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Old 22-11-2015, 01:56   #1
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First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

Hi to all,

I am an inexperienced sailor setting sail with my husband ( an experienced sailor) for a trip across the atlantic with our dog Tank, he is also in experienced! My main concern for the trip is keeping us all well and fit for our 6 month trip. Can anyone suggest a list of items that would be useful in my first aid kit? We are in England so medications etc are going to be difficult to obtain other than Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Any advise would be extremely helpful.

Thanks
Sally
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Old 22-11-2015, 02:55   #2
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

Hi Sally,

you might be able to find a course like these offered by Seadoc ((mainly) in Germany): Medical Aid at Sea. First Aid Kits and Courses for sailors

My wife and I did a course over a weekend and we would highly recommend these kind of courses (meanwhile we are refreshing this every 2 years).

When doing deliveries or 'long range sailing' on our own we take a bag from Seadoc with us: http://seadoc.de/down/kataloge/Catalogue2015.pdf

The Cruising Association in the UK (RYA First Aid at Sea Course | CA) offers also courses, no idea how good they are.

Safe sailing!

Carsten
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Old 22-11-2015, 04:27   #3
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

For medical kits, take a look at this site
SeaMedic - Marine Medical Kits for Serious Sailors

In the UK, if you have the time and think it's worth while to get the training, then take a look at the "Medical Care on board" course.
This can be undertaken at most maritime training establishments around the UK.
I've done this course, and the refresher courses every 5 years, and it's a good course. You'll need to undertake the basic first aid course course first.

As to obtaining prescription meds, not sure about that, but first place to ask would be the RYA.
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Old 22-11-2015, 04:48   #4
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

Hi, & welcome to CF!

I can't speak to your locale, specifically, as I'm (currently) US based. But there are a few "standard" routes when putting together on offshore medical kit.
Also, investigating/planning such, is wise on your part.

- Do some digging into what goes into an ORC (Offshore Racing Council) & similar Governing Racing bodies, mandated first aid kits. And then start asking at some of the various Yacht Clubs how they get theirs assembled.
Typically there will be a number of persona on the Club's rosters who can field such questions. As can Skippers & crew who do any degree of offshore racing. And odds are they'll know of some MD's who will/may be willing to assist you with putting together such kits.

- Talk to your MD, & tell him/her what your plans are. And also have the lists of what goes into these types of kits (with you at the time when you ask). So that it's obvious why you need such.
As there are no MD's or Emergency Rooms offshore, etc.

- Talk to some First Responders; Paramedics, EMT's, Military Medics, etc. & get their suggestions... On sources for supplies & Meds, as well as for courses which you can take in order to learn more on the subjects.
And if you have the time & inclination, you could get started in the training to become one. I did as much here, by just starting out my training as a Volunteer Fireman, to begin with.
FYI: Those with "Street Level" experience, like Military Medics, Nurses, EMT's, etc. will probably be able to give you the most amount of hands on knowledge & expertise in handling things/what to prep for.

- It pays to have your MD send an official letter with you stating what's in your med kit (preferably in several common languages). Specifiying; what, & in what amounts.

- Pills, generally, are preferable to injectables. As they draw less attention of folks assuming that such equipment is for the wrong intentions. And they're easily accountable for.

- If/when you have to use something from your kit that's other than for basic, daily stuff, such needs to be noted in the ship's log.
And putting copies of the MD's letter, & meds list into said log is wise also.

- Talking to other cruisers is a good source of info, especially on the latest for wherever you plan to visit next, & is/may also be on your planned visitation (or emergency stop) list.

And hopefully other members here will chime in on this. But I'm thinking that it might be wise, to gently question some officialdom, like embassies & travel sections of various govts about all of the above too.

While some of this is intimidating, most places which have yachts coming & going regularly are used to dealing with such things. That, & how you conduct yourself; in general, & regarding handling this aspect of travel, is the big one.

For trauma items, a place to start is www.NArescue.com & more often than not, a lot of the gear, kits, & items which they carry, can be found in the usual, aftermarket locales, for Far cheaper than their listed prices.
However, the lists which they have for dealing with various types of traumas are handy ones. Ditto on some of their reference material. It's leagues beyond anything you'll find in recreational kits, references, or texts.

Also, Practical Sailor (& others) routinely review med kits. But IMO, said "consumer" kits are primarily for the untrained. As, if you think through what kinds of medical stuff you'll likely have to deal with, you can put together your own kits to be far, far more capable.

The basis for what goes into your kit too, depends a lot upon:
- Your level of training & or certification.
- Your planned longest passage/distance from a port (for real medical help).
For example, if you're going to the trouble (& expense) of buying gear for burn care, you need to know how much of what, to realistically purchase.
- Your communications range & setup. As with long range comms, it's a lot easier to get help in dealing with a medical situation. And this is worth studying on too.
- The number of crew onboard (maximum, not just you & your other half).

PS: - If you Really get into a bind on the meds thing, contact me. As there are other (fairly easy sources for them) but I prefer not to post such.
Also, on supplies & training, if finding specifics is proving tough, given a bit of time, I can likely scare some up. Though there's little shortage of info out there on the internet, once you start following links. But again, start with long distance racers, & go from there... possibly over on Sailing Anarchy Forums.
Though, naught beats face to fact time, when it comes to finding solutions
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Old 22-11-2015, 05:16   #5
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

When I was in the U.K. and preparing my medical kit I went to a NHS doctor for a consultation in order to get the prescription for the antibiotics and analgesics that I wanted. All in all the stay in the waiting room took longer than the consultation itself and getting the various strong prescription drugs and antibiotics was not a problem.
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Old 22-11-2015, 05:23   #6
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Sally.
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Old 22-11-2015, 09:14   #7
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

We have "Advanced First Aid Afloat" and the "USA Special Forces Medical Handbook" on board.

I was totally able to intimidate the kids by asking them if I could take their appendix out or remove a tooth.

Very effective books.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAMarais View Post
Hi to all,

I am an inexperienced sailor setting sail with my husband ( an experienced sailor) for a trip across the atlantic with our dog Tank, he is also in experienced! My main concern for the trip is keeping us all well and fit for our 6 month trip. Can anyone suggest a list of items that would be useful in my first aid kit? We are in England so medications etc are going to be difficult to obtain other than Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Any advise would be extremely helpful.

Thanks
Sally
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Old 22-11-2015, 09:25   #8
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

Another good medical guide here
https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-medical-guide
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Old 22-11-2015, 09:37   #9
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

There are also the old standby's Where There Is No Doctor & Where There Is No Dentist
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Old 22-11-2015, 11:24   #10
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

I've cruised and lived remotely with pets. There are many meds that apply to both dog & human, just at different dosages. Common stuff like amoxicillan for example. Discuss with a vet and where you can, choose dual use meds that fit your situation.

Also, virtually all of the hardware and wound dressing materials in a first aid kit work just fine for both.

Basic stuff like a good surgical scrub and a large syringe or bulb to clean wounds is what you will likely use the most for both man and beast.
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Old 22-11-2015, 12:24   #11
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

The strongest pain relief you can get your doctor to give you.... probably something like Codeine Forte.
General purpose painkiller such as Panadol or similar.
An anti-inflamatory such as Iboprofen.
A broad spectrum antibiotic such as amoxycillin.
Something like Flagyl for treatment of Giardia.
Imodium or similar for diarrhoea
Iodine or Betadyne antiseptic.
Burn ointment such as Silver Sulphadiazine.
An antinausea like metronidazole.
Stugeron.
Assortment of wound dressings, splints, bandages.
Sewing kit.

Your list should include anything specific to your own health.

We have a bit more than the above but all we have ever used thus far touch wood etc is Flagyl,some antibiotics, and a bit of pain relief.

We always take lots of Vitamin C.... wards off the dreaded scurvy and lots of other ailments besides.

Make sure all your jabs are up-to-date...esp tetanus.
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Old 22-11-2015, 12:44   #12
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
I've cruised and lived remotely with pets. There are many meds that apply to both dog & human, just at different dosages. Common stuff like amoxicillan for example. Discuss with a vet and where you can, choose dual use meds that fit your situation.

Also, virtually all of the hardware and wound dressing materials in a first aid kit work just fine for both.

Basic stuff like a good surgical scrub and a large syringe or bulb to clean wounds is what you will likely use the most for both man and beast.
Also, meds for pets are less regulated in some areas, so you might be able to get around some regulations that way. My vet has helped me that way before, kinda silly, same meds.

Lidocaine is a good local anesthetic to have aboard. Handy for numbimg wound areas for cleaning/closure. Good for both man & beast. Extreme dosage required for overdose (so not practical for killing the Captain!)

And another handy first aid trick...sugar. Learned this treating a badly cut dog in a remote location. Sugar's osmotic effect will rupture bacterial cell walls and thus help to keep wounds from getting infected. Pack open wound with sugar, dress it, and change/clean every couple of days (depending on how much discharge). This dog had a deep & long machette gash on his head. This wound never got infected, was never closed (no sutures etc), and healed perfectly...I cannot even find the scar today.
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Old 22-11-2015, 13:16   #13
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

It might be helpful if your included your ages. Obviously, 20-somethings have a very different set of problems than 60-somethings. Like you, I am not a terribly experienced sailor, but my other hobbies and my advocation have a lot of parallels. Probably in this order, I would do these things:

1. Red Cross first responder course. Probably has saved more lives than any other course. It is a few days and teaches you how to get through until help arrives.
2. Red Cross life guard course. With just two of you aboard, you both need to know rescue and resuscitation methods.
3. Learn how and when to use sutures and butterflies. I know a lot of people are really squeamish about this, but a few stitches in a serious cut can make a huge difference in healing times and comfort of the injury. It really helps if you have some novocaine and know how to use it.
4. Carry and learn how to use a saline IV's. Dehydration is a serious risk in any activity where you are exposed to the elements. It's not hard but you need to practice. Love is trusting your partner to practice on you.
5. I don't know about GB, but in the states you can buy about any drug you want online and have them shipped to you. Most of them come out of India. I would have a good selection of broad spectrum antibiotics as well as more specific meds. Related to this, know what you and your partner are allergic to and know how to spot an allergic reaction to an antibiotic. I have never been allergic to anything but had a sinus infection last winter. I got my standard stuff from my doc and the next day I was covered in a rash that itched horribly. It took a strong course of steroids and well as a change in antibiotics to get rid of it. My point is, those allergies can pop up any time.
6. Learn the common signs of a heart attack and stroke and what to do about them. Obviously, you need to know CPR as well as practice it. I take a refresher on this every year.
7. Get a good travel insurance medical policy. I see that DAN is now offering cruiser policies. I would make sure whatever I got included air ambulance transport to a non-third (or second) world country, preferably your home country. A good friend of mine crashed a few years ago during the Iron Butt Rally in a remote part of Nevada. The helicopter ride and subsequent emergency treatment was over $40K. Fortunately, he had a policy that covered this. It think his out of pocket was around $4K.
8. Figure out how you are going to request assistance if you need it. I would not depend on VHF or cell phones.
9. This should have gone earlier, but carry splits (I like the inflatable ones) and know how to reset a dislocation. People fall all the time. Popping a shoulder back in place is not hard if you know how. PS, it hurts like hell but the relief is immediate. The problem is that most people are really timid about resetting joints. Don't be. They person that has something dislocated will thank you.

I realize most of this is common sense and I am sure people with much more experience will add a lot, but I hope this helps.

Regards,
Doug
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Old 22-11-2015, 13:24   #14
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

Splints are good....

Splints can be used for almost anything and almost anything can be used for splints.

Mine were last used to mend a dinghy oar....
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Old 22-11-2015, 13:43   #15
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Re: First Aid kits for ocean cruising for Dog and Human

Here in the US I recommend taking a "wilderness first responder" course. It's about 100 hours of training, and designed specifically for raft and mountaineering guides who have to deal with emergencies when help is days away. A typical first aid class is designed to situations when an ambulance is minutes away, and won't help you in a remote location.
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