12 Surprising Items You Need In Your Medical Kit
Prepper Gear is not just about acquiring gear for the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI). Prepping is all about being prepared for disasters or crisis situations that can and do occur all around us all year long. A well-stocked medical or trauma kit is just as important as any other prep, for an injury that can’t be treated is a show stopper.
Besides the obvious Medical Dressings, Bandages, Tourniquets, Military Surgical Kit, etc., that should be in every advanced medical kit, there are a few “odd” items that work well in a pinch if your supplies run low or run out altogether. You may feel if you have a fully stocked trauma kit that you are good to go and ready to face whatever comes your way, the truth is a severe injury will require MUCH more supplies than you can imagine. It is not unusual for a severe trauma to nearly deplete your medical kit’s supplies, especially if there is more than one victim.
I’ve seen first-hand treating a severe throat injury how fast we went through our med kit and actually ended up having to use a t-shirt in the end. The Terrorist Shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL is another great example. There were so many wounded that first-responders were running out of medical supplies while trying to treat everyone. First thing you want to do is get a stocked advanced medical kit and the second thing you want to do is stockpile replenishing supplies for it.
Maxi Pads are a great addition to any trauma kit. They are inexpensive and super absorbent and usually come individually packed. It is important to remember that sanitary napkins are “clean,” they are not “sterile.” Maxi pads are a good back up, but should never be your Go To item in your medical kits. Remember to use them to assist in controlling bleeding but try to never use one as THE Final wound dressing due to the fact they are a clean dressing and not a sterile dressing.
Tampons are also an item that can serve a specific purpose in your trauma kit. They can come in handy for interrupting the flow of blood in penetrating or puncture wounds by using a tampon for this application you are quite literally shoving one into the open wound. Just as Maxi Pads are not sterile, Tampons are also not sterile, so use them only if absolutely necessary for both the sterile factor but also the pain factor of the victim. If you have Sterile wound plugs, they are your first choice, but if someone’s life is on the line, choices have to be made. A Hemostatic powder is usually a better alternative for this type of wound such as Celox or QuickClot, but these are also last case use items as the manner in which they work caused burning and crystallization of the surrounding tissue which usually needs to be cut out later.
Chap Stick may at first glance seem more like a personal comfort or hygiene item that a first aid item. Chap Stick is an excellent for sealing minor wounds, abrasions or burns to prevent infection. It acts as a barrier that covers the wound. Simply rub it over the wound or use your fingertip to apply it. Vaseline works as well, but Chap Stick is extremely compact. This is not an application you would use for wounds that are bleeding or free flowing, it is for minor cuts or abrasions.
A Chem Stick may seem a little odd but remember, people are not always injured during daylight hours. If it’s dark and you have no flashlight or your flashlight breaks, you need light to work on a wound. Chem Sticks are compact and last for hours so there is no reason not to have at least two in you med kit.
Duct Tape is a great emergency medical tool. You can use it to help close large wounds as well as holding trauma dressings in place. If you are having difficulty controlling bleeding and cannot or do not need to apply a tourniquet, Duct Tape can be secure tightly around the area and assist as a compress to help slow bleeding. If a broken bone is involved, after you have positioned the injury, duct tape can secure the splint in place.
550 Cord is also an excellent item to assist in making slings or securing splints for fractures and sprains. If you are hiking and no help is available, 550 Cord can be used to make a litter for you to use to drag the injured person out if needed. Warning, never use 550 cord as a tourniquet. The amount of pressure to cutoff blood flow is extreme and usually requires a stick or similar “winding” device to tighten down with enough pressure to compress the flesh, muscle and eventually the artery you are trying to interrupt the flow of blood from. Due to the lack of width of 550 cord or paracord, this extreme pressure can actually cut the person you are applying it to and cause more damage and injury.
Super Glue works similar to liquid bandage to help hold small cuts closed. It can be used in a pinch if you have nothing else but remember, super glue IS a toxic chemical so we don’t recommend you use it as your “go to” item for closing or sealing small wounds. Instead; try to include one of these products that are medically designed for holding wounds closed: Derma+flex QS, SurgiSeal, FloraSeal, Dermabond, LiquiBand, Histoacryl, Indermil, GluStitch and GluShield.
Belts are a great item because you can wear it and it can serve its primary purpose but you can re-purpose a belt for use in first aid. You can use a belt as a sling for a broken arm, a tourniquet as a last case resort and belts are excellent to use in fashioning a splint for fractures.
Saran Wrap or a roll of plastic wrap is carried on most ambulances. Saran Wrap is excellent for wrapping a burn to protect it from infection and prevent rubbing of clothing or materials against an incredibly painful injury. Saran Wrap reduces pain, protects the wound or burn against contamination, and helps prevent fluid losses. A great bonus is it is inexpensive, widely available, nontoxic, and transparent, which allows for wound monitoring without removing the dressing. Because plastic wrap is extruded at temperatures over 150° C, it is sterile before it is unrolled for use. It is best to unwind and discard the outermost layer of the plastic from the roll so you expose a clean surface. It is also a great item to have to help seal a Sucking Chest wound. Another excellent use for Saran Wrap is to wrap a dressing to help keep in dry if the potential exists for the dressing to become wet. The uses for Saran Wrap in first aid are so numerable, every medical kit should have it and since it is so inexpensive to buy, there is no reason to buy a medical kit that comes stocked with it, it should be an add on item to your trauma medical kit.
Mylar Blankets are a cheap and compact item for keeping a victim warm or dry to reduce shock following an injury. They can be twisted to form a “rope” to use as splint materials or as a sling and event as a tourniquet.
Antibiotics are important in staving off or treating an infection. Unfortunately, if you are unable to get to doctor to obtain and then fill a prescription what do you do? Fish Antibiotics are a good alternative. Many, but not all, are the same antibiotics that we take. This subject is much too in-depth to discuss in a single paragraph or even a single article. The key is, research fish antibiotics and stock a supply for emergencies just remember to not medicate yourself in a normal environment as taking too many antibiotics can weaken your immune system. This is for survival, when you just don’t have access to adequate medical care.
Oil of Oregano is a plant and the leaves are used in medicine. Oregano is used for respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, croup and bronchitis. It is also used for heartburn and bloating. Oil of Oregano is taken by mouth for intestinal parasites, sinus pain, allergies, earaches and colds.
Some of these items may seem a bit odd and some you may already know about, but each of them has a purpose or can be re-purposed to serve in a medical emergency if needed.