Well, yesterday's stock market dip has got our attention, yes? Things are going to be starting to get a little rough for some folks. While we were in the city, the local radio was saying that the homeless shelter has had a 121% increase in families seeking shelter in July & August.
As important as the economic current events are, I'm still focused on preparing for an event that will significantly impact us where we live. Thank you all for your suggestions for topics including: first aid, gardening, books, and security. My ideas have also included food foraging, games that teach, and old time skills.
With these things in mind, today's topic is First Aid.
Let me start by saying I have no particular expertise in first aid, I'm writing about my life experiences, what my family does to prepare and ideas I've picked up on the internet. I encourage anyone and everyone to take first aid classes and learn about herbal and back-woods alternatives. This is the stuff of volumes of books and can't be covered in a blog post.
I've found that quantity really counts for a lot in home storage of first aid. When you have a serious injury, you don't just need the contents of your first aid kid, you need boxes of stuff to see the process through. For instance DD17 was injured this summer and had 4 incisions that reached into the center of her bone. We were conservative in our use of bandages while keeping everything as clean as possible, we used 5 boxes of 3x3 gauze pads (125 pads), 2 bottles of hydrogen peroxide, and 4 ace type bandages (to keep the hand washing and line drying going). This is the amount used for one injury for one month. That's expensive and the need didn't coincide with our financial ability to buy those things. Of course we bought them anyway and scrimped elsewhere.
Mr. Greenjeans was put in charge of updating the first aid kit recently. He is the one who has been a back country guide and has had advanced first aid. He is not through packing the kit - just out of money. Notice that there are no band-aids in our kit. Building the kit on a budget he says those are just convenience items and we make our own. However last week after a day of picking, hauling, and slicing apples, I cut two fingers very deeply with a sharp knife. I wanted band-aids and didn't want to fiddle with making them. They are on the grocery list.
Mr. Greenjean's First Aid kit beginnings in a little tote box:
A basic first aid book,
waterless hand sanitizer
box of safe skin exam gloves,
bottle of spray hydrogen peroxide
bottle of spray benadryl
aloe vera jell
roll bandage that sticks to itself
medicated tooth ache swabs
tooth repair kit
eye glasses repair kit
paint stir sticks (for supporting breaks or sprains)
He wants one of those portable defibrillators that are out now that anyone can buy.
What we will add to this kit:
tweezers of various lengths and shapes
instant chemical cold pack
"..." hot pack
dry electrolyte packets
more alcohol or iodine prep pads
finger size splints
large size splints
neosporin lip ointment
aspirin, Advil, Motrin
wound closure bandages
gauze eye patch
large trauma pad
crack open bright stick
dedicated fresh water jug
knuckle band aids
a Sawyer Extractor (venom removal)
draw string plastic bags
mouth and nose mask
plastic sheeting to set up quarantine area
Naturally there is a lot more that can be added (back boards?)
On my end of the family, I have been stocking up on aspirin and alternatives when I do food stores. Also, on occasion I've seen a Dr. and been given an Rx for antibiotics that I had no intention of taking because I (rightly) thought them unnecessary. I did fill the Rx and stored the full series. Likewise, we never use all the pain killers in an Rx so that we can save some for when we might need them when no Dr. is available. DD17's orthopedic surgeon thought that she was too nervous and flighty and wrote out an Rx for Valium without asking if we wanted it - yup it got filled and stored. I have some Rx strength salve that numbs the skin. I got this when I was in an office appointment and the rural Doctor (read only doctor in the area) was called out of the office on an emergency. On his way out, he told me the stuff was expensive, scooped some out of his big jug and put it into a little tube and sent me on my way. Medicines can get weird if stored too long or out of temperature range so they have to be managed. You have to be willing to throw them out when they get old. Note that these activities are not recommended by the experts.
I think as important as industrialized medicine is a knowledge of herbs and homeopathy. Years ago we didn't have medical insurance and I took classes in homeopathy from a local midwife. At that time I bought supplies and books and we still use the remedies. In fact DD17 has been left with nerve damage from the wound which we are home treating homeopathically.
I know very little about herbal medicine, but would love to learn. I find it hard to learn on the Internet as I'm such a hands on person, but it can be done. Edit I just noticed that Hen and Harvest has an article on growing medicinal plants. Please go there and read and I will do likewise.
I would also recommend that people learn what the indigenous remedies of the area were as well as food as medicine (limes used liberally over food help prevent food borne illness...)
Naturally, all this takes time to learn and master and there is always more to know. Books are important. I've learned some veterinary skills on the fly in a barn, at night with a lantern and a vet book and a ewe in trouble. I'm looking for first aid classes in my area as well as learning about herbal medicines.
Books on my next to order list are:
Wilderness Medicine, beyond first aid by William Forgey
Where there is no Doctor, by Jane Maxwell
Where there is no dentist
Where there is no veterinarian
OK, long post. Are you still there? What else can you think of for a first aid kit? Do you have a favorite first aid book? What's in your kit?