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Prepping Supplies: The Medical Bag

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Hart. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Equipped with a large database of knowledge, co workers and all the equipment/supplies they need at their fingers tips.. it is no secret that America is home to some of the best doctors and medical professionals in the world. If SHTF, what happens if all the lights go out? Would the equipment still function? What if all the supplies run out? What if all the doctors are sent to make-shift-camps or hunkered down with their own families? What if there is no hospital, no 911, no help coming?

Believe it or not, this actually happens all around the world each and every day. Out there right now there are doctors, nurses and medics working around the clock without power or computers, without their co workers, without all the fancy equipment.. They are equipped with nothing more than their knowledge and whatever is packed into their medical bags. That is right, they are saving lives out of the contents of their medical bags.

Most of us are not doctors nor do we have access to the same kind of supplies that they do. However, having a medical bag is one of the most important things we should all consider while preparing for those situations we hope never happen. You may be wondering what to put in your own medical bag or if you are forgetting anything so I’ve provided my own list to help get you started.

The Medical Bag

Elite First Aid Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic Kit Bag, Large – $132

There are all kinds of options out there for medical bags. Use what works best for you. I have seen people use back packs, tackles boxes and shoulder bags. I personally went with the shoulder bag because my bug out bag is a back pack and I only have one back. I also would like to keep both of my hands free so this was the best option for me.

Sanitation and Personal Protection

Regardless of the emergency, sanitation is not something that should never be overlooked. For your own protection and the protection of your patient, always WASH YOUR HANDS!!!! I cannot stress the importance of hand washing. For this reason and so you never forget.. choose the most easy to access part of your bag to store your sanitation supplies. Most of these items can be found at your local dollar store so there are no excuses not to be hygienic when providing first aid. These very simple step could mean the difference between life or death.

**Tip: Keep a small zip-lock bag with a maxi pad and bandanna in with your sanitation supplies. In the event someone is bleeding you can buy yourself a minute to wash up by having the injured use the maxi pad to apply direct pressure, if they are unable, you can hold it in place with the bandanna.

Items to include:

  • Bar of hand soap and a case to put it in (dollar store)
  • 4 oz hibiclens hand cleanser (if your budget allows)
  • Nail clippers, nail file, scrub brush (keep nails short and clean – dollar store)
  • Large bottle of hand sanitizer (you will need a lot of this – dollar store)
  • Hand disinfecting wipes (for when washing isn’t possible $2 at pharmacy)
  • 2 oz hand cream (sanitizer and gloves dry out your hands – dollar store)
  • 3 mini soaps/3 mini hand santizers (these are for giving away. It is important to keep the patient clean, too – dollar store)
  • 50 pairs of latex free gloves (latex is a common allergy)
  • 3 pairs nitrile gloves
  • 10 surgical masks
  • 3 N-95 masks
  • 10-20 surface disinfecting wipes (dollar store)
  • 10 puppy training pads (will work well as underpads – dollar store)
  • 10 garbage bags (for plastic backing – dollar store)
  • 5 bio hazard bags (if budget allows)

First Aid Kit Emergency Response Trauma Bag Complete

Equipment

The more we have to work with, the easier it will be so some basic equipment is good to have. If your budget is tight you can pick up some of these items at the dollar store and then add the rest when you are able

**Tip: Know how to use these items!! They are all easy to use, I promise.

Rescue Essentials Shears EMT/Scissors Combo Pack with Holster, Tactical All Black

Items to include:

Wound Care

From superficial scrapes to life threatening bleeding it is no surprise that there are millions of wound care products out there. Try not to get too overwhelmed with this. The first thing we need to do is to make sure that whatever caused the injury is no longer a threat. We then need to make sure the person wants our help!! Before we rush in to play doctor, we should always let the injured person know who we are and what training we may have. In the event this person is or at any time becomes unconscious implied consent is given. Once we have established that there is no current threat to ourselves and that we have consent to help then the main objectives are to stop the bleeding, monitor for shock and prevent infection. It may be wise to divide this into 3 sections so if you are ever in a panic, you’ll be less likely to miss a step.

**Tip: Pack what items you can afford then add to it as you are able to.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

Items to include:

Bleeding Control

Wound Cleaning

**Tip: this will be a lot easier if you can keep the person calm. Consider pain management ideas for while you are treating. Flushing a wound with clean drinkable water will be the ideal method. You may need to pick out tiny pebbles or dirt with tweezers and possibly even scrub it. It is very important to make sure the wound is clean. You will then want to use an antiseptic such as peroxide, alcohol or iodine. If a person had been bitten, infection is much more likely use a BZK wipe.

  • Stress ball (give it to the patient to squeeze but never in the arm they are bleeding from)
  • 5 paper bags (having the patient breathe into one for a couple of minutes may help distract them and will remind them to breathe)
  • Dermoplast antibacterial spray (this works wonders on pain for after birth, scrapes and cuts)
  • 4oz of drinking water (something so simple may not be available if you don’t pack it)
  • 60cc irrigation syringe and a perinatal bottle (I personally get better pressure with the perinatal bottle)
  • Tick remover
  • Poison ivy soap bar
  • 50 alcohol wipes
  • 10 Sting wipes
  • 5-10 BZK wipes
  • hydrogen peroxide (dollar store)
  • 1 oz (30ml) iodine

Wound Closure

It is almost never a good idea to close a wound in a non-sterile setting, you can pack a suture kit for just in case but this should be a last resort. I did not pack a stapler because I personally am not comfortable with using for a number of reasons.

  • 100s of different size band-aids (dollar store)
  • Mole skin
  • 50 butterfly closures
  • liquid band-aid
  • super glue (dollar store)
  • Suture kit
  • 10 triple antibiotic ointment packets (you can buy a tube but this would be cleaner)
  • Burn gel (for pain relief)
  • Vaseline (for making non-stick dressing)

Dressings

  • 50 2×2 gauze pads
  • 50 4×4 gauze pads
  • 10 8×10 ABD pads
  • Rolls of gauze (at the very least 2 in different sizes)
  • Medical tape
  • Reusable cold packs (for swelling)
  • Ace wrap (for sprains)
  • 1-3 triangular bandages

Other emergencies

If possible divide up other emergency supplies into sections to keep them more organized and easier to access. Try to keep these in plain view when you open your bag.

Items to include:

Section 1 – Breathing Difficulty/Chest Pains

  • Manual suction device with extra tubing
  • Areochamber mask with asthma inhalers (if someone in your group has asthma)
  • Berman oral airway kit (has 6 different sizes)
  • Children’s liquid benadryl and syringe (this works slightly faster then the tablets)
  • 10 aspirin (if you suspect a heart attack)
  • 2 CPR masks (one for you and one your assistant if you are lucky enough to have one, CPR is exhausting)

Section 2 – Hypothermia

Section 3- Dehydration/Low Blood Sugar/Weakness

Section 4 – Eyes and Ears

Section 5 – Nose, Lips and Throat

  • Saline Nasal Spray
  • Bulb syringe (for babies)
  • 3-6 Vicks Vapor Inhaler (if one person gets sick you all might and these shouldn’t be shared – dollar store)
  • Chapstick (dollar store)
  • Blistex (dollar store)
  • Abreva coldsore treatment
  • Vicks Vapor Rub (dollar store)
  • Throat lozenges

Section 6 –  Oral/Dental

Medications

If you are reading this.. then chances are pretty good that you can still run out to the local pharmacy whenever you may need to. If SHTF easy to access pharmacies may become a thing of the past. Without power and oil production it would become extremely difficult for pharmacies (or any stores for that matter) to re stock their shelves. This is why it is so important to buy these things while we still can and while we still have health care professionals to ask all our questions to.

First and foremost, everyone with medical needs should pack at least a 30 day supply (the more the better) of any medications that have already been prescribed or recommend to you by your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider. Nothing you read on the internet should ever substitute the advice from your health care provider. Seek their care and medical advice whenever necessary for as long as it is available.

The amount of medications you should pack is going to vary greatly from person to person. I recommend packing enough for yourself and at least one other person, if you can. If you have a larger group then pack accordingly. I have not included any amounts as to how much you should pack because it is important for you to carefully think numbers through based on your own groups size. Talk to your health provider before taking any new medications.

Again, you may pack these however you choose but breaking them to sections may help you find what you need faster. Toiletry kits work great for this.

Items to Consider:

Bag 1 – Indigestion and Upset Tummies

  • Tums (for heartburn)
  • Antacids (for more severe Indigestion)
  • Ginger and Peppermint tea bags (a natural aid for nausea and upset tummies)
  • Gravol tablets (for adults and children – for motion sickness, nausea and vomiting)
  • Pepto tablets (for all your tummy needs)
  • Metamucil (for constipation)
  • Anti Diarrhea tablets
  • Small cup (for the tea)

Bag 2- Fever, Pain and Discomfort

  • Tylenol (for infants, children and adults)
  • Advil (for adults) and children’s Motrin
  • Ultra strength advil liquid gels (works faster)
  • Muscle Rub (for sore muscles)
  • Preparation h (hemorrhoids)
  • Gold Bond Powder (foot odor)
  • Vaseline and Diaper ointment (I highly recommend Beaudreaus butt paste – for rashes)
  • Cold pack and heat pack
  • Numb 520 with 5% lidocaine (amazing deep numbing pain relief, this will numb someone enough for suturing)
  • Vasocaine Numbing Spray (also amazing, it’s mostly used for tattoos)

Bag 3- Infections and Supplements

  • Rehydration salts (yes, I’ve included these twice)
  • Activated Charcoal (accidental ingestion of toxins)
  • Colloidal silver (Talk to a health care provider first)
  • Oral Antibiotics (for infection – I’ve chosen 3 – talk to your health care provider)
  • Essential oils (tea tree, clove, lavender, eucalyptus and oil of oregano were my choices)
  • Polysporin and Neosporin (for minor scrapes and burns)
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment (in a tube)
  • Honey
  • Foot Fungal Ointment
  • Nystatin (yeast infections)
  • Monistat (yeast infections)
  • Hydrocortisone Cream (treats many skin conditions)
  • Children’s vitamins (Safe for pregnant woman, children and adults)
  • Vitamin D drops (for breastfed babies)
  • Iron supplements (after blood loss)

Education

I have saved the best for last.. Education. Take all the classes you can and read all the books you can get your hands on.  In fact,  pack your favorites in your very own medical bag!! One of my personal favorites is “Where There is no Doctor“. It is also completely FREE to call or drop in to your local pharmacy to ask all the questions you may have about any items you are including in your own medical bag. Talk  to your doctor about any pre existing conditions or concerns. Your knowledge is your best chance of survival.

P.S) Don’t forget to WASH YOUR HANDS!!

14 Comments

  1. FRANK

    February 11, 2017 at 2:15 am

    Really nice bag for your supplies!. Just a couple suggestions, some of the mom & pop owned stores reduce all their over the counter medicine to twenty-five centers per bottle the month it is going to expire. It seems some cities have a city ordinance that forbids the sale of over the counter medicine once it expires. We also had several independent pharmacies that were purchaed by Walgreens and they had a similar sale for all the medical products they didn’t carry whether it was expired or not. Last month we purchased 134 over the counter items like Benedryl, Bayer Aspirin, Nyquil, Immodium, Laxatives, sleep medicine, cough syrup and vitimans all for $33.50. Look in the paper for variety stores, warehouse, freight or salvage type stores. You may have to look around but you may find some good buys out there.
    A couple of suggestions on medication, there are two very different kinds of ingredients in Monistat for yeast infections, the reviews on one of the ingredients says it’s like putting fire ants in a very private place so make sure you purchase the one that has the ingrediants that you want.
    I highly recommend that each person get a setup for suturing and practice on a pigs foot or other piece of meat because suturing requires some degree of dexterity to do it timely and well. I would also purchase a couple of staple guns, there are several different designs out there and also practice with those and see which you personally prefer. At the most you will spend $20-$25 bucks and will have a lot more confidence in handling a situation should the need arise.

    • Hart

      February 11, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Thank you, Frank. I personally do not have a stapler in my medical bag nor am I able to recommend them for this kind of scenario. It has been my experience in caring for post-op patients that staples are much more likely to get infected and also cause more pain. The chances of infection and a great deal of pain would be even more likely if SHTF. I honestly think using staples in a non sterile environment could actually do more harm then good so for that reason, I don’t include them. However, some survival do doctors recommend them (I’m a little surprised by that) so please use your own judgement.

      • FRANK

        February 11, 2017 at 10:30 pm

        From experience I have found that wound infections as the result of sutures to be far more common than staples however there are times when the situation calls for leaving the wound open so I provide the following two articles for those who wish to actually prepare and learn new,skills now while there is still time.

        Stitches, Staples, and Glue: Wound Repair in the Emergency Department | 2011-05-09 | AHC Media: Continuing Medical Education Publishing
        https://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/130565-stitches-staples-and-glue-wound-repair-in-the-emergency-department

        Wound Closure Technique: Overview, Indications, Contraindications
        http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1836438-overview#a1

        There are numerous photos of actual wounds and the proper techniques to close them and advice when just to clean a wound thoroughly and allow it to heal open.

        Always pray for God’s guidance when trying to help another individual remembering that through us He may work a miracle and save a life.

      • Darrell R Clevenger

        July 14, 2017 at 7:34 am

        Do you know who makes the two panel bag you show twice in this article? The one at the very top of the article is a great look.

  2. Steve B

    February 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Great info!! I have a few suggestions…nix the Hydrogen peroxide, it does more damage to skin than it’s worth(from 2 ER nurses I’ve worked with)as to the OPA’s, unless you’ve been trained to use them, you can really do some damage(I’m a former EMT!)and you don’t want that!! As to the Hibiclens..awesome!!! I’ve used this stuff before and it’s a great antimicrobial cleaner!! Lots of great stuff for packing your med bag in this article.. will be adding some of the stuff you have in here that I didn’t think of!!! THANK YOU!!!!

    • FRANK

      February 11, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      Here is a paragraph from the excellent articles on wounds above that confirms your opinion on peroxide but also warns of using several other items to clean out wounds.

      The importance of the inflammatory cells and the local tissue mediators cannot be overstated. In order to preserve these cells and mediators, a wound should be minimally manipulated. Vigorous scrubbing and/or the use of cytotoxic fluids to irrigate a wound can impair and lengthen healing time. Products such as sodium hypochlorite (bleach, diluted or otherwise), hydrogen peroxide, betadine, and alcohol should not be placed directly into a wound. These are all cytotoxic and will destroy inflammatory cells. Simple wound care with sterile water or saline should be used. If necessary, a syringe and intravenous catheter can be used to pressure wash contaminants from dirty wounds.

      Hope this helps, please take time to use the links above, good information to learn from.

      • Hart

        February 12, 2017 at 9:59 am

        Thank you, Frank. You are absolutely correct that wounds should be cleaned with just water or a saline solution. If SHTF we need to avoid infections the best we can. In a pinch, hydrogen peroxide would be okay to use as an antiseptic on a minor cut or scrape. It also makes a good antiseptic mouth rinse if you were doing any kind of oral care so I felt it was something that should be included in my own bag. Please use your own judgement for your bag. I am so glad to see that you are taking the time to research what you put in your bag. Very smart.

        • FRANK

          February 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm

          One last suggestion for those that have a good prepping budget
          North American Rescue is one of several who sell a fully stocked medical bag similar to the one pictured in this article. They also sell the same type bag with level three ballestic panels built into the bag for situations where you need this kind of protection. I do not have anything to do with any company or product I write about. I am retired and have no outside interest but my family and hobbies. If your interested Google the subject and u will find a lot of information.

          • Hart

            February 12, 2017 at 3:34 pm

            It’s funny you should mention that, I ordered a snake bite kit a couple of days ago but have not yet received it. I will keep you updated on if it’s worth the buy or not. We only have garden snakes around here but for the price of the kit, I thought why not?

        • Huples

          February 15, 2017 at 5:20 pm

          A deep contaminated wound should get bubbled with hydrogen peroxide and then cleaned with sterile saline or cooled boiled water. Getting stuff out is the priority not possible wound healing delay

  3. Huples

    February 15, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    You are correct Frank. Stapler is best. As you say wound cleaning is important first. Staples need alternate removal and noob sutures are a devil to remove. If you are suturing do not pull the knot very tight and leave remove to get scissors under each knot

  4. Darrell R Clevenger

    July 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I would like to know what bags those all are in the pictures, especially the 2 panel design.

    • Darrell R Clevenger

      July 11, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      At the very top and the one right above section 4?

      • HART

        July 24, 2017 at 1:09 pm

        Hi Darrell-

        These bags can be found online at amazon.

        -Hart

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