Sunday, July 12, 2015

Homestead Medical Kit

I'm a big advocate of having a good selection  of medical supplies on hand. I guess that comes from having had a career in a medical field. Around a homestead farm, there are always situations happening that need some sort of medical attention. Sometimes it's the livestock or pets, sometimes it's the people. And how come emergencies often happen at night, on weekends, or holidays? At least with human medical needs, there is always the emergency room to resort to...though it will cost a bundle. But with animals, at least in my area, you're in your own. Any emergency veterinary care is two hours away, that is IF you can convince the vet to be available. Plus it will cost you a bundle. 

I'm finding that most homesteader types learn how to take care of many of their medical problems themselves. They read books, research the internet, watch YouTube, consult with others, attend training classes when they are available, and learn from other people. But regardless of how one learns, one needs the medical supplies to be on hand. At least here where we live fairly remotely, you just cannot run down the block and buy what you need any time of the day. 

So what to keep on hand? Everybody seems to have a different idea of what to keep in their medical kit. But here's what I do, or suggest..........

Tools scissors (good for cutting tissue, that means skin, muscle, and such)
...blunt tipped scissor (for cutting clothing, bandages, tape, suture material) 
...scalpel blades (or clean, new single edge razor blades will do)
...surgical needles (or sharp, new, strong sewing needles will do)
...suture material (or clean lightweight fishing line will do. Clean heavy duty polypropylene sewing thread is another good substitute.)
...hand tools for clamping blood vessels, holding sewing needles, holding blades, holding tissue. I have an assortment of actual surgical instruments, but I've seen acceptable clamps, hemostats, and pick up forceps sold at hardware and automotive stores. 
...stethoscope, while not a high priority, it comes in handy
...glucometer and blood pressure machine come in handy. Again, not a high priority. 
...otoscope. Drugstores sell a cheap plastic model that is very useful. 
...a small basin. I also have a quart sized mason glass jar that I use to hold a sterilizing solution (benzalkonium chloride) for needles, suture material, and to soak instruments that I want sterilized.) 
...small powerful flashlight
...rectal thermometer. Oral will do, but the shape of a rectal is safer. pins
...needle nose pliers
...magnifying glass

Medical Supplies
...disposable gloves
...a wide assortment of bandaids, big, small, butterfly, odd shapes
...splints. Some material that could be cut and shaped is handier than keeping a large selection of different shapes and sizes. I've seen moldable material sold in craft stores that would be good for splints. I also keep a couple of finger splints in the kit. 
...adhesive tape (blue painters tape could be a substitute but the cloth tape works so much better.) Plus a roll of duct tape is a good idea.
...stretchy bandage tape/elastic wrap, or at least an ace bandage. A product called vetrap is really handy and easy to buy at feed stores. And I found this (below) at Walmart.....
...gauze sponges, preferably 3x3 or 4x4
...rolled gauze bandaging 
...non-stick sterile bandage pads
...a very large bandage or sterile towel for large or gaping wounds. Or at minimum, a clean new hand towel that is stored in a plastic bag for cleanliness. 
...a tourniquet or at minimum a lightweight rope suitable for use as a tourniquet. 
...alcohol, peroxide, witch hazel, vinegar, honey 
...q-tips or swabs
...tissue glue ("liquid bandage") or at least superglue
...blood clotting solution or powder
...antiseptic, preferably benzalkonium wipes (Clorox disinfecting wipes). At minimum, a bottle of hand sanitizer. 
...betadine soap and solution
...a space blanket or other type of blanket
...instant cold compresses.....

...IV fluids and IV tubing with needle
...bottle of white Karo (a glucose source)
...syringes with needles. One large syringe for irrigation use-- or a turkey baster. 
...lubricant jelly

...topicals. I have an assortment of prescription topicals, but there are things that can be purchased in a store that are good for a medical kit. Bacitracin. Neosporin. Hydrocortisone. Benadryl. Capacin. Afterbite. Lanicaine. Noxema cream. Tinactin. It doesn't hurt to have other assorted topicals on hand, including lip balm. 
...oral medications-- aspirin, advil, benadryl, imodium, pepto bismol, antacid. Cough medications (expectorants, suppressors, throat lozenges).  I also have several other different prescription medications but they can't be obtained without a doctor's permission. Some could be obtained via large animal supply businesses, such as Jeffers, Valley Vet, Fosters and Smith, etc. 
...eyewash and eye soothing solutions. Eye anesthetic. 
..."toothache oil" 
...reserved for livestock use: oxytocin, tranquilizer, sedative

As you may have noticed I didn't include homeopathic items in my own kit. I have not seen good results with most while treating animals. Thus I only include what experience has worked for me in the past. 

Depending upon what livestock I keep, I will keep a few other things on hand. When I had goats I kept certain vitamin injectables and antibiotics on hand. Right now I always keep a bottle of injectable penicillin in the refrigerator. And for the equines, I keep things for treating colic. For the sheep I keep frozen colostrum always available and a tub of lamb milk replacer (with fresh lamb nipples for bottle feeding). A human male urinary catheter makes a handy stomach tube to feeding a weak newborn lamb in an emergency. No....don't shove it up THAT end. It goes down the throat. 

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! You have a good array of medical supplies there. There are some things you might add, such as "Quick Clot", in two sizes, which can even control arterial bleeding (along with direct pressure), Israeli Army Battle Dressings, and a thing called a SAM dressing, which is a reusable splinting material. I have some Kotex products in my kit, in the largest sizes I can find, since they work just like abd pads. Thank God, I haven't needed to use those big-wound things since my Navy days, but they'll keep pretty much indefinitely if not opened. Do rotate out some of the meds, which can slowly deteriorate. And - for fast control to hold dressings, wraps, etc., a couple of those small Crazy-glue tubes are handy, too. I did have a small "grab and go " kit in my car, but it was somehow disappeared after a couple of stays at places with valet parking....grrrr! It wasn't much, but you never know if you might wish you had something on hand when traveling.