Most first aid required in the field is causes by minor cuts, scrapes and burns. Most of you should be able to take care of these with washing affected area with clean water applying an antiseptic and covering with either a Band-Aid or an appropriate sized piece of gauze and keeping clean and dry.
Where we get into trouble and when we require a more substantial supply list is with serious injuries. These injuries are usually a joint injury like ankle or knee sprains or even broken bones the tibia/fibula in the lower leg being most common. These injuries require immobilization. The acronym RICE is used to remember what to do with these types of injuries. Rest don’t use the injured body part if possible, Ice place ice on it for 20 minutes on 15 minutes off and repeat, this is to reduce swelling. Don’t just leave the ice on it or blood flow can be seriously reduced causing further harm. If ice is not available cool water is better than nothing. Compression wrap it tightly to prevent excessive swelling but not so tight that it cuts off blood circulation. Elevation raise the body part above the rest of the body to prevent fluid pooling and reduce swelling.
I keep a roll of sports tape im my bag for these types of injuries. And a few chemical Ice packs.
Serious cuts from falls or knife mishaps may also occur while in the field. These can range from moderate to severe. A moderate laceration not through a major artery can usually be stopped and addressed with pressure to the wound using A few 4x4 gauze pads, an Abdominal pad bandage or anything else that is handy like a towel, napkin, clean rag and so on. A tourniquet can be used if needed till the bleeding stops. The wound should be flushed with clean water and wrapped in clean gauze till it can be looked at by a medical professional.
Serious cuts can be life threatening, and there are a few items that can mean the difference between life and death. Cutting a major artery can result in significant blood loss. It needs to be stopped and controlled immediately. Applying pressure is the first remedy that should be taken. Followed by the wrapping tightly with bandages, 4x4 or Abdominal bandages with tape or roll gauze will work best. Followed by tight tourniquet above laceration area. If possible drink large amounts of water or other liquid. NOT alcohol, it will cause more bleeding, and nothing with caffeine if something else is available. Fluid will help to keep the blood pressure up so you don’t go into shock or pass out from blood loss.
Injuries from gunshots either bullet or shot can cause more than bleeding wounds , nervous system shock and broken bones are common, complicating the treatment.
Remaining calm and focused is the most important thing you can do with any major injury. This is a list of what I carry when I go out into the deep woods, the list varies depending on distance from vehicle, and length of time I’ll be away and number of people im with. Some of the items are not available to non-medical professionals. Being an RN in a hospital has its advantages.
Letting people know where you are going and when you will be back are also important safety considerations. Having a way to call for help is also important and with technology nowadays there is no excuse, I not only carry my cellphone and backup battery I carry a compass, and Garmin Rhino that combines a GPS and GMRS radio into one.
4-6 small Band-Aids.
4 large Band-Aids.
1” roll of medical tape.
2” roll of cloth sports tape
10 butterfly bandages
Ace bandage roll
Coban 2” cling bandage
4” roll of gauze
4 4x4” quick clot sponge
40 individually wrapped sterile 4x4 gauze pads.
4 ABD pads, Feminine hygiene pads can be substituted
15” elastic tourniquet like they use when they draw your blood for labs.
30” rope to be used for large tourniquet or stabilize broken leg or arm.
Small and large zip ties
0.5L sterile water
5 10ml sterile flush syringes
5 20g x 1” syringe needles
5 syringe with 22g x 1.5” needle attached
3 suture kits
Medical staple kit
Staple removal kit
Epinephrine 30ml bottle
Lidocaine 30ml bottle
Extra daily medications if taken
Tylenol for pain or fever
Ibuprofen for pain swelling inflammation
Benadryl pills and topical cream for allergic reactions
Hydrocortisone cream for allergic reactions.
Burn cream packets
Triple antibiotic cream
Sting ease pen to insect bites
Petroleum jelly packets
Individual saline eye drops/tear replacement
10 salt packets
10 sugar packets
Survival Mylar blanket
Vinyl or latex gloves
4 Chemical hand warmers
Blood pressure cuff / can also be used as tourniquet
If all this is too much and you want the bare minimum, 1 Roll electrical tape, a couple heavy duty folded paper towels and a couple large zip ties.