Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Aid Kit, Trail Medicine, and Other Health Issues

A little preemptive duct taping never hurts
One of the top items in a backpack or daypack is the first aid kit. Its necessary to bring but a kit we hope we never have to use. But for certain on a backpacking trip, you will likely pull something useful out of it.

Homemade kits vs ready-made?

Many outdoor shops sell the "Adventure Kits" and other ready-made first aid kits. I have an adventure medical kit and really like thier precut moleskin. But you can easily put together your own personal kit in a sturdy ziploc.

First off, it isn't a bad idea to go take a first aid course before you venture out. While you may not need it yourself, someone else might. Many rescue squads and recreation centers offer these kinds of courses. And taking CPR is an added bonus. If you like to lead hiking groups, this is really a must.

My Sample First Aid Kit

Duct tape
some assorted size bandaids (some waterproof). I like very much the Bandaid advanced healing blister bandages.
some moleskin (be sure to have a small jacknife to cut them to size)
small tube of antibiotic cream
small tube of hydrocortisone cream (take the one that has about 30% left in it from home. Same with antibiotic cream. No sense carrying full tubes. I have needed it for rashes and insect bites)
small ace wrap (ankle sprains, and I have been glad several times I've had it -)
thread and needle
safety pin
Epipen if you have a bee allergy and /or a few Benadryl tabs
Body glide (if you are prone to chafing)

Take a Swiss army knife with tweezers and scissors on it for first aid and useful for cutting duct tape, moleskin, trimming toe nails, etc.

Medicines and Vitamins

assorted Vit I (Advil) and Tylenol. If you are prone to ulcers, DO NOT take Advil or Aleve
few tabs of Imodium (if you get diarrhea for several days though, you may have a water-borne illness, and you need to get antibiotic treatment for it)
If you can get it from your MD, some doxycycline tabs for tick bite (you can take a one time loading dose of 200 mg if you find a deer tick has embedded itself to protect against Lyme according to the website, but clear this with an MD first - I am no doctor, but I am an RN)
If you are male over 40, suggest taking some low dose aspirin (can save your life with a heart attack)

I also take some vitamins. Its hard to get all the nutrition you need when backpacking, so I add this to my "medicine" bag - 
Multi vitamin (for women, make sure it has iron in it)
500 mg Vitamin C
Calcium carbonate with Vitamin D in it (important for women over 40 and for warding off stress fractures. One website advocated Calcium Citrate type if you take medicine for ulcers - like me).
Cranberry tab (why? I have come close to a urinary tract infection. This just helps keep that from happening)
Glucosomine / chondroitin tabs (good for knees)
Tumeric with Pepperine tabs (a good anti-inflammatory)

And always get a physical AND dental exam before you go on a long distance hike. Many people skip the teeth but infected teeth can make you very ill.

The last thing, please take maps. You can read why here on my blog, but maps and a guidebook can help with bail-out situations in an emergency. And a cell phone for emergencies.


Liam Lama said...

Some great tips here, Thanks!

Best Wishes
Liam (new follower)

RichWa said...

Good List!

I also pack some heavy duty prescription painkillers. I've run into situations (eg broken ankle) where nothing else would do and it was a couple of days out just to be able to get help. I asked my doc for a prescription explaining that I was going to be in the back country and she