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Old 09-08-2010, 06:40   #1
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Question Storing Medical Supplies Aboard ?

What solutions have you all come up with for storing you long term/ everyday medical supplies aboard your boat (not ditch bag items)?

We're struggling with a way to (1) keep them organized (2) keep them accessible and easy to find for all crew members (3) keep them safe and dry (4) where to hold them all!?

We're a family of 3 soon to be 4 and we have the physical space aboard our catamaran for the medical supplies, just no real good ideas on HOW to keep them. If anyone has photos of their stuff as well that would be great!

Thanks!

(Cindy, schoonerdog's wife)
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:47   #2
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We have nothing special to offer here. Our vitamins are shelved in the galley; currently used prescription meds are in the head; and back-ups stored are in our clothing lockers. We do use a three month mail ordered supply of prescription meds that we have forwarded to ports by St. Brendans Isle and this is suitable for our cruising style. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:51   #3
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It depends on how much you have.

There are two main options: A rigid case, and a soft case. Soft cases are easier to stow, grab and go. I'm partial to cases made by Conterra-Inc Trauma Kits - CONTERRA TECHNICAL SYSTEMS, Unique EMS and Rescue Gear

Rigid cases can be completely waterproof. Pelican cases are typically used, Conterra has a few options as well (btw, I just buy stuff from them, no other involvement).

Or you can use tupperware or rubbermaid containers.

I'd recommend packing almost everything in ziplock bags, plus whatever case you choose, to keep the supplies drier.

As far as the kit, get the stuff you think you want to store together first. Then get a case big enough to hold it: Lots of people get a case and over-stuff it because it's too small, or feel that they have to fill it up because it's too big. The case comes after the supplies.

I'd also recommend dividing your medical supplies into "Real Emergency FA Supplies" and the stuff you use casually, every day. Things like bandaids, q-tips, antibiotic ointment, etc should be kept handy, because opening a large kit results in the kit being disorganized and not restocked.
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:33   #4
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My wife puts our daily (morning and evening) doses of pills in little plastic bags sold for the purpose. She labels them. That certainly keeps them "organized".

Other than that, whatever works for you and your boat. We have a first aide kit as well as some individual supplies stored in the head in the cabinets. No different from home, really.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:20   #5
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We have two different medical kits. (sorry, no pics) One is the everyday bandaid, neosporin, antiseptic, tylenol etc. kit. It is actually a basket to make retrieving/and putting supplies away easy so it stays tidy. The second medical kit is stored in a canvas zip up case that is divided into several sections of seperate zippered containers. They are divided into type of injury so you only pull out only what is needed at the time. I think mine has catagories such as burns, breaks/sprains, bleeding, eye etc. We also have two medical books stored within the case. I thought this would be handy if I needed to take the medical kit to another boat (or was panicking too much to search throught he book case!) I will be revamping the contents and maybe adding sections before we head off but the organization system works well and won't be changed as it provides quick and easy access to what I am looking for and I don't have ruffle through the entire kit to find supplies.

Good luck finding a solution that works best for you-and I hope you never have to use it.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:50   #6
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I recommend the 'locknlock" containers, watertight and all sorts of convenient sizes.

We have a number of boxes on board:

1. All antibiotics/prescription drugs along with the relevant paperwork to satisfy customs etc.

2. Trauma box. Scalpels,needles, local anesthetic, wound sutures,sterile dressings etc.Nitro-glycerine spray for heart attacks.

3.Stings box. Antihistamine, bite kit, tablets and creams.Skin creams,hydro-cortisone,sulphur etc

4. Eyes. Wash solution, drops,patches.

5.General pain. Aspirin etc, gels for muscle pain.

6. Other. Cold remedies, teeth repair kit, laxative,

7. Sea sickness. Patches and tablets and rehydration solutions

8. Ditch box. In the abandon ship kit with prescription drugs, seasickness meds, small trauma kit.

On ocean crossings we also carry morphine.

It sounds a lot but takes up relatively little space. We tend to cruise in remoter situations where there is little/no access to services.

Mostly the stuff is never used, in fact we have given more away than used ourselves but I find it reassuring that it's all there should we need it.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:46   #7
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(1) keep them organized,
(2) keep them accessible and easy to find for all crew members,
(3) keep them safe and dry,
(4) where to hold them all!?

We kept very little onboard and we used perhaps 5% of what we carried. But I believe this will differ if someone onboard has a medical condition. Also, on any long cruise it is a good idea to have some surplus - just in case you run into someone who does not have access to the blessings of "our" world (meaning not so much the cruisers as more often local people in remote areas).

Anyway:
(1) keep them organized,

A well secured chest, that will stay put no matter what (strapped down) and not get smashed by flying objects or flooded. (A chest is better than a bag, read on). Orange in colour and with a bloody huge white cross on it. Symbols and colors speak louder than any labels. Such medical chests have zillions of drawers and you can additionally mark some drawers with 'painkillers', 'antibiotics', etc labels for quick reference.

(2) keep them accessible and easy to find for all crew members,

Split. Have a small chest or bag available in the main room (pilothouse, nav area, or the salon - with the basics (mostly the stuff you will use for cuts and bruises). Train your crew on whereabouts of where the big chest is (just like you will do for all other aspects of boat safety - i.a. life vests, torches, fire extinguishers location. You send someone to the big chest for any pill twice and they will remember where it is ever after.

(3) keep them safe and dry,

See (1) above.

(4) where to hold them all!?

See (2) above.

Yet, I say carry a lot only if there is a medical condition or if you want to share (esp. if you are a doc). The stuff we did use in our case were:
- disinfectants,
- cut covers (spray worked best),
- small qty of painkillers.

We used all our neomycin (topical) and could not get replacement in remote areas. We did not have morphine and I think we should have.

b.
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:54   #8
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SD,
Really depends on what kind of medical supplies you are talking about. Ours are divided into three types and stored in different areas.
The first is our vitamins that we take daily which arte kept in the galley, the containers themselves seem water tight and we just make sure we have those packets that absorb dampness.
The second is our first-aid supplies and medical kit. Things like bandages , disinfectants, aspirin, etc. We got advice from a doctor friend and packed it in large tupperwear-type containers in the head. We also have a small first aid kit in the cockpit for cuts and stings and stomach upsets. Make sure everything is clearly labeled and put back in the designated place after use.
Finally, my wife is a type-1 diabetic and we have a locker in the main cabin decidated to supplies for her insulin pump and blood meter. These are stored in clearly labeled containers (we laos carry tehse supplies in our ditch bag.
One thing we've learned to check on is the expiration dates for things like neosporin and ibupropin(sp?). Even found that sunscreen has an expiration date. Seems we get rid of a lot more than we use. I do wonder if its really necessary or whether it's just another racket by the drug companies but don't want to take a chance.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:12   #9
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The FDA has required just about anything medical to have an expiration date on it for a few decades now.

FWIW (this is not medical advice), I have no problem using a year or two out of date sunscreen, antibiotic ointment, ibu, aspirin (as long as it doesn't smell like vinegar), or most other drugs.

One drug that does go bad fairly quickly is epinephrine - especially if it's in an epi-pen. If the liquid is dark, it's too old to use. It's a shame that epi-pens are so expensive - I can get a vial of epi and 100 needle/syringes for less than $10, and an epi pen is at least $75. Oh, and the vial of epi lasts longer.....
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Old 22-09-2010, 22:46   #10
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Where to get controlled meds?

For those that carry morphine, epi and other controlled drugs (ones that require a prescription), where do you get your supplies from? Short of going to Mexico I think it would be hard to get them easily in the U.S., even though they are for legitimate purposes.
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Old 22-09-2010, 23:26   #11
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Just ask

A sound (and hopefully-legitimate) request/story can convince a doctor to prescribe/provide the drugs.
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Old 23-09-2010, 09:20   #12
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From previous years as an EMT, our medical kits were made out of tackle boxes. Thry open wide and have plenty of compartments. The tackle box goes in it's own compartment on the boat marked accordingly..

We've done the same thing now using a big tackle box..

Daily medicine goes in the plastic daily use boxes that hold one days worth, my insulin goes in the fridge.....
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Old 23-09-2010, 09:31   #13
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We carry two waterproof soft bags. One is the "big kit" with offshore capability. The other is the "boat bite" kit that has bandages, antibacterial ointment, itch meds, and other things that seems to get used regularly. We carry a controlled substance kit that has meds that require some kind of understanding as to use and effects.

The biggest problem we have is keeping the regular kit complete but make an effort to visit the local pharmacies and grab what we can. Bandaids, neosporin, gauze, tape, ear wash, peroxide, and other items seem to get the biggest use.

If you have guests/crew with specific medical needs then a daily medical kit may be helpful. It's also important to know which meds are temperature or light sensitive and may require storage in the fridge to prolong their potency.

We also carry a couple simple medical guides to help us figure out what to do and how to do it.
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Old 23-09-2010, 10:23   #14
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Originally Posted by dgorila1 View Post
For those that carry morphine, epi and other controlled drugs (ones that require a prescription), where do you get your supplies from? Short of going to Mexico I think it would be hard to get them easily in the U.S., even though they are for legitimate purposes.
Epi isn't much of a problem. Narcotics are. You also may be expected to have a double-locking safe to store the narcotics in.

Several places will consult and write the appropriate scripts/supply drugs for cruisers, as well as provide decent medical kits and arrange/provide training as needed:

Oceanmedix.com .....for the Coastal Cruiser, Ocean Voyager and Commercial Fisherman
Seaside Marine International Drug Company, Inc.
Specialty Items

Among others. I've dealt with the first two, not the last. Oceanmedix is also a decent supplier of other safety equipment, and Denny Emory there is quite helpful and knowledgeable.

Seasidemarine equipped our boat for our circumnavigation speed attempt, and did a good job.
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Old 23-09-2010, 10:26   #15
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One technique I've learned is that stuff that is used casually (bandaids, q-tips, antibiotic ointment, aloe gel, sunscreen, ibuprofen, antacids, daily meds/vitamins/whatever) doesn't go in the 'medical kit'......the medical kit is for emergency use.
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