Whether you’re enjoying a weekend camping trip or taking a long drive in the country, any number of things can go wrong when you least expect it. When that happens, being prepared for as many eventualities as possible may be the key to survival. In times of emergency, having a well-equipped medical kit could help you forge through an array of unexpected injuries and illnesses. Be sure your medical kit contains the following essentials so you’ll be ready if things take a turn for the worse.
Essential Supplies for an Emergency Medical Kit
Several tools and supplies could come in handy in a medical kit. Adventure Medical Kits can take matters a step further by providing items you’d need for activities beyond handling unexpected medical problems. From impromptu fishing supplies to field dressing necessities, these kits include an array of must-have provisions for forging through both outdoor experiences and unfortunate developments.
Sterile gloves are crucial for numerous reasons. For one, they’ll help keep you safe from bloodborne pathogens when dealing with wounds. They can also protect you against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms should you come into contact with urine, saliva, or additional means of transmission. At the same time, they can serve as a protective barrier against contaminants in the environment. Sterile gloves prove themselves invaluable in numerous circumstances.
Having an assortment of adhesive bandages on hand is likewise important. They can be used to cover cuts, scrapes, punctures, blisters, and other minor injuries. Bandages aid in keeping dirt, germs, and other hazards out of wounds, so they can heal more quickly and effectively. These basic medical supplies help to prevent infections as well. In a pinch, you may even be able to use the sticky portions of these bandages to help remove bee stingers.
Sterile Gauze Pads
Sterile gauze pads are versatile additions to medical kits as well. They can be used for cleaning wounds, applying antibiotic ointments, and numerous other purposes. Of course, they’re helpful for covering larger wounds for which conventional adhesive bandages won’t suffice.
Adhesive tape is vital too. It goes hand-in-hand with gauze pads for covering larger wounds and protecting them against outside forces. That’s only one use for it, though. Like the sticky portions of bandages, it can be used for removing bee stingers. It can even be used for repairing an array of other essential items in your arsenal if need be. Though medical tape is often recommended for medical kits, duct tape is a bit stronger and more versatile.
Antiseptic Solutions, Wipes, and Ointments
Antiseptic solutions, such as iodine, alcohol, and peroxide, should be part of a well-stocked medical kit as well. They kill germs to help prevent infections. Treating wounds with these products before dressing them is essential. Otherwise, you’d be trapping germs inside the wounds and paving the way for dangerous infections. As an alternative to traditional liquid solutions, you can use prepackaged sterile wipes. In addition to those supplies, consider stocking your medical kit with antibiotic ointment, burn cream, and topical antihistamines.
Scissors and Tweezers
Having a good pair of scissors in your medical kit is also advised. Trauma shears are sharp and tough, so they can be used to cut bandages, clothing, tape, and other materials in emergencies. You can also use them to cut paracord, fishing lines, and quite a few other items if the need arises. Tweezers, on the other hand, can be used to remove splinters, stingers, and other foreign objects embedded in the skin. They’re also useful for removing debris from wounds among other purposes.
For particularly deep cuts, being armed with suturing supplies will be crucial. Those wounds may not close on their own, and they’re particularly vulnerable to dirt and germs. Being able to suture wounds like those in the field could prevent complications later on. Additionally, some of the supplies used for suturing can prove useful in other situations. Those might include repairing clothing or creating a makeshift fishing pole to name a couple of possibilities.
Thermometers can also be helpful. In emergency and survival situations, people don’t often think about checking an injury victim’s temperature. At certain times, though, it may be crucial. If a victim is running a fever, it could be a sign of an infected wound that needs attention. It could also be an indication of a serious illness that should be addressed. Thermometers are essential for staying on top of hypothermia and hyperthermia too.
Hot and Cold Packs
Equipping your medical kit with hot and cold packs is a helpful measure as well. For sprains, strains, and minor burns, cold packs can reduce pain and swelling. Hot packs may be applied after swelling subsides to foster healing. Additionally, hot and cold packs can be useful for treating hyperthermia and hypothermia. When you’re exposed to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time, you may be able to use hot and cold packs to keep those conditions at bay.
Splints and Tourniquets
A fully stocked medical kit should also have the materials for making splints and tourniquets. Splints are used to stabilize broken bones. Applying a splint helps to prevent further injury and ease pain to an extent. Tourniquets are used as a last resort for heavy bleeding. They help to restrict the flow of blood to an injury to prevent excessive blood loss. While it’s possible to create splints and tourniquets from strips of clothing and sticks, having the right tools for them readily available in your medical kit can save valuable time in an emergency.
Certain oral medications should be part of every medical kit too. Pain medications definitely fall into this category. They can alleviate discomfort from basic headaches, broken bones, sprains, burns, and many other problems that could arise in the field. Antihistamines can be helpful as well. They can help combat common allergens found in the woods and reduce the effects of bug bites or other allergy triggers. They can even alleviate asthma attacks caused by inhaled allergens though they take some time to work.
Blankets can be used for numerous purposes in emergency situations. Of course, not all of them are small and light enough to carry around as part of an emergency preparedness kit. Emergency blankets are different. They’re lightweight, compact, and easy to store. They can fit nicely into a medical kit without taking up space that could be devoted to other essentials. These blankets can be used to protect people against hypothermia and cover injury victims to safeguard them against the elements. They’re reflective, so you may also be able to use them to draw rescuers to your location.
Any medical or emergency preparedness kit should be equipped with a multi-tool. As the name indicates, these devices include a range of tools that can be useful in survival situations. Different versions are available, each with its own array of must-have tools. Some of the most common are knives, scissors, screwdrivers, and tweezers. Some even come with fire starters, pliers, and other essentials. It’s always a good idea to have a multi-tool on hand even when potential medical emergencies aren’t a major concern.
In addition to all that standard gear, be sure to stock your medical kit with any essential personal medications you or your family may need. If you or anyone going on an adventure with you is diabetic, consider packing extra insulin and syringes in your medical kit. For asthma sufferers, a rescue inhaler is a must. For people with severe allergies to bee stings, an EpiPen is crucial. Keep in mind that emergency items like those expire, though. If you pack them in advance, be sure to replace them before their shelf life is up.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
Aside from all those essential items, be sure you know how to use them. After all, if you don’t know how to handle various medical emergencies, all the tools and accessories in the world won’t help anyone. Understand how to use an EpiPen for someone who’s suffering from anaphylaxis. Know how much insulin your traveling companion needs per dose if he or she can’t perform an injection.
Learn about how to treat a wound and suture a deep cut. Brush up on how to apply a tourniquet and splint. Educate yourself on how to deal with a snake bite. Consider taking a CPR course. Be aware of the signs of hyperthermia or hypothermia and how to treat those conditions. It’s better to have all that knowledge and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Being Prepared for Medical Emergencies
Having a well-stocked medical kit on hand during an outdoor adventure is strongly advised. Even the most mundane of outings could unexpectedly take a dangerous turn. You never know what emergencies could arise, so it’s best to be ready to handle an array of possibilities. Beyond the medical kit itself, be sure you know how to handle various emergencies so you can make the most of the resources available to you. Keep in mind any unique medical needs you or your adventure companions may have as well, and be prepared to cover those if necessary.