Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Practical Preparedness - Wound Care

I come from a medically inclined family.  My parents were both EMT's, serving our rural community for most of my growing up years.  I have been to more first aid classes than I can count.  When I was in high school, I assisted our local Vet both in the office and during farm calls.  I have given shots, lanced boils, stitched injuries and been a horse midwife.  My husband was a Firefighter/EMT when we lived in the big city and our oldest daughter is an EMT training to be a Midwife.  All of our children, with the exception of the three year old, have been through first aid classes.  When we think of TEOTWAWKI situations, we always think of medical emergencies, illnesses and normal parts of life, such as birth and death.  We want all of our bases covered.

In that vein, we stock up on not only pharmaceuticals, but personal protection and wound care supplies.  We often pick up band aids, medical tape and other medical necessities when we go to the dollar store (it is amazing how a box here and there really adds up), but once a year or so, we make a major "band aids" purchase through a company that outfits firehouses and ambulances.  Moore Medical carries everything from butterflies to suture strips (they even carry medications, though they are only available by prescription).  We find it much less expensive to buy in bulk (when we have a chunk of cash) than to pick up more expensive items singly.

Here is a sampling of what we purchase, and what we use it for.....

Personal Protection Equipment

  • Nitrile Exam Gloves (S, M, XL).  It is wise to have gloves on anytime you are dealing with blood products or bodily fluids.  It is the first line of defense in infection control
  • Surgical Masks.  If you are dealing with a communicable disease a surgical mask offers a modicum of protection.
  • Fluid Shield Surgical Masks.  To protect you from contracting diseases due to small droplets.
Band Aids (aka boo boo strips)
  • Butterfly Closures.  For closing lacerations that don't quite require sutures.
  • Fabric Adhesive Bandages 1"x3"
  • Fabric Fingertip Bandages
  • Fabric Adhesive Bandages 2"x4"
  • Fabric Knuckle Bandages  (we find that fabric band aids move better and wear better than plastic band aids)
Dressings and Bandages

  • Sponges 4"x4".  Use as a dressing for a wound, or to clean a wound.
  • Kling rolls.  To be used over a dressing - holds dressing in place.
  • Surgical tape.  Secures kling over wound.
  • Sponges.  Use as a dressing for wounds.
  • Gauze Pads.  Use as a dressing for wounds (sterile) 4"x4".
  • Vaseline Petrolatum Gauze.  Use as a dressing for weeping wounds or sutured areas.  We use these extensively.  They will not stick to the wound.
  • CoFlex.  Cohesive flexible bandage.  This can be used in place of Kling and tape.  It sticks to itself, but not to skin.  It is stretchy and applies nicely.  We purchased our CoFlex through KV Vet Supply for half the price we could purchase it for at our medical supplier!  Interestingly, the CoFlex is identical to what we have bought from pharmacies in the past - even the packaging is the same.
  • Sterile oval eye pads.  You never know when someone is going to get "pucker brush" in their eye and require first aid!
Bumps, Bruises and Sprains
  • Triangle Bandages.  Stabilize dislocated shoulders and fractured arms and wrists.  Also used for wrapping head wounds.
  • Elastic Bandage (Ace Bandage). (2", 3", 4")  Multiple uses.  Used for supporting sprains and sore joints.  Can be used as bleeding control (without cutting off circulation).  For the price we pay for them, they can be used for bandaging any wound.
Burn Care
  • Burn Jel.  Made by Water Jel, Burn Jel contains Lidocaine and offers almost instant relief for burns.  The thick jel cools the burn and seals out air.  We use Burn Jel exclusively for burn care (including sun burns).  We stock bottles of bulk jel, along with pre-soaked sterile dressings in foil packets.

We have found that being medically equipped is not just for preppers awaiting the end of the world.  Our latest order was merely a re-supply.  Living in a rural area, we are frequently called upon to render first aid to any number of neighbors and most often, our own children.  We have flushed eyes, transported severed digits, preformed CPR, bandaged severe lacerations, stopped major bleeding, dealt with anaphylactic reactions, stabilized fractured bones and even delivered a few babies.  Being rural, more than one farm animal has also been the recipient of our equipment and supplies.  

Preparing for medical emergencies goes hand in hand with food storage, defense and communications when anticipating a grid-down scenario.   It's not just about preparedness - it's about Practical Preparedness.


  1. Did you get anything like Quickclot? Not something you use a lot but when you need it you REALLY need it!

  2. Enola,

    Do you know where to find surgical staplers for stapling skin back together (like they use after c-sections)?

    I've had to use one on our family dog and it worked wonderfully after stomach skin was cut breastbone to navel. Thankfully the cut was only skin and not any muscle or organs.

    Thanks for your posts!
    Diane in TX

  3. re: Diane in Tx,
    A surgical stapler is classified as one of those medical supply's sold only to licensed medical or vet personnel. I suggest asking your vet or MD office to order or procure one for you, but they will be more expensive that way.
    I have been able to get one off of Ebay.

  4. A surgical mask or N95 mask is a viable option for dust and particulates in the air. They are not so great for protection from air borne communicable diseases. They look good and give the wearer confidence but probably will not work. They are best used for a health worker who either wants to protect a patient during an operation where their body is cut open or for a very limited protection from a patient who might cough or sneeze in their presence. But for a communicable disease like the flu or worse they would have limited value. The reason is as simple as what it is that makes a disease like flu able to become pandemic. If another 1918 style flu were to be unleashed around the world everyone would be exposed and everyone would either get it and suffer serious consequences or they would get it and for whatever reason they would show little or no symptoms. Wearing a mask will not prevent that. This will be true for lesser diseases as well if the carrier is a family member. You probably won't be able to prevent your family members from catching your cold if you or they wear a mask. Just saying... Don't want anyone to have a false confidence.

  5. NIOSH 99 or N100 Particulate masks DO offer protection against 99.9% of airborne viruses and bacteria. I am referring to the least expensive tool available, if utilized for protection and prevention of the spread of respiratory infectious or contagious airborne pathogens. They will not only protect YOU from the person who is infectious, but also protect THEM if you are the one who is infectious.
    These masks are available in varying sizes and configurations from any medical supplier or Walmart.
    The correct recommended fitting for
    protection requires it to completely cover over your nose and mouth and make an effectively "closed seal" at your face and under your jaw. The better quality masks have a metal strip which allows you to pinch bend it over the bridge of your nose, this helps to form fit a mass produced mask to your individual face. When you breath in and out, the mask should slightly puff out and suck in with inspiration and exhalation, but it should remain affixed to your face and jaw. This is a normal fit. they come with either an elastic strap which goes around the auricle of your ears, or a double set of tie straps which go around the back of your neck and head.
    These masks should be replaced if they get wet. Your normal respirations are naturally moist. Change the mask when it gets wet. If you are a mouth breather, that's usually in about 20 to 30 minutes time.
    Change when they get torn or, routinely after maximum of one hours usage. Never reuse the old masks. They, just like all other protective isolation garb are to be disposed of in a separate plastic trashbag, separated from the household trash.
    There is also a mask available with an exhalation valve. These should NEVER be worn by the person who IS infected as protection for others. In this case, the pathogenic airborne vapor then is ejected into the entire room, thus contaminating the room's air and any articles or persons in it.


  6. Good for You! A family after my own heart!
    TIP: Quick-clot and surgical staplers on Ebay.
    I bought 100 new surgical towels. Many handy uses; including making cheese. Can be autoclaved in your pressure canner.

    Could you post instructions on suturing? For educational purposes.
    Thanks for all the sharing you do.
    Nurse Claudia

  7. I wonder if you can get autoclaving wrap on ebay... That way you can wrap stuff, sterilize it in the pressure cooker and it will stay sterile until unwrapped. (I used to work in surgery and that's how we did it). There are also special metal boxes but those are probably expensive...

  8. Between the list of pharmaceuticals and this list, I've got more shopping to do! That's fine, I want to be prepared. Thank you for sharing this info with us.

    NoCal Gal

  9. Lots of instructions on suturing and the like on youtube.

  10. Heavily discounted medical supplies,including skin staplers(Rx not needed for staplers !) can be found at . Different specials & supplies available weekly. Check it out !

  11. Celox is one of those items I would hate to be without if I or someone I love has an arterial bleed. Celox is truly amazing. There is a video on youtube of a pig having it's femoral artery completly severed, allowed to bleed for 90 seconds. Celox and pressure were applied to the wound for 5 minutes. The wound was then unpacked and leg was jiggled to agitate the wound. There was no more bleeding and the pig was still alive. Check out the video on youtube

  12. Being prepared is very important but we just make sure we have everything that we needed.

  13. e: Diane in Tx,
    A surgical stapler is classified as one of those medical supply's sold only to licensed medical or vet personnel. I suggest asking your vet or MD office to order or procure one for you, but they will be more expensive that way.
    I have been able to get one off of Ebay

  14. Emergency first aid treatment is so important as we know that...its brilliant you have so i really want to appreciate for this. Bandages is essential one so thanks lot for guiding us. keep it up.