complete failure.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Re: What do you carry for First Aid? on 02/02/2013 02:19:07 MST Print View

>>"My wife broke her arm in Nepal, at 16,000 feet and hiked out in 2 days on OTC Ibuprofen. But then, she's tougher than I am."

>When my uncle was trekking in Nepal at about 16,000 ft, and he was the MD on the trek, he had a heart attack."

Nelson,

When my wife broke her arm in Nepal, she was 9 months away from her MD.

Her experience with the MD on the trip: She did 3 summers of para-medicine in Ecuador during medical school (UCSF). An older, wiser, very experienced MD supervised each trip. Until, on her third trip, the MD died on route. The local beliefs were strongly in favor of local burial. But the medical students knew his family would want his body to get back to the States.

They basically smuggled his body out of Ecuador (but told some white lies) so that the locals and the Stateside relatives could each be okay with the tragedy.

I've smuggled carabiners and climbing ropes across international borders, but I've never had the balls (while my wife did) to smuggle a human body in my checked bags.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: My girlfriend was not happy with my Leukotape notions on 02/02/2013 02:21:45 MST Print View

Brandon:

Take it from someone twice your age:

You'll get further with women by admitting your failures than by arguing for your successes.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
quikclot on 02/02/2013 04:06:34 MST Print View

Any opinions on quikclot?
The situation I'm thinking of is someone putting an axe into their foot or glancing a hatchet off a log and striking their upper leg. More for others than myself. I have seen people do some extremely stupid things with edged tools.
If someone cut an artery way out in the backcountry and there was no way to get help in a hurry, is there anything you could do to help or are they going to die? Could quikclot help that? I'm really squeamish about blood and just typing this is making me light headed...

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Best Band-aids on 02/02/2013 05:06:23 MST Print View

The best band-aids I've found by far are the cloth ones with the quilted face:
Bandaid

These have a kung-fu grip, and the quilted face actually works quite well. I've had deep, small-diameter wounds dry up while covered and protected from infection. One of these lasted 3 days wrapped around a big toe while hiking and changing socks all day.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Best Band-aids on 02/02/2013 07:18:43 MST Print View

Coverlets, from the picture on the first page in the thread. My aunt's a pharmacist; they're what the hospitals use.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
On Coverlets on 02/02/2013 07:25:02 MST Print View

I don't know about those justifications. I've used coverlets and I prefer the new Band-Aid quilts. I mean this inoffensively, but just because your aunt is a pharmacist doesn't mean she has experience with bandaging a high-wear area like a foot blister over 50+ miles of intensive hiking. And just because the hospital uses it doesn't make it a better bandage; hospitals probably get the cheapest useable fabric bandage, rather than the best, because they use thousands.

Just my 2¢ anyways, everyone's gonna have preferences.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: quikclot on 02/02/2013 11:45:25 MST Print View

Justin: the guidance from my WFA course was essentially 1) pressure, and 2) tourniquet if needed. My impression was that the instructors were not familiar with the current generation of products available, and were (rightly) leery of the older forms. (See my earlier reply for details.)