Good deal on a first aid kit

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/16/good-deal-on-a-first-aid-kit.html

Add that to these for a Texas first aid kit:

for wasp and scorpion stings–not for snake bites

for splinters and cactus spines and pulling out stingers

for ticks which must be pulled off ASAP

for pain

this is good for burns and does stop the pain for first- and second-degree

https://www.vitacost.com/now-foods-essential-oils-lavender

if clumsy

I use some of the above every week.

The only advice I can give you for fire ants is if you are bitten, plunge the entire affected site in undiluted dish soap for ~5 minutes to neutralize their venom. Most liquid soaps will work.

No scarring, no blisters, no itching. Don’t scratch!

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A) These pieces keep the lights on. Just sayin’.
B) If you and five or ten of your best buds need serious first aid kits (says /me from ski patrol) you can get the contents from medical supply houses in bulk for a fraction of the price. Ski patrols(among others) will generally tell you the contents of their packs for the asking.
C) This is better for refills than for initial kits. See (A)

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I’d also add a few small one-shot tubes of superglue. I worked in print for many years, handling lots of paper dries the skin causing splits, plus there’s always paper cuts which sting like hell! A quick wash and dry, then some superglue to seal the cut, much better than using tape, although I did find that using micropore tape around my fingers between the joints helped prevent the cuts and splitting as well.
So, micropore tape and superglue - essential items for any first aid kit. :grin:

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What do you recommend for chiggers? I made the acquaintance of these bitey little fellows in the tall grass at Camp Bullis in Texas.

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We always have anti-itch cream and Bactine spray in our camp kit. – won’t stop the chiggers - but will aid in the pain.

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Oh yeah… chiggers… I forgot!
Man those awful things are going full-tilt here right now. Fun. I am writing when I should be mowing in the relative cool of the day, avoiding them.

Ounce of prevention here.

  1. Stinky but very effective: get some wettable sulfur powder, put a few heaping spoonfuls in an old sock (without holes). Tie a knot in the top of the sock. Keep the sock in several layers of plastic because it does really smell unlovely. I’ve seen people keep theirs in nested sealed plastic snap-shut containers. When you are ready to go out in the chigger-infested area, use the sulfur-loaded sock-puff like a powder-puff and make sure to dust your clothing with you in it: cover everything from your hips to your toes. Caution: some people are highly allergic to sulfur powder; any clothes that get sulfur on them will reek of rotten eggs for a year or more (washing can worsen the smell; and the washing machine, a bit). Upside: those treated clothes can be washed, line-dried (outside), and re-used every time you go into a chigger-infested area. Store dried clothes in several layers of sealed plastic bags or containers.
  1. Coat your skin with oil. Pretty much every square inch but maybe leave off doing your head. Almost any light oil will do: olive oil, coconut oil, mineral (“baby”) oil, etc. Caution: oil interferes with sweating and may cause overheating in some people in hot weather.

  2. I have seen people spray DEET-based insect repellent on their clothing, neck-to-toe. DEET is a pretty powerful insecticide and while it does work, I’m not a fan of repeated use of DEET if there are other alternatives. If I was hiking in a malarial region I’d use it, for the day, without hesitation. Follow all directions on the spray can. It’s a poison.

  3. Some old Texas hunters have said they do not wear underwear when they walk in chigger territory. Still, going commando does leave me with the question: what of the waistband and armpits, where chiggers love to congregate? Your call.

  4. Same bunch of old hunters taught me to rub my (bare) legs fast and repeatedly. They told me that the heat friction on the skin is enough to kill chiggers, which may also be brushed off or getting squashed, etc. From them it was clear to me that they thought no sane Texas hunter walks around in shorts, and I was crazy for wearing shorts outdoors in summer anyway because pants provide protection from the sun.

Bitten already?

  1. Shower immediately and thoroughly once exposed, or at the end of the day, latest. Do not go to sleep unshowered. Do not ask me how I know. All clothing should be washed ASAP and if unwashed, should not be stored inside living space unless in sealed bag/container. Don’t wear exposed pants for a second day if you are not going back into chigger territory. I have been told that putting exposed clothing in the freezer overnight will kill chiggers in the clothing. I have never tried this.

  2. Lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil applied to bites work on me to reduce or eliminate the itch. The Benadryl pen mentioned earlier will also reduce the itch.

Bactine has lidocaine in it, a topical anesthetic. The -caine family of drugs (xylo- and benzo- and lido- etc.) numbs up topical human parts pretty well.

If you are looking to numb up stuff and you have a Texas Prickly Ash near you, crushed leaves applied to the itch will absolutely numb the area. Called “Toothache Tree” for a reason, and if you chew its leaves, your whole mouth is numb in a few minutes. Most common Plantago spp (“plantain weed”) leaves chewed up and then applied to the area will bring relief on the trail, but these plants only grow for a short span in spring. Hold the leafy bolus of either plant on the skin with a piece of sticky tape or a strip of cloth.

ETA: typos

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One thing to check on with ALL first aid kits is to make sure that some of the medicines are reasonably within their expiration periods- with some things, you can get away with them being out of date; for others (like the anti-bacterial creams (neomycin)) you’d want to make sure those are kept fresh. Especially if the kit is stored in an uncontrolled environment (trunk of a car, etc.)

That having been said, my personal first aid kit has a few out of the ordinary things, like Quik-Clot and a tourniquet. (My running gag is “I’d pack an EMT in there if I could get one to fit”, but this way i should be OK if I end up having a really bad day, or if I run across someone else who is having a really bad day.)

I buy my first aid stuff from North American Rescue.

http://www.narescue.com/community

IMO its worth knowing how to use a tourniquet in these wild times.

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The Scottish version is a wire brush & a bottle of Dettol antiseptic (anyone who’s heard Billy Connolly’s standup/rant about this from “Billy Connolly Bites Yer Bum” show will be wincing).

Itching. Ah, itching. Something that’s OTC and actually tested is (I kid you not) capsaicin cream. The burn disappears pretty quickly but capsaicin shares receptors and some paths with itching [1] and acts as a counter-irritant, sometimes for days. If you can’t get the cream you might be able to get fresh jalapenos or other chilis; rub the affected area with the inner veins (seeds are no help). BE CAREFUL not to get any on your hands. Use gloves or a plastic bag or whatever because it not only stays where it’s applied but also can transfer to, shall we say, sensitive tissues for quite a while.

[1] Evolution. Seriously random based on “it works. Shut up.”

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