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Old 09-19-2012, 02:43 AM   #1
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Default First aid, medical kit

I am considering buying a new medical kit. The one's which can be bought pre-prepared seem to contain a percentage of junk and for an offshore kit, between $700 and $1000 seems extraordinarily expensive.

So, what are your suggestions bearing in mind the leg from Mexico to the French Marquesas will take three weeks minimum?

I have checked out the cost of dressings etc here in Thailand, and it appears it may be a cost effective strategy to buy a lot of the non medicine inclusions here, before I get on the big silver bird.

For the record, I have no allergies, no pre-existing conditions and nothing generally which would suggest that I am going to become ill excluding the usual problems associated with mozzie bites and iffy food from street vendors.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:45 AM   #2
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we have a thread with a bit of information here http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/f12...ers-882-2.html

I'll get back with you on our kit--it's extensive and I've been drafting a post about it for our blog so you've given me incentive to get that post done! I'll post the content here shortly.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:02 AM   #3
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See doctor in mexico and do a kit there.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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I've only ever used the scalpel blade, tweezers, the betadine swabs, and the pain pills. I have no idea if this is typical or just chance random data.

I like pain pills, anti-biotics, tweezers scalpel blades, and betadine for all punctures and scrapes and cuts. Broken bone type injury you need to just quiet the pain and isolate the injury which a sailor can do with what's aboard.

Illness is tough. If you have stuff for diarrhea and other stomach maladies and for fever you might be about as good as you are going to get.

You are not going to catch any virus you didn't leave with. If you can deal with bad food problems, that is a real possibility, though it doesn't happen to me in practice much.

You aren't going to remove your own appendix, or do much real surgery. If your heart stops half way it's prolly over for you, whatever you bring.

A year and a half ago I needed to splint my thumb and used a bottle opener and medical tape. It worked fine. Lots of medical tape in different sizes is good.

You might check out this product:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...lay.arfa&hl=en
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:07 PM   #5
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I think there is a lot of sense in what you say. On my last big trip I carried hypodermic needles, lignocaine, sutures and more dressings than I could have used in three weeks in an Indian hospital.

I tend to agree with dressings, saline, antispetics, disinfectants, and pain management goodies...plus a few decent tools: thermometer, scissors, tweezers, scalpal, lance, a few bits of timber, a hammer and a bag of nails......oops.

Eye patches and bath, plenty of swabs, cotton balls, surgical alcohol.

I think, given the sophisticated nature of our communications devices on board these days the need to carry half a hospital is much reduced.

But then again maybe I'm just being a bloke and I'm sure my Mum would disagree with the minimalist approach.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:45 PM   #6
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Hi Auzzee,
Looks like you have great advice from those who have been there. I have bolded some items that I'd recommend including, since they haven't been mentioned yet:

Have you considered chemical (crackable) ice? Can make a huge difference in pain control and inflammation from sprains and fractures.

First aid kit: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia is a basic link from NIH for first aid. However if you are far out, some other measures may need to be used. As you probably already know, an infection can spread rapidly and should be controlled as soon as possible after a cut/laceration. Sterile water is first poured over the wound to wash bacteria and debris, then closure and cover to protect from invading bacteria. Having "steri-strips" can be very helpful for larger cuts, to hold the sides together. Another good one is dermabond - a kind of glue you can use to seal the wound shut. This is a good article about this: Your Health -

Of course being up on all immunizations is very good - especially tetanus and travel vaccines...depending on where you go. All medicines should be checked for expiry dates and replaced. Those Costco sized bottles are the worst - people use a part of them and they expire before you know it.

One last item can be a life-saver is an epi-pen (epinephrine injection). I know of someone "without any issues and in good health" tasted a new fruit while travelling in a remote area and immediately went into anaphylactic shock from an unknown allergy. He was raced to the hospital just in time.

I hope this helps!
Kirsten
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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In our modern world help is usually close to everyone all the time. Based on that, First Aid is designed to stabilize and keep people alive until they can be brought to a hospital. The kits and practices taught are all kinda implicitly designed around that model.

If you are adventuring, though, that might not be your reality. You have whatever you have and know whatever you know.

I have long wanted to take formal training in first aid, I just haven't had the time.

On my last long trip I was the senior medical officer. My qualification was that I was dating an optometrist.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:33 PM   #8
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Auzzie,

I worked out of the back of an ambulance for 12 years, and when I started cruising I brought everything uder the sun with me. Luckily, I have used very little of it. I posted just as you have seeking the advice of the more experienced before my departure, and got varied answers... Some of the best advice that I remember was to carry Lemons, Limes, and Vinegar. These are useful for many things one runs across at sea! I have taught "Wilderness Medicine" for many years in many different venues, and I preach about "sterile dressings"! It is the hardest thing to find and make in a remote environment.

General use, otherwise called wide spectrum antibiotics will require a prescription, but are good to have. The same goes for something for pain! Don't forget a kit to address tooth pain!!! Triple antibiotic ointment should go along. Over-the-counter meds to address vomiting, diahhrea, constipation, etceteras are good things. Over-the-counter pain meds such as Tylenol (APAP), Advil (Ibuprophen), should of course go. A local topical pain reliever may also require a prescription, but can make a bad situation bearable. A corticosteroidal cream and Benadryl (Dyphenhydramine) are also good to have.

Pick a physician (or use Mexico's over-the-counter system) to get what you think you may need, but don't try to go overboard... While it is certainly better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it, common sense should apply.

Foot injuries are the number one injury on a boat! Ice and heat packs help along with the forementioned bandages. I could write a detailed post if you wish, but I have read your posts for years, and I am not really worried about you.

Have a way to make or get potable water...

As silly as it may seem, Medical Training will get you farther without much in the way of supplies over many supplies without medical training...

David
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:06 PM   #9
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Wildernesstech,

You are probably exactly the guy to write about this topic. I'd read and even print out anything you care to write. I bet I'm not alone. That field experience in medicine combined with a history of going remote makes you kinda rare and valuable.

Unless I can seduce (and keep) a nurse, I'm pretty much on my own as are a lot of us.

I know if it's a cut, you get it clean and keep it clean and apply antibiotics and again at the first sign of infection.

Burns I don't really know. Breaks and dislocations I know you have to be careful not to do more damage than you fix. Allergies we have Benadryl and epi-pen, though I would be hesitant to use the latter.

I agree about the training and wish I had some. A mechanic without tools is more useful than tools without a mechanic.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:13 AM   #10
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Hi Wildernesstech and Maiden's Voyage, thanks for the great tips. Preparing a medical kit is, I think, an evolutionary thing. As each day goes by, the list changes. Items are removed and added and I am sure as time goes on the ideal kit for my own use will become apparent. Each link I am given provides yet more good information and while it will be difficult to cover all possible eventualities, the development of a first class kit is going to be the best researched resource on my boat.

Red is in the process of putting a list together for posting and, knowing her careful planning, forethought and wisdom in all areas of shipboard life, I eagerly await its publication.

Please keep this thread in mind. We all need good first aid skills and the associated dressings and medicines. I can see this becoming a very valuable resource for all sailors whether cruising or just puttering along a coastline.

Coyote, I am particularly interested in the optometrist option...how did that work out for you?
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:43 AM   #11
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Eventually, and wisely she left me. Then it was a dentist. Then a pacemaker installer. There was a lawyer in there somewhere, but that adds no value at all. All, wisely, moved on to better things.

I'm going to claim some residual wisdom clung to me, but I'm clearly blowing smoke up your, um, transom.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:50 AM   #12
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Apart from the usual bandages and dressing material, all you need is mms.
You will have to inform yourself.
Jim Humble in Mexico
MMS 4 Africa
African Online Health Shop
might give you some ideas.

It's inexpensive and very versatile. It also purifies drinking water.

Because nobody can make big money from it, you will have to invest time and inform yourself.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:46 AM   #13
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Hi Hansulrich, thanks for the tips. I'm sure there is some benefit to be found from using the product which you promote, however I feel the reliance on, when one is alone and a long, long way from traditional medical help, on a product whose claims are shrouded in controversy and the benefits of which are formally unproven scientifically or empirically, could be a little foolhardy. Space on a cruising yacht is always at a premium and allocating space to what I am sure is a worthwhile concept, over proven medical science is simply not an option.

I am not judging the product so much as putting faith in the people who are charged by the public with ensuring all medicines and preparations are viable and effective.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:03 PM   #14
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Hi, Well, I am not really promoting mms. I am using it and it works every time. The mineral salts are known for over 100 years. All the details are known. But because it is old and well known, it can not be patented and therefore no big money can be made. Thats the reason that the industry is fighting mms with nail and teeth.

The industry relies on uninformed people like you who rather spend money than learn something new.

How do you keep the drinking water in the boats tanks clean?

How do you heal Malaria and how long will it take and how much cost?

How to you heal burns? (very frequent on boats)

what if you are bitten by a sting ray?

Food poisoning, incl. Cholera?

Well, it's your choice. I spread the information and then it's up to you to make use of it of to let it slip by.

Yes, and I am waiting for a useful medical kit for boat use!

Hansulrich
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