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Old 13-09-2009, 13:24   #1
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First Aid Kit

Ok..there may be this thread somewhere else, but I couldn't find it. I'm looking for suggestions for a first aid kit, mostly coastal sailing. Who makes a good prepackaged kit, or is it better to put one together myself? All comments and suggestions are invited. Thanks

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Old 13-09-2009, 16:30   #2

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There have been extensive discussisons online, either here or elsewhere. There are also a couple of good books on cruising and "wilderness" medicine, and for all intents and purposes offshore is "wilderness" as meaning many days away from any outside aid.

What to pack is another whole discussion. Someone on board should have enough experience to think that through--or they probably won't have enough training to use it. There are any number of fine "trauma kits" on the market in the $200-400 range, and it seems like at least 1/3 of what you pay is for the packaging, no matter who they are from, vs DIY kits.

By the way, the term "first aid kit" generally seems to mean "150 assorted bandaids, 50 assorted pills, 50 moist towellettes, and no serious bandages, dressings, or compresses." The "trauma kit" usually has no bandaids--but all the more serious stuff.

I'd suggest getting one of the books on wilderness medicine/aid and reading that to get a starting opinion, along with instructions as to what to do. Then decide if you want to splurge and spend $300-400 or pack your own kits. (Kits, plural, because "the good stuff" should be kept closed in the trauma kit while the bandaids and everyday stuff are readily accessed in a "first aid" kit.)

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Old 13-09-2009, 17:26   #3
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We definitly do not recommend the marine first aid kits!!!!! Especially the kits with sealed secitions.

Go to a chemist (dunno what you Americans call them - I was told Drug Stores but thats where they buy icecreams in old american movies???) and buy something similar to: Johnson & Johnson All Purpose First Aid Kit 170 Items which we paid $20!!!

Beef it up as you see fit.

We bought a plaster kit for fractures/ sprains. Its what the hospital uses LQ90M7GW5gl
Thats about $20 each

Also get a few heavy duty military type shell dressings...

But what we most use is bandaids (all different shapes and sized) and asprin etc pain killers. Nic likes the ones with little pictures on them - kids bandaids. But, hell, if they stop the tears its fine by me

Also we have a bottle of Detol and we have baby sanatiser that one sanitises baby bottles. Its in spray bottles in the heads.

The other thing is your certification... we did senior first aid together and a Remote Area First Aid. Doing them with your partner is good.

And yes, we have used our first aid knowledge!!!! Some old ducky who had a dificulty breathing on a street one day.
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Old 13-09-2009, 18:48   #4

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What you call a "chemist" in the UK is called a pharmacist (or pharmacy) or drug store in the US. That J&J kit was a bargain at $7.50 in WalMart for a long time, it is now about $9.99 in WalMart.

Interesting that you call a casting kit a plaster kit, I thought a "plaster" was a small adhesive bandage, what we wrongly called a BandAid in the US. (BandAid being a trademarked brand, but like "Kleenex" and "Scotch Tape" we abuse the term routinely.) The casting kits are all air/moisture hardening fiberglass these days, they used to be cheesecloth and real plaster of paris.

I've recently been introduced to some new things under the 3M "Nextel" (no relation to the cellular company) brand. They make some, ah, not BandAids with a transparent breathable material instead of the usual tan plastic or cloth. Some with cotton pads, some without, and the good thing is that they can be applied over a cut or scrape and left for well over a week. Meanwhile, since they are clear, you can see how the wound is doing. And since they are breathable yet waterproof--you don't have to remove them to air the wound. A bit pricey, but very very interesting products.
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Old 13-09-2009, 18:51   #5
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A first aid kit without training is useless for anything but band aids and asprin.

Even coastal cruising you should figure it will take 6 hours or more to get to a hosptial after an injury and much-much longer if you are in a storm. It is for this reason I recommend these classes and it only takes a weekend to get it done and certified. Examples in the US include Wilderness First Aid Classes in DE, NJ, NC, PA, VA and Wilderness First Aid both are excellent courses and my wife and I are both certified through WFA. Why? Because hands on practical experience can make every day objects on the boat "first aid material" in a serious situation. (Like watching the first aid kit get ejected during a knock down. )

The classes are designed for back packers and wilderness first responders where you are anywhere from 24-36 hours from help. Part of the training will help identify what is necessary in a kit to keep someone alive for 24-36 hours without medical attention, as well as what you need to provide to rescuers when you cannot leave with the victim. All in small, light weight, packages.

For a good start at a kit, look for the basecamp kit and add a couple of wound packs.

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Old 13-09-2009, 19:56   #6
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we Americans call them "pharmacists"

Full Sail,

I used to teach rescue diving and diver first aid, and I hesitate to provide a list of products because without training you may misunderstand the list. For example, if I list "aspirin" you might think this is a remedy for headaches, while I intend it as something to administer during a heart attack. Not knowing your level of training, my preference is to discuss situations. Should I mention "heart attack," properly trained persons might want to equip themselves with oxygen; however, oxygen would not be an appropriate item for your first aid kit without the training. One last example: I'd never venture offshore without a scalpel, because I'm able to use it to save your life in a few situations. However, I'm not recommending it for your kit for obvious reasons. Also, there are various ways to deal with every situation. Take for example a jellyfish sting. On one hand, meat tenderizer is effective to deal with the venom, which after all is a protein. On the other hand, there are medicinal remedies that might be more effective, as per your pharmacist's recommendations. With this disclaimer, then, here are some of the situations you should be equipped to handle:

-heart attack
-deep cuts
-serious burns
-allergic reactions, (including anaphlylaxis if someone on your crew is sensitive to things like bees or peanuts)
-fractured extremities
-multi-day diarrhea
-fever reduction
-swimmer's ear and wax buildup (if you're divers)
-nasal congestion/cold symptoms
-skin grunge and minor lacerations
-eye irritation

Additionally, consider tools such as: thermometer, tweezers, bandage scissors, CPR mask, latex gloves, et cetera. Also a good idea to have a bunch of hand sanitizer, et cetera.

Finally, I agree with Mark, the best thing you can do is get some training. First Responder, Wilderness First Aid, and Diver First Aid are all great ideas. At the very minimum, get CPR certification.

One last caveat, I'd recommend a more complete kit for offshore passages.
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Old 13-09-2009, 19:56   #7
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I prefer to put my own together. It's less expensive and I can taylor it to my needs. As other have said, it does little good to include things you can't or won't use. Another reason to pack your own is to include the meds you want.
I find the meds more beneficial than the bandaging materials.
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Old 13-09-2009, 21:06   #8
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I just picked one up for less than $50 in a nice case.
I was going to put one together for our Mexico trip, but time is running out, lots to do, and this just seemed like a great deal that was easy.
Will "flesh it out" when we get to Mexico.

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