The Wilderness Survival Medical Kit
The Minimum Basics
Some would argue that a defensive weapon is the first need in an extreme wilderness setting. Maybe so. Hard to go against that.
But if you and your family are in the hardscrabble wild, you also must “defend” against slight or serious injury, shallow or bone-deep infection, and just plain old nagging pain.
So here are the basic items that should be every survival medical kit. Again these are the basics. You’ll also have to add personal hygiene items, and any specific anti-allergen medications.
Basic items and tools in your medical kit
Make sure not to leave anywhere without these: sterile syringes /needles / surgical blades (imperative for the administration of intravenous medicine, releasing pus from infection formations or small incisions), scissors (it makes the opening of packages and gutting bandages a lot easier), thermometer (monitor your overall situation based on your body temperature), sterile eyewash (clean and disinfect your eyes), sunblock lotions (apply if you’re constantly exposed to the burning sun), burn creams (help treat burn wounds) and soap.
Most of these come as a standard in most medical kits, and those who don’t are easily procured.
Open wound treatments
The best way of dealing with an open wound is to close it up a.s.a.p. The first thing you’ll need to do is clean the cut with cold water and treat it with any sort of antiseptic solution or ointment you happen to have around.
Once the area is clean, the butterfly sutures can be applied. These sutures are small adhesive strips that work in a similar way to regular sutures, pulling the edges of the cut together. Apply first to the middle of the wound then start building upwards towards the edges.
For deeper and more serious wounds you can use (and if proper medical equipment is not available), duct tape works just as well in shutting the cut until proper medical aid is available.
Personal hygiene and infections
Once a wound is caused for some reason or another, the damage is done. Personal hygiene is very important is such a scenario, as your life is constantly threatened by severe infection, that can set in very quickly and can cause permanent damage and even death.
Ignoring an open wound is not an option. Your medical kit should always have: antiseptics / disinfectants (antiseptic wipes, Isopropyl alcohol, Iodine, Peroxide), ointments or oral antibiotics (Amoxicillin, Erythromycin etc.), adhesive bandages (adhesive medical dressings used for superficial plagues) and gauze (a lose translucent fabric, usually made of cotton which you can use for cleaning and bandaging the wound).
Some antibiotics can be hard to procure from the pharmacy, but some doctors may prescribe it as a preventive measure to people who are planning potentially dangerous trips. Never bandage a wound before properly cleaning and disinfecting it first, unless no antibiotics are treatments are available.
Source: For additional insights into a survival medical kit, please check out the excellent article by Alec Deacon. He knows how to take care of a family.
Image: Hans Braxmeier From Neu-Ulm, Deutschland