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Old 03-09-2014, 05:44   #1
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Special Items in a First Aid Kit for the South Pacific

Hello everyone,

We are planning a trip that hopefully will take us to the South Pacific, and I was wondering if there are some special items we should add to the boat first aid kit for this area. I'm looking for advice on anything specific that we'll need in the South Pacific tropical area (we have a good idea of general first aid, but our experience is mostly in the higher latitudes).

Thanks!

Paula
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:10   #2
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

One thing that comes to mind is something to deal with infected cuts. In warm tropical areas it's easy for small cuts to get infected so appropriate things to deal with this.

My first step when a cut or scrape starts getting red or sore is to start soaking it in warm, salty water. If that doesn't work go to antibacterial cream. Last line of defense antibiotics.
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:10   #3
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

Welcome aboard Paula!

I have been in Asia for about 30 years and probably am a little flip on health care but...

Make sure all your basic shots are up to date. Depending on how far afield you go a Malaria series may be prudent but I have never done one. Some folks get a hep B series. I know friends who have gotten hepatitis from not so sanitary seafood.

I have had food poisoning. It was not fun but I have never had hepatitis.

The only other disease that is prevalent is Dengue fever. I think I got dengue (mosquitoes carry it) and the treatment is like for any other flu. It is really like a super severe flu, bone and muscle aches and high fever without the respiratory congestion stuff. It can escalate to life threatening so it is not to be trifled with.

No way to delicately say this so it is hot and humid in most places and keeping feet, pits and crotch dry is important. Fungal rashes can be common and you might wanna pack fungal ointments. Good foot powders can also be a good idea.

I had a pretty bad foot fungus when I was young So I am pretty careful about crotch rot and so on...

The good news is that many countries are well supplied and most any meds are available. Singapore is a weird exception. The strongest stuff you can get over the counter is like Panadol and cold medicines are terrible. Everything one needs requires a prescription.
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:45   #4
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

Hi Paula, welcome to the forums.

In terms of your first aid kit, for me at least, it'd help to both know where + how long you plan to go between big port stops (and shopping trips). As well as what's in your kit now. That way I/we, can make in suggestions to fill in the holes/shore up the weak spots (if any). Plus that'll help give Real newbys a decent idea of what they need to put together for trips of various lengths, and locales, if they've not done it before.
Oh, and with that in mind, I know that there's a back issue of Practical Sailor which does just that, I just don't recall which issue right now. Though it was several years back. Also, ORC (Offshore Racing Council) Regs stipulate what one must have on board based on crew size, race length, & distance offshore. As do a few other racing organizations. Their lists make for a decent start, at a minimum.

Thanks for starting a great topic!
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:53   #5
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

I would take morphine and quinine.

Invest heavily in your medical and life saving skills. You may be far off.

b.
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:55   #6
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

If you have a good Doctor you can have them give you prescriptions to carry for common problems to where you are going. There are also doctors that specialize in travel medicine and will be able to give you all needed vaccines and potential prescriptions you may need before your trip. If you go on the cdc's website it can point you in a good starting direction
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:15   #7
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Paula.
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:20   #8
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

I second the inoculation thing, an ounce of prevention
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:29   #9
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

Like Uncivilized said if you tell us what you are starting with now and what your medical training is it will be easier to help.

A few things I would recommend are see if you can find a wilderness first aid class. When I was a back country guide we used to cert in wilderness first aid every year. Essentially it teaches you how to deal with any number of injuries with out the proper equipment. Kind of like MacGyver meets advanced first aid. It is actually a lot of fun and very educational.

Two things for injuries that I always have are Quick clot for severe life threatening bleeds. Great stuff the military uses and you can buy it at an outdoor store like EMS or REI

The other is sugar. If you have a puncture wound you clean the wound and then pack it with sugar. The sugar acts as an antiseptic and actually promotes healing while preventing infection.

Then there is the obvious mechanical injuries for broken bones and so forth that you should be well versed in.
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Old 03-09-2014, 12:45   #10
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

yep shots

take them all and remember some are in series and so you must start taking them well before your adventure

we had hepatisis, yellow fev, tetanus, polio, etc. shots

b.
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Old 03-09-2014, 15:26   #11
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

Having been a nurse and now an acupuncture student first aid is one of my favorite subjects - because my favorite way to deal with a true emergency is to prevent it! I keep a small bottle - 2-4 oz colloidal silver on hand for cuts, bites and wounds. Not to imbibe but for topical use is outstanding - saturate a gauze bandage to cover cleaned wound or even reddened pustule and cover that with dry gauze, works well and quickly.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine Yun Nan Bai Yao is great for injuries with bleeding, bruising and risk of infection, inexpensive, safe and effective.

Having information can at least calm anxiety and this easy to read guide book is geared toward the tropics: Where There Is No Doctor (Paperback) by David Werner, Jane Maxwell.

Hope my two cents help somebody!
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Old 03-09-2014, 15:39   #12
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

One specific threat in the tropics is tropical ulcers. These can develop frighteningly quickly and become life threatening if not treated. There may be other drugs used, but when I got one in Vanuatu, no doctors were available. However, there was a local pharmacist, a stately Ni-van lady with facial tatoos and chiefly bearing who suggested flucloxicillin (sp?). I reckoned that she knew all the local bugs personally and followed her advice, very successfully. So, some consultation with your doctor about this sort of issue might be a good idea, for the tatooed lady might not be handy when you need her!

Jim
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Old 03-09-2014, 16:04   #13
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
One thing that comes to mind is something to deal with infected cuts. In warm tropical areas it's easy for small cuts to get infected so appropriate things to deal with this.

My first step when a cut or scrape starts getting red or sore is to start soaking it in warm, salty water. If that doesn't work go to antibacterial cream. Last line of defense antibiotics.
Sorry, skipmac, I'm not clear whether you mean sterile salt water or sea water. These warm Pacific waters contain staphylococcus and they will enter where there is broken skin, so one shouldn't just soak in sea water. Warm sterile salt water is different.

What we've done for prophylaxis is to treat cuts with Povidone gel, which disinfects well and prevents coral infections, too. You have to re-clean it if it gets sea water in it, but you can keep infections away. The time that Jim got infected, it was a fly bite when we were about an hour away from the boat, that the infection got started before we could disinfect it. *Stuff* happens.

Anyhow, the OP, will be well served by a small bottle of betadine or tube of povidone gel.

Ann
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Old 03-09-2014, 16:05   #14
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

Anywhere you travel outside the well traveled path, I would recommend carrying several sterile suture trays [ https://www.mooremedical.com/index.c...ID=15556&spx=1 ]

Safer in areas where sterile practices are questionable, and even in a good clinic, it is appreciated if you bring your own supplies rather than depending on their sometimes limited stock.

Just sayin'
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Old 03-09-2014, 16:13   #15
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Re: special items in a first aid kit for the South Pacific

I seem to remember this topic awhile back. Here's some of the things we added to our ships first aid locker when I was still sailing.

1. Sanitary napkins (great improvised bandages for large wounds)
2. Tampons (great for puncture wounds)
3. Duct tape. (what can't you fix with duct tape?)
4. Condoms (can be used to protect an injured extremity)
5. Turkey baster (for suction or washing out infected wounds)
6. Space blankets (Mylar for preventing shock & hypothermia treatment)

We also had a 'ditch bag' for each lifeboat with;

1. Crew manifest (and NOK contact info)
2. Toque's, mitts, wool socks
3. Plastic garbage bags (large for improvised rain wear etc.)

and usual stuff like spare flashlight, batteries, etc.

I'll be adding sutures & forceps to my kit and likely a tube or two of Crazy Glue, spare set of eye glasses.
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