Your local pharmacy is a unique place. It perpetuates the myth that such structures will always be there, and that anything you need when you are sick or hurt will never be more than a quick shopping trip away. Unfortunately, relying on such hollow systems of the world isn’t a good way to protect yourself or your family. You need to put together a first aid kit that will do more for you than just provide brightly colored band-aid choices!
Having lived in a world where medical care systems are widely available, it can be hard to imagine what you would need for a true survival first aid kit. Obviously, you want something that provides a complete set of solutions for minor and major accidents. Fortunately, with a thoughtful shopping trip based on the list below, you will be able to put together a first aid kit that will cover everything from a minor scratch to a major wound. The list is also designed to be able to be constructed and replenished even if the current medical supply distribution system isn’t available.
- Clean Water: The first step in wound care is cleaning the injured area, so you will want to be sure you have clean water immediately available. One or two liters, stored in refillable bottles, will provide you with the water you need for early treatment. You can replenish your supply with purified or distilled water as needed.
- Antibacterial Solution: You’ll want something on hand for washes and daubed on protection for wounds. A jar of honey covers topical scrapes; the University of New Zealand has proven that even diluted to 10%, honey solutions will halt the growth of all major wound infecting bacteria. Honey can also be readily replaced from local sources.
- Pain Relief: White willow bark should be included in your kit as a pain relief agent. You can use white willow tea for everything from headaches to arthritis. The plant is also native to North America, Asia, and Europe for easy replenishment of your supply.
- Sterilization/Cauterization Tools: Matches or a refillable lighter can provide the basics to sterilize the rest of your first aid kit. A small round ended metal rod can serve as a cauterization iron, heated by your other sterilization tools.
- Simple Surgical Tools: A truly functional first aid survival needs to be equipped for surgical functions. This means that you will need tweezers, scissors, pliers, and a surgical blade.
- Tweezers can remove insect stingers, splinters, and ingrown hairs.
- Scissors serve to clip broken finger or toenails, safely remove torn or flapping bits of skin, cut away clothing from a swollen area, or snip open closed wound that have become infected.
- Pliers can remove more stubborn embedded items, as well as suffice for the removal of ingrown toenails or problem teeth.
- Surgical blades can be used to open wounds for cleaning, lance boils, blisters, or infected abscesses, and perform minor surgeries.
- Wound Closing Tools: You’ll want a needle and thread for this part of your survival kit. Fine fishing line can also be used in lieu of standard thread to provide good stitch strength.
- Bandages: A first aid survival kit needs a good supply of bandages. Eschew the sticky band-aids in favor of clean cloth pads and strips. You’ll want enough cloth strips to wrap a sprained hand or foot at a minimum, and longer strips can double as slings to hold a break in place. Cloth pads of varying sizes for wound coverage will also ensure you are ready for anything, and can be replenished from worn out clothing as needed.
- Patient Care Items: Along with surgical care and wound cleaning, care and wellness needs also need to be planned for in your kit. Toward this end, you will want to tuck in a few all weather blankets and an inflatable neck pillow such as those sold to plane travelers. The blankets will help with maintaining a comfortable body temperature, and the neck pillow can be used as a part of a makeshift bed or as a way of elevating and immobilizing a sprained or swollen joint.
This list represents the basics of what a truly useful first aid survival kit would need to maintain. It doesn’t necessarily mirror what you find at your local pharmacy, but it will get you through most minor and major emergency situations in good stead. Why be caught short in an emergency? Pack your emergency first aid survival kit today.