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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Bug out Bag Medical Kit

While I’m working on whittling down my Bug out Bag (BoB) inventory (as time permits) to reduce weight and size, one area where I’ll probably add a few ounces is medical supplies.
Bugging out by vehicle in an emergency situation – local disaster or TEOTWAWKI – might make it slightly less important to have a well stocked medical kit due to less chance of mishap, but if you end up on foot for days, weeks, or more, a little prevention goes a long way. There are two primary areas and one related area that I’m focusing on
The semi-related (to medical supplies) is sanitation. Bugging out could mean less access to soap and water for cleaning, which could be a problem with food handling, and minor cuts could become infected. My solution here it to bring plenty of water for hand washing in the Bug out Vehicle (BoV), or at least plan on it, and, if on foot, plenty of moist hand towels/wipes and hand sanitizer. The goal is prevention.
The first primary area to focus on for the medical kit is a good supply of basic over the counter (OTC) medications. This might seem like a no-brainer but there might be some areas to put on a checklist. Item number uno is a bunch of anti-diarrhea medication (e.g. Imodium AD) – it’s gonna happen sooner or later.
Some of the items in my inventory may seem frivolous considering tight weight restraints (anti-fungal and anti-itch creams, insect repellent, large amounts of cold meds, etc.), but I have a different take. If you’re on foot you’ll need to get good rest. Preventing insect bites, stopping the itch from them (or athletes foot) will help you/others get sleep and recharge. Same thing with all the OTC cold medications. The last thing you want is a hacking cough preventing you/others from sleeping and getting enough rest.
Some items I don’t have listed but will be adding are Anbesol (for tooth aches, teething, canker sores, etc.) and Delsym to prevent coughing (or anything with Dextromethorphan). I will also be adding more Ibuprofen – prescription Motrin is just 800 mg of Ibuprofen, so stock up.
Some context; a guy a work recently cracked a tooth badly and had to wait several days to get it pulled (you don’t want this to happen post-TSHTF). Motrin kept the pain to a manageable level, but he got several canker sores after the tooth was extracted. Anbesol helped there. I personally just got over a cold where I was coughing a lot. Prescription cough medication with codeine didn’t help (will still make you feel good!), but an OTC product with Dextromethorphan did. Know what works for you/family and have it in your BoB.
The second area of focus for medical supplies are antibiotics. For most there is no easy answer here, but I suggest you do what you can to build up at least a course per person who would bug out with you. If you’re going on a long hiking trip/traveling to a third world country, some docs will give you a prescription for antibiotics, just in case. Another option is fish antibiotics – I’m looking into this but can’t recommend for/against it, yet.
The bottom line is, if you think you’ll need to bug out on foot for more than a few days, I think it’s worth it to go a little overboard on your medical kit at the expense of other items in your BoB. Preventing infection and getting enough rest could make the difference.