Preppers Medical Supplies to Have On Hand
November 4, 2016
By Serach Yael Ben Lev
The Internet has provided almost instantaneous coverage of all kinds of disasters. We see the desperate and wounded flashing through videos images with those at ground zero giving a narrative of facts on the ground.
Most of us listen then move on with life but some of us take those images as a warning to make sure we are prepped. Thanks to James Hubbard, MD, MPH, author of “The Survival Doctor”, preppers have another tool for ideas on what to include in our medical supply box. Get a free copy of the The Survival Doctor’s Ultimate Emergency Medical Supplies by subscribing to the Survival Doctor’s blog. Let’s take a look at what the good doctor suggests we have on hand.
As always, to preppers in Israel and all over the world, happy prepping.
1. Infection Preventers
Vinyl Emergencies outside a clinic are never sterile. The gloves are not only to cut down on getting germs in the wound but to keep the caregiver safe from potentially germ-carrying bodily fluids. Tips:
- Get a box of disposable gloves for the house, and put a few pairs in each of your
- Get the vinyl type to avoid latex allergies.
- Go for one-size-fits-all or the large If they’re too small, you can’t use them, but if they’re too large they’re kind of bulky but usable.
- The cheaper ones work well but may be more likely to tear. If than happens, just slip a second pair over the
- Keep the gloves in a resealable plastic bag. The bag could come in handy for irrigating a wound (punch a hole in the bottom with a safety pin, and squeeze for water pressure) and multiple other
- A pair of dishwasher gloves is a good substitute.
- Store a pack of 10 to 20 at your house, and keep one per person in your bug-out bag. Surgical masks are easy to store and can help some to keep germs from spreading, but if you’re really serious about preventing infection, N95 masks are much better. They have pores small enough to screen out 95 percent of airborne particles. The problem is that many people find it very uncomfortable to keep these on, properly sealed, for more than a few minutes.
- Bulb syringe (that rubber bulb you use to clean out babies’ noses) for irrigating
- Alcohol (rubbing, or isopropyl). Good to sterilize instruments and, if you have no clean water, to clean wounds and wash I’d keep a bottle around the house (the drinking kind will do in a pinch) and some individually packed alcohol pads in each of the kits.
- Betadine Good for cleaning around wounds. If need be, you can disinfect water with them by adding a pad per quart of water and waiting half an hour. The water can be used for drinking or irrigating a wound.
- Antibiotic I like bacitracin. Triple-antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) is fine, but some people are allergic to it.
2. Bandages and Splints
- Adhesive bandages—otherwise known as Band-Aids. Have few regular size and a few large size in each bag.
- Kerlix gauze They’re kind of like continuous rolls of gauze. You can cut one to size for a dressing, fold it over to make it thicker, wrap it around an extremity to make a pressure dressing, or secure a splint around a leg or arm. Take at least four rolls if they’ll fit.
- Elastic I think the 3-inch or 4-inch width is the most versatile. One or two bandages will do.
- SAM Put a standard size in each kit. They’re versatile and light—for splinting sprains and fractures. Know in advance how to use one.
- Matches in a waterproof case, or a lighter, to sterilize needles, safety pins, paper clips.
- Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly (Vaseline), stored in a resealable plastic bag. You may need the Vaseline to make a seal on an occlusive dressing for a chest puncture wound that involves a In addition, the soaked cotton balls make great fire starters.
- Duct Actually, any tape will do. This is just a good all-purpose one. You can tape anything from a bandage to a wound with it. And it’s waterproof. You can even use it for some makeshift spectacles. You might keep a roll of paper tape also, in case someone’s allergic to the other kinds.
- Super Good to put on small finger nicks, which could lead to big infections in a dirty environment. It also can help the duct tape stick better.
- Safety pins of various sizes to pin elastic bandages, make slings, stick a hole in a plastic bag or jug for pressure irrigation, or pick out small splinters (after sterilizing the pin).
Other Essential Supplies
- Over-the-counter Have liquid or chewable sources for the kids. Keep a few individual packets in each kit. Read directions and precautions before using.
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain and fever
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergies or to use as an occasional sleep
- Ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid), or your favorite antacid
for heartburn and acid reflux.
- Loperamide (Imodium) for
- This is epinephrine in an automatic, self-injecting container. You need a prescription, but it’s unlikely your regular doctor would mind writing you one. Keep it readily available to grab at a moment’s notice in case of life-threatening allergic reactions. It could also be used for a severe asthma attack if you don’t have an inhaler. (Also keep an EpiPen Jr if you have children.) As soon as you purchase your EpiPen, be sure to open the box and read the instructions well so you’ll know how to use it before you need it. Quick use could mean the difference between life and death.
- A digital oral one is fine.
- One 14-gauge, 2-inch-long hollow needle in case someone has a tension pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and needs chest air-pressure (Caution: This procedure can be very dangerous. Read this blog post for more information.)
- Emergency Hypothermia can be a danger in injured people. Any blanket will do. The heat- reflective types (which reflect your body heat so you warm yourself) are light and less bulky for travel.
- Emergency airways—to keep the back of the tongue from obstructing the airway in an unconscious You need a child and adult size. You can learn how to use them in a CPR class.
- Glasses, extra
Of course, you’re going to need water for drinking and for cleaning wounds. Store as much as you can— if possible, 2 gallons per person per day. For portability, carry a good, reliable water filter and bottle.
Just be sure it’s the kind that filters bacteria, parasites, etc.
If you still have room in your bag, add …
- More Wound-Dressing Supplies
- Nonstick sterile gauze, which helps keep the wound fluids from drying and sticking to the Keep a few in each kit.
- QuikClot gauze, for use with bad bleeding
- Israeli bandage (also called an emergency bandage). This can be used as a pressure dressing or a tourniquet. It’s easy to learn how to use, but know how before you need it.
- Vet This is a self-adherent wrap. It’s kind of like an elastic bandage that clings to itself. But it’s not readily reusable. The human medical brand is Coban, but vet wrap is cheaper, and otherwise, I don’t know that there’s a difference.
- Nonsterile gauze (sanitary napkins will do). I like the 3-by-3 or 4-by-4-inch I’d keep a pack in each of the bags or just get a big pack and store some in resealable plastic bags for the various first-aid kits. You can add a few sterile sponges to each kit also. They usually come individually wrapped. (You can use sterile gauze even if you don’t need it to be sterile. It’s just more expensive.)
- Tampons—good for nosebleeds or for any place they fit to stop the
- Hydrocortisone 1-percent cream for eczema, poison oak or ivy, or any other noninfectious skin
- Aloe vera—the gel for the It’s great first-aid for burns.
- Lidocaine gel for numbing a
- Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) for skin It’s also about the only thing that gets tar off skin or hair. And, as mentioned in the “Bandages and Splints” section, it helps seal chest puncture wounds.
- Sterile gloves and dressings (as opposed to the less expensive nonsterile kind), which are most important when tending to burns or wounds that involve broken bones. (See my e-books for)
- Other Supplies and Gadgets
- Slings, child and adult
- Syringes (10 ml), They can be used to irrigate wounds (don’t put the needle into the syringe for this), inject medicines, give liquid medicine to children (again, without the needle) or measure other small quantities of liquids.
- Sterile needles (1-inch or 1 ½-inch, 22-gauge or 22-gauge), 1 These can be attached to a syringe to give an injection. They’re also handy to pick out a foreign object from the skin or to lance a boil.
- Headlamp—not exactly medical, but it sure comes in It’s amazing how a little extra light can help when you’re trying to do a medical procedure.
- Stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. Listen to some normal ones ahead of
- Blood-pressure This is bulky, and really, feeling a pulse with your fingers—noting its rate and whether it’s weak or strong— can tell you enough in the field. But a blood-pressure cuff can help you monitor whether a blood pressure is trending lower or higher. This could clue you in to whether a person in shock is getting better, or it could help you know how much blood pressure medicine you should be taking. A manual cuff in particular can also be used for a tourniquet or pressure dressing. For home, if you don’t use one much, consider an automatic one because it’s easier to use. The arm kinds tend to be more accurate than the wrist types. Check its accuracy ahead of time by letting a trained person check your blood pressure with a manual cuff, then the automatic one.
- Pulse oximeter. Clip this to your finger (no needles, no blood), and it tells you the oxygen saturation in your You can use it when you suspect a panic attack, or heart or lung problems. Learn more here.
If you have a smaller, separate, leak-proof and waterproof bag, add:
- Medihoney. It treats infected wounds and can be used for coughs. (Don’t use for )
- Clove oil—for
- Tea tree oil—for poison ivy, lice, and scabies, and for antifungal and antibacterial use.
- Paracord survival This is a strong cord with multiple uses that’s wrapped up as a bracelet.
If you have appropriate hands-on training, add:
P IV materials:
- A bag of IV fluids, like lactated Ringer’s solution.
- An IV kit.
- Several needles/catheters, butterfly-type infusion sets, or intraosseus infusion Many paramedics would say the latter are the easiest in a nonhospital emergency setting.
P Suture kits:
- Small scissors would be nice, especially if you’re going to be the one to take the sutures
- Suture with a needle connected; 3-0 or 4-0 nylon (Ethilon) should be strong enough to hold most wounds
- For local anesthesia (numbing), lidocaine solution, 1 or 2 percent, is what medical personnel use, but it’s You’ll need syringes and needles too. Lidocaine gel or ice packs and other options have variable results.
- Skin staples and a skin-staples To me, skin stapling is easier than learning suturing. My book on wounds has a video link that shows how to do this.
Talk to your doctor. He or she might give you a prescription for at least one round of treatment to add to your emergency medical supplies. Antibiotics must be stored in a cool, dry place. Temperature extremes can alter their potency. Please read the package insert on any medicine before taking it, and note the dosages, side effects, interactions, warnings, etc. The guidelines below are only partial. And remember, antibiotics don’t work on viruses. Antibiotic overuse has contributed to some bacteria becoming antibiotic-resistant, so only use these medicines when you need them (but take the full round when you do so you’re sure to knock out the bug).
Azithromycin (Z-Pak) is an erythromycin-type antibiotic that can treat strep throat, ear infections, sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, whooping cough, and skin infections. Of course, there’s always chance the bacteria is resistant or the infection is a virus. Azithromycin also treats the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia.
Amoxicillin is a great drug if you’re not allergic to penicillin, but many bacteria, such as staph, have become resistant to it. Cephalexin is a good alternative.
Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is good for a bacterial gastrointestinal infection, but only take it if the infection is severe or won’t go away. Ciprofloxacin is also
good for prostatitis and urinary-tract infections such as cystitis. It treats gonorrhea too. It may cause abnormalities in anyone whose bones are still growing (typically 18 years old and under). Don’t use if pregnant.
Metronidazole (Flagyl) treats the intestinal parasite giardia and the sexually transmitted parasite trichomonas. Makes you deathly sick if mixed with alcohol.
Septra and Bactrim are sulfa drugs good for urinary-tract infections. The antibiotic both of these contain is one of the only oral antibiotics that treats community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Don’t use if pregnant.
Ivermectin kills many intestinal-worm infections, including pinworms. It also kills scabies and body, pubic, and head lice. Don’t take if pregnant, breastfeeding or under 6 years old.
Mupirocin (Bactroban) is a prescription ointment or cream that kills bacteria, even MRSA. (The over-the-counter antibacterial ointments help prevent infections but don’t actively kill bacteria.)
Ultimate Emergency Medical Supplies Pharmacy Checklist
These recommendations are per emergency kit. Customize according to your needs. The list is not meant to be exhaustive.
☐ Vinyl gloves, one- size-fits-all or large (cheaper may be more likely to tear)
☐ Masks, pack of 10 to 20 for the house; 1 per person for bug- out bag
☐ Bulb syringe
☐ Rubbing alcohol, bottle (for home)
☐ Rubbing alcohol, individually packed pads (for travel kit)
☐ Betadine pads
☐ Antibiotic ointment (bacitracin; some are allergic to triple antibiotic)
|Bandages and Splints
☐ Adhesive bandages (Band-Aids), regular & large
☐ Kerlix gauze rolls, at least 4
☐ Elastic bandages (3” or 4”), 1 or 2
☐ SAM Splint (standard size)
☐ Bandage scissors
☐ Cotton balls
☐ Petroleum jelly (to soak cotton balls; optional:
extra for skin moisturizing, removing tar)
☐ Paper tape (for sensitive skin)
☐ Nonstick sterile gauze, a few per kit
☐ Nonsterile gauze (3”x3” or 4”x4”) or sanitary napkins
☐ Sterile sponges, 1 to 2 packs
☐ Sterile gloves & dressings (for burns, wounds involving broken bones)
☐ Slings (child & adult sizes)
Medications (including individual packs for kits & liquid/chewable for kids):
☐ Ibuprofen or acetaminophen—pain, fever
☐ Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)—allergies, sleep
☐ Ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid), or antacid
☐ Loperamide (Imodium)—diarrhea
☐ Emergency blanket
☐ Hydrocortisone 1% cream—skin allergies
☐ Aloe vera gel—burns
☐ Lidocaine gel—numbing
☐ Tea tree oil—some skin problems
☐ Blood-pressure cuff (manual type may only be available online)
☐ Pulse oximeter
|For People With Hands-On Training
Note: You’ll probably need to order these supplies online.
☐ IV materials: fluids; kit; needles/catheters, butterfly-type infusion sets, or intraosseus infusion needles (the latter may be easiest)
☐ Suture kit: suture holder; small scissors; suture with needle connected [perhaps 3-0 or 4-0 nylon (Ethilon)]; lidocaine solution, 1% or 2% (prescription); syringes & needles
☐ Skin staples, staple remover (learn how to staple in The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Wounds)
Ultimate Emergency Medical Supplies Checklist for Other Stores
These recommendations are per emergency kit. Customize according to your needs. The list is not meant to be exhaustive.
☐ Lighter/matches in waterproof case
☐ Duct tape
☐ Super glue
☐ Safety pins, various sizes
General-Supply or Grocery Store
☐ Resealable plastic bags (for storage)
☐ Water, at least 6 gallons per person
|Army Surplus Store
☐ Israeli bandage (or “emergency bandage”) [optional]
Army Surplus or Sporting Goods Store
☐ Travel water bottle with filter for bacteria, parasites
☐ Emergency blanket
☐ QuikClot gauze [optional]
☐ Paracord survival bracelet [optional], or buy one at SurvivalStraps.com that benefits the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity for wounded service members
|Health Food Stores
☐ Clove oil—toothaches [optional]
|Farm Supply or Pet Store
☐ Vet wrap (more expensive human brand is Coban) [optional]
☐ 14-gauge, 2-inch-long hollow needle (for chest air-pressure release in tension pneumothorax)
☐ Emergency airways, adult & child sizes
☐ Syringes (10 ml), 5 [optional]
☐ Sterile needles (1-inch or 1/2-inch, 22-gauge or 22-gauge), 1 box [optional]
☐ Medihoney [optional]
☐ Extras of prescription medicines
☐ EpiPen (& EpiPen Jr if you have children)
☐ Aloe vera plant (for the house)
☐ Glasses, extra pair
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