Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wilderness Medicine

It happens. We trip, slip and manage to mangle ourselves, miles from the nearest road, much less the nearest medical clinic. That's why it is so important to follow the old Boy Scout motto "be prepared."

For me, that means having along the necessities of medicine needed to care for what can occur. because the bushcrafters mantra is the more you know, the less you carry, my kit is small. Small is good, uncomplicated, uncluttered, easy and quick. Small is likely to be carried. We all know that a fully stocked hospital quality first aid kit is of no use if it is not present when needed, back in the rig or camp. With this small kit I can take care of most any wounds... but what is it missing, what eventualities can happen that I should plan for?

I have been doing some reading lately. Actually, reading might be to strong a term. Scanning might be better. I have read all these books though, and combined with a bit of thought and planning, as well as some basic medical training (I am an EMT-Basic), I feel I am well prepared to overcome just about any situation I might face in the backcountry.

I should also mention that this is my emergency first aid kit. I only use this stuff for emergencies. I have a couple band aids and some pain relievers (Tylenol PM) in my toiletries kit.

I highly recommend that you do your own research. Dig around on the internet, visit Barnes and Noble, go borrow a book or few from your local library on wilderness first aid. It is a very important part of being prepared for the adventures we undertake.

Here's what is in my kit:
Bandages (also called band-aids)
Iodine pads
Alcohol pads
Neosporin/ antibiotic ointment
Athletic tape
Gauze pads
Cotton tipped swabs (AKA q-tips)
Cough drops
Salt/ rehydration tabs
Pain relief tablets
*Not in picture:
smallest model Swiss Army knife (mainly for the scissors and tweezers)

All this weighs less than 1# and fits in a really small amount of space. It is always with me in the backcountry.

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