Part 1 generated a lot of comments, all of them good, with some great suggestions. Since not everyone reads comments, I thought I’d take some of the suggestions and make a second post. Besides, it’s an easy way to generate another post!
First a suggestion. In doing research of various things, I’ve found that Amazon has a lot of these items and those on my original list as well. It’s amazing what they have.
One thing I forgot about and should have had on the list was some sort of emergency dental kit. A broken tooth or denture or even a filling that falls out can result in agony. Absent bringing a dentist with you, you should consider an emergency dental kit. You can make your own, using Oil of Clove and zinc oxide for filling material, or you can buy a commercial kit. Buy a few basic dental tools (mirror, pick, spatulas) and you have the makings of an emergency kit. Oil of Clove numbs the nerves, but be aware that it also kills them. A root canal will probably be needed when you return to civilization or civilization returns to you. If that isn’t likely an extraction might be in order, but I’m not going to go into that much detail here.
Two ideas from reader tlczek,
1. My ice pack at home are these little freezable pouches (reuseable ice cubes) about the size of large ice cubes (mine happen to be Thermos brand) that I keep in a plastic bag. They also sell smallish sheets of them. Both are really convenient for icing injuries and last about as long as water ice. This may be a good option if you’re going somewhere that may not have ice cubes readily available, but a place you can freeze things.
2. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for allergic reactions or sedation. Obviously it’s not as good as epi for allergies or a benzodiazepine for sedation, but it’s safer and easy to pack away. (Plus, it’s non prescription) Again, it depends on your environment, but in unknown territory, you don’t know what can cause an allergic reaction. Benadryl could keep an airway open long enough to help.
As I noted in the original post, Benadryl is excellent for a number of things. Also, if you or someone in your party have allergies, get a prescription for Epi Pens.
OldNFO and Danny have suggested feminine hygeine supplies for emergency bandages. Even if you don’t use them as bandages, it’s a good idea to have them along for their original purpose. Just in case you have females in your group and they didn’t plan to be without them when it was the time they needed them.
Mule Breath suggests benzoin and/or betadine if you are going to carry Steristrips. Betadine is a pretty good antiseptic for cleaning wounds. I’d suggest that these and any other liquids be stored in zip lock bags, separately.
Medic3 suggests super glue, but it might be worth it to spend a bit more and get the medical grade Dermabond.
Dave H points to contact lens saline solution as good substitute for bottled saline. It’s sterile and slightly pressured which makes it good for irrigating wounds. He also points to a thread on the NYShooters Forum that lists a number of references for what to do when no doctor is around. Some of those references are free, some cost. Dave also recommends the Boy Scout First Aid book.
A number of readers have suggested some sort of clotting agent for wounds that are bleeding a lot. I’m not completely convinced on this yet, but it’s certainly worth considering.
Divemedic suggests Immodium in addition to Pepto Bismol and Space Blankets. His reasoning for Immodium is if the Pepto doesn’t control the diarrhea, then dehydration will kill the patient well before any bacteria. Space Blankets are a great supplement for regular blankets because they help to preserve heat. They are not a replacement, though.
Greg Friese writes,
My recommendations usually start with the things that can’t easily be improvised – pocket mask, watch, pen, exam gloves, and eye protection. Wound dressings are fairly easy to improvise. Medications not easy to improvise. I would also add prevention supplies such as items for wound cleaning, water purification, sun block, etc. The kit is also a good place for a book of matches or lighter, whistle, and a pocket knife with tweezers because a zombie attack is unlikely but an untreated splinter that becomes infected could lead to sepsis which could lead to death (and becoming a zombie).
As a Wilderness Medical Associates lead instructor I have had lots of students in courses that are looking for basic first aid skills for urban disaster situations when the normal healthcare system might not be fully functional. It is great training to have, but of course I am biased.
Matches are a good idea, I like the strike anywhere kind and of course a waterproof container is necessary for them. Again, wilderness first aid training is great for disaster situations. In fact I’ve suggested to friends that it should really be renamed “First Aid in Austere Conditions” so that people stop thinking that it can only be used out in the woods. It can be used when your town becomes the wilderness due to hurricane, earthquake, blizzard, or even zombie apocalypse. There are a growing number of self defense courses that include first aid as part of the curriculum. While many people focus on the possibility of getting shot while at the range or out hunting, the truth is that there is a wide range of medical disasters that can befall anyone at any time. Being prepared to care for yourself and your loved ones is the best plan of all.