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We’ve been watching the events unfolding in the DC area this last week with the storms and the outages. We’re praying for the people who have been severely affected and have been watching to see the many lessons that come out of it. One of the issues that people have been dealing with is how to survive the heat without air conditioning. Fortunately, most of the world has lived without air conditioning for the majority of recorded history and I’ll point you to a resource for dealing with this very issue after we talk about medical supplies…
Survival Diva here to discuss prepping for a day when ambulances aren’t running and you’re left on your own to handle an emergency. Medical supplies are a must-have for any prepper, but if you’re already juggling putting food storage aside and ticking off other preparedness items on your list, adding another task can be overwhelming. There’s good news: You can put aside a very basic stash of medical supplies for around $50 which is listed in this post.
You will also need a thorough First Aid manual. Even those on a budget can afford this when purchasing one gently used at places like Amazon or a local used book store. Next, I highly recommend “Where There Is No Doctor” and “Where There Is No Dentist”. These books were written for situations in 3rd world countries when a doctor’s care may be unavailable and supplies are limited, which is the exact situation we’re likely to be confronted with when a crisis strikes.
A book will NOT save a loved one, however! Taking first aid classes and reading the reference books you purchase, learning the rudiments, can.
One of the most concerning issues, already mentioned in your comments on Secrets Of Urban Survival is how to stockpile medications for those dependent upon them, including heart meds, insulin, and anti-psychotic meds to name a few. Many preppers turn to naturopathic remedies which may work well for certain medication needs. However, for others it will take in-depth research and asking those in the medical profession for recommendations. I have known of folks who have ordered their meds online, but when doing so, be aware that the meds sold are not always what they are purported to be. So, beware!
Many human remedies are the same or similar to those used for animals and the animal versions of many medications can be had by taking a trip to a feed and seed store. Just know that medications made for and labeled for animal use may not legally be used by humans. I don’t know what the penalty is for doing so, and I’m not going to suggest that you go and do this without researching laws in your area.
You’ll find suggested dosages online, but always use due diligence and Study, Study, Study! NOTE: Certain medications must be kept refrigerated, so pre-plan for a grid-down situation. (David’s note: Animal medications with “USP, or United States Pharmacopiea” on the label are required by the FDA to have the same primary drug content as their human counterpart. Even so, they are still not legal for human consumption.)
Before we get started, I must give credit to The Patriot Nurse and her YouTube videos, which are thorough, well thought out, and gutsy. This is where I learned what to put aside for medical emergencies. Therefore, the lists supplied here stems directly from her recommendations. NOTE: In her videos, she mentions http://www.shopmedvet.com/ due to their affordable prices on certian medical supplies, many times one-fourth the cost if purchased elsewhere. It’s a vet supply wholesaler, so you won’t find everything you are looking for. For the record, I have no affiliation to either; neither personal or economic.
The list of medical supplies intentionally does not include prescription medicines. It is up to each of us to access need and research methods to set aside necessary medications.
Disclaimer: Otherwise known as a CYA. I am sharing this information for research purposes only and cannot recommend nor take responsibility for the purchase of, or the use of, any item listed below.
There, now that’s been said, lets have a look at the lists.
Just The Basics: Just as with food storage, many times people freeze in their tracks when they first attempt to put aside medical supplies. It can be overwhelming! And doubt can equate to “I Give Up!” Don’t let that be you. The items in this first section can be purchased over the counter for around $50, provided you penny-pinch! Look to dollar stores and sales, or big-box stores who sell for less. The basic list helps combat the top killers, globally, which are as follows:
- Upper Respiratory Infection–leading to pneumonia
- Diarrhea—leading to dehydration
- Wounds—Leading to Blood Loss & Infection
Build Your Medical Supplies: Just The Basics
- 4inch X 4inch Sterile Gauze Pads
- Band Aids—Get plenty in assorted sizes!
- Non-Adherent Sterile Pads (Both Sterile to protect wounds and larger to wrap wounds)
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Hydrogen Peroxide (For cleaning wounds and can be used as a gargle for tooth abscess)
- Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (Yeast infection, stomach upset and more)
- Ibuprofen (Fever reducer & helps to control inflammation)
- Children’s Fever Reducer
- Tylenol (Fever reducer)
- Benadryl (Treatment for nausea, insomnia, allergy)
- Penlight Flashlight (To check for sore throat & pupil dilation with head trauma)
- Surgical Tape
- Feminine Pads (Can also be used as economical bandaging for larger wounds)
- Mucinex (Helps reduce upper respiratory infection & the chance of pneumonia)
- Triple Antibiotic Ointment (Helps to control infection of wounds)
- Hydrocortisone Cream (For treatment of rashes, poison oak and poison ivy, etc.)
- Butt Paste (Treatment for chafing)
- Non-latex Examination Gloves (Helps to avoid cross-contamination)
- Instant Cold Packs (Used for relief of sprains)
- Thermometer–Both Adult and Children
- Ace Wraps
Some may choose to stop at Just The Basics list, but if you can afford it on down the road and have the necessary medical training, the following, more in-depth list, is a step up from Just The Basics. As you will see, the list is extensive and listed in no particular order. Note: Items already listed in The Just The Basics list were not included in this, more advanced list. This is by no means a complete list. Do your research.
Level 2 Medical List:
- N-95 Respirator (Helps protect against disease borne illness)
- CPR Mask (Avoids cross-contamination when administering CPR: available at the Red Cross)
- Saline Solution (Used to irrigate wounds—SHORT shelf life)
- Extra Contacts Lenses
- Contact Solution
- Extra Glasses
- Carmex/Lip Balm
- Ear Plugs
- Eye Solution (For treatment of Pink Eye)
- Eye Wash (To rid the eye of foreign debris)
- Quikclot (Helps control bleeding)
- Ankle Brace—Lace-up is recommended
- Knee Brace
- Air Cast
- Crutches (Look to 2nd Hand Stores & Thrift Stores to save $)
- Finger Splints
- Emergency Blanket
- Dermoplast (Topical pain reliever )
- Mosquito repellant
- Aloe Gel (Treats minor burn pain)
- Anti fungal Ointment
- Vagicare (For feminine itch & skin irritation)
- Epsom Salts (Helps in the treatment of sprains)
- Duct Tape (Can be used to remove warts & to adhere large bandages in a pinch)
- or Pregnancy Tests
- Rolled Gauze
- Tongue Depressors
- Splinter Removal Kit
- Baby Powder (Can be used to alleviate chafing as well)
- Diaper Rash Ointment
- Petroleum Jelly (Also used to seal wounds & used as a moisturizer)
- Lotion (To treat dry skin)
- Tea Tree Oil (Natural method to treat bug bites)
- Calamine Lotion (Treats itching, bug bites, poison oak, poison Ivy, etc. )
- Potassium Iodide (For pre-treatment of exposure to radiated iodine particles: Beware of allergies to Iodine before treatment & use with pregnant women and small children! It coats the thyroid to avoid cancer long after radiation exposure)
- Kerlix Gauze Bandage Rolls (Absorbent and will hold sterile bandages in place)
- Sutures (For deeper, larger cuts and wounds, administered by those medically trained)
- Mole Foam (Helps to avoid blisters when hiking long distances)
- Cohesive Bandages
- Sterile Swabs
- Basic Face Mask
- Dental Probe
- Dental Mirror
- Sterile Swabs
- Steri Strips (Used for deep, smaller cuts that do not require stitches)
- Elastic Gauze Bandages 6-inch X 4-inch
- Clove Oil (Home remedy: Helps relieve toothache)
- Dental Wax
- Dental Floss
- Floss Threader
- Cool Downz (Neck cooler)
- Pepto Bismol Chewable Tablets (Used for stomach upset and diarrhea)
- Zantac (Antacid for stomach ache)
- Ginger (Home remedy for stomach ache)
- Dramamine (Used for the treatment of nausea)
- New Skin (Used for cuts)
- Halls Menthol Cough Drops
- Vicks VapoRub
- Nasal Spray
- Saline Nasal Spray
- AZO Yeast (For treatment of yeast infections)
- AZO Standard (For treatment of urinary tract infection)
- Castor Oil (Used as a laxative BUT adverse effects are reported for pregnant and breastfeeding women and small children)
- Acidophilus (For help with digestion)
- Imodium (For the treatment of diarrhea)
- Anti-Diarrhea Meds, Misc.
- Fish Oil
- Vitamin B-12
- Melatonin (For sleep)
- Vitamin D-3
For those with extensive medical training, some move on to advanced prepping for wounds, surgery, and setting broken bones–which may or may not include the following:
- Surgery Gloves (These are individually pkgd and one step up from surgical gloves)
- Surgical Kit
- Blood Pressure Cuff
- Bandage Scissors
- Explorers/Outfitters Dental kit (much more extensive, but can be costly)
- Explorers/Outfitters Medical Kit (Can be expensive $250 – $500. Buy only when contents are listed and supplier is recommended)
- Lap Sponges (Used for surgery)
- Kelly Forceps
- LMA Mask (Used for blocked airway)
- Ambu Bag (Resuscitator/used to assist breathing: Comes in Infant, Child & Adult sizes)
- Olsen Hegar Needle Holder/scissor combination forceps
- Pulse Oximeter (Measures oxygen saturation in the blood)
- Fetal Doppler Monitor (To listen to fetal heart-tones during birth)
- Central Venous Catheter Kit (Used to administer IV fluids)
- Ringers Lactate
- Arm & Leg Splints
- Orthopedic Casting Tape (Used to set broken bones)
As with nearly everything involved with prepping, the wisest approach with regards to what you will add to your personal medical supply stash is by considering your specific needs and your expertise.
What have you done to prepare for medical needs during a crisis? Have any good tips? Any in the medical profession who can impart information to the group? Comments already posted are encouraged to re-post—there are thousands of newcomers who visit Secrets of Urban Survival each and every day looking for answers. Please share, so the rest of us can take life-saving notes!
(David’s note: As a former ski patroller / backpacking guide who worked as an OEC [Wilderness EMT], I’ve got a few inexpensive, high leverage items to add in:
Epi pen [for severe allergic reactions]
Tampons [can cause toxic shock if you stick them in impalement wounds and S U C K to remove and clean in a hospital setting, but they are good for packing wounds in the mouth, placing focused pressure on a wound that you’re wrapping, for buying a few extra seconds to pick your location with severe diarrhea, and for their intended purpose.]
Pen and paper
Keep in mind that, in areas with Good Samaritan laws, you are generally only covered up to the level of care that you’ve been formally trained. If you perform medical/trauma care above your level of certification, you are opening yourself up to civil and/or criminal action. It is your responsibility to research the laws where you live and/or travel and decide your own course of action based on your comfort level.
In any case, I suggest that you initially only buy items that you know how to use and focus on training to learn how to treat more and more medical and trauma issues. You’ll find that as you learn more about your body and how it works, you appreciate your body more and become more in-tune with it. This is another case where time that you spend learning medical and trauma skills will benefit you regardless of whether you ever have to use them in a life or death situation.
Initially, I said that I’d point you to a resource for how to deal with power outages during the hottest parts of the summer. 49 weeks ago, I wrote an article on that exact topic, and I encourage you to read it again to brush up on the information. You can read it by going here: http://www.secretsofurbansurvival.com/999/surviving-extreme-heat-and-power-outages/
What are your thoughts/experiences with the DC area outages? How about medical supplies and training…where does it sit on your priority list and how advanced of training do you intend to get? If you have advanced training, what are you doing to use the training, stay sharp, and not forget what you learned? Please share your thoughts by commenting below: