Thursday, March 17, 2011

Updated: Herbal First Aid Kit for the Car

ETA: I've added some links to my Master List PDF, Suture Cheat Sheet and some YouTube instructional videos on suturing below.

Next week I'm teaching a basic Herbal First Aid class at the library so it's causing me to clean out my kits and restock them which is a good thing! I'm not good at restocking supplies and replacing old ingredients so this was a great time to do so.

For my truck, I purchased a pouch at a thrift store that cost me 69 cents. It is vinyl lined on the inside making it a tad bit water proof and nylon on the outside. Lightweight and durable. I plan to purchase some iron on fabric in green and white to cut out a first aid kit emblem to iron on to the outside. Until then, this will be fine. (For my reason behind using green and white instead of red and white, read this article).
The bag itself measures 11 inches X 7 1/2 inches and 2 1/2 inches wide when full.
Everything is sectioned off into individual packages, mostly arranged by category. The band-aids are placed in an old altoid tin which I might switch out for the misc. things that include tweezers (they will poke a hole in the bag), fingernail clippers, safety pins and a razor blade.
While I am not a big fan of plastic, I like to be able to see what's in each packet, plus it gives the items a bit more waterproofing. I labelled each bag with contents and taped it across the seal for 2 reasons: 1). if it is opened, it most likely won't be resealed the same and I'll know I need to go into that section and re-stock and 2). to give a list of items so people won't go unnecessarily rummaging through each packet searching for what they need.

This first picture shows the tin of assorted size and shapes of band-aids, a bag containing 4 vinyl gloves and a bag containing peppermint and ginger candies. The candies are a great for helping with upset stomachs, nausea and motion sickness.
The next bag contains 1 tube of lip balm, 1 - 1/2 oz. plantain salve and 1 - 1/2 oz. goldenseal salve. Plantain is great for bug bites, to stop bleeding, bee stings and general wound care. Goldenseal is great for treating more nasty wounds. 
Next is the misc. bag. This is the bag I might switch out a bit with the band-aid tin.
It contains: 1 mini multi-tool, 1 pair nail clippers, 1 tweezers, 1 lighter, 1 razor blade, 8 assorted sizes safety pins, 10 alcohol swabs and 3 blister treatment pads.
This next bag is for more serious cuts that band-aids won't handle.
It contains: 4 butterfly closures, 5 steri strips (similar to butterfly but longer), 1 bottle super glue and as a last resort, 1 4-0 suture kit and 1 3-0 suture kit. I have never sutured but I have watched videos and have a copy of instructions to remind me. I have several of these and I might open one up to practice with on a bit of meat. While I don't foresee ever being in a situation to require using these, if something were to happen, I'd rather be prepared than not.
This next bag contains 3 types of tape: a bandage type adhesive, duck tape and the self sticking wrap that has no adhesive on it. 
This bag contains gauze pads: 4 x 4, 3 x 3 and non-stick.
This last bag is the medicine portion of the bag.
It contains the rest of my herbal medicines: 
~1 flannel to be used for compresses, etc. 
~10 papaya enzyme tablets, great for upset stomachs when the ginger or peppermint don't seem to be working (but not to be used if you suspect an ulcer)
~3 teaspoon portioned bags of cayenne to be used for a heart attack (1 bag/teaspoon in a cup of warm water drank will keep the heart attack victim alive. if they have passed out, trickle some in their mouth slowly, wait a bit and repeat until they come to then have them drink the rest). The cayenne can also be poured into a wound that is bleeding profusely (or you can have the victim drink the same water formula as the heart attack victim) to stop the bleeding. Yes, this seems insane and painful but it will save lives. You can read more about using cayenne for heart attacks and bleeding on Dr. John Christopher's website.
~lavender essential oil for burns, insect bites, to calm
~tea tree essential oil for mosquito bites, disinfectant
~rosemary essential oil for waking up a sleepy driver, calming irritated children, clearing sinuses
~peach elixir for bee stings, coughs
~cherry elixir for coughs, anxiety, stress
~plantain tincture for bee stings, bleeding, allergies, help draw splinters out
~willow tincture for headaches, inflammation, etc. (use like aspirin)
The flannel is wrapped around the tincture and essential oil bottles to keep them from breaking.
I still need to add a few items to my kit to make it complete: strike anywhere matches (they were left behind in the truck), a quick clot to stop severe bleeding (a maxi pad can be used as well) and a sewing kit that I am still assembling with thread, needles and buttons.

Here is a PDF of my Master List which I laminated and placed in my bag. On the back I placed a sketch of how to suture along with reminder notes. You can find my version here. If you wish to include sutures, I highly recommend watching these 4 videos for a complete instructional. My notes are based off this video and the sketch is embellished from his handout (a link is under his videos). He also has a lot of videos about building First Aid kits which is useful but he is strictly a conventional MD when it comes to medicine (no herbal info).

Do you have a first aid kit in your car? Did you purchase a ready made kit, create your own or customize a ready made kit with your own items?


Em said...

I think this is a really fabulous idea, and it made me want to put one together myself! A question: how do the salves and essential oils hold up in the heat of an enclosed car during hot weather? Is there any cause for concern there?

Maria said...

You should sell these!!! I would definitely buy one!!!
I've also used cinnamon powder as a styptic. Doesn't sting as much in the wound...
and I also keep an ounce of echinacea in case of poisonous bites. (this came in very handy when Kaia was bit by a copperhead!!)
Really, I would buy one if you sold them!!

tansy said...

meredith - i find i have to replace the salve about once a year. i keep the tins in their own ziplock because sometimes they melt and leak. i am careful to place the bag flat so the salves generally stay upright and this size is perfect for sliding under the seat to keep it lying on its side the right way.

i hope this has inspired you to put one together yourself! :)

maria - awww, thanks but i really don't have time to assemble them and sell them. :) i'll keep it in mind for future though. echinacea is a good idea. i even had a bottle in hand but then put it back in my basket. i may rethink that...did you use it directly on the bite?

honestly, i don't think i'd use the cayenne, i'd probably try to find plantain and use that but if i had to, i know it's available (for styptic...i wouldn't hesitate to use it for a heart attack...). cinnamon would be a good idea but since this is for my car, i wanted to keep it simple.

Cottage Tails said...

Thanks for this!
I would like to copy you!
looking forward to the PDF

Love Leannee

Em said...

Ah, great tip about keeping the bag flat! I'm just dipping my toe into the waters of herbal medicine, and I think this will be a great beginner's project to give me some focus and specific goals. Thanks again for sharing this resource! :)

Beth said...

This is a great idea. Have you thought about adding some homeopathics to it?

tansy said...

beth, i don't use homeopathics much other than when i had mastitis and sometimes for poison ivy...if you use them, definitely add them into your kit!

Launi said...

I'm actually excited to learn about all these things from your post. I'm off to the health food store. Thanks so much!

celia said...

This is quite the first aid kit! I like the wound closures, ect... my kit is lacking these. Thanks again for the never-ending inspiration.

brenda yost said...

is the lighter safe in the car during summer months? I am pretty ignorant of how to handle one - ty Brenda

tansy said...

Brenda, I've kept lighters in my car year round ever since I've driven a car w/o any problems.

Monica said...

I use a small square cooler to keep my Herbal first aid kit. In summer I use a ice pack to keep things cool inside. Wintertime I remove the ice pack it is not needed. Salves, EO are ready at the house to grab and place in the cooler. This way I'm always updated my supplies. I hope this helps, for those who are traveling like I am.

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