I was asked, why is my medicine cabinet so small, . I promised I’ll explain it a bit longer here. I hope it helps, Mari.
It is small, just a small box on top of the shelves, and it is most basic one can get. It is actually based on first aid kits we found from World War II.
- Gauze bandages – classic. I tend to keep at least 2 rolls of the most basic gauze material bandages there at all times. You never know, when you might get a bigger cut that needs bandaged. I tend to have two types – sterile and non-sterile. Sterile for straight-on-wound things (like making simple band-aid with small gauze piece) and non-sterile for general bandaging and for wound cleaning instead of cotton balls. I prefer it, because it leaves less fiber around the wound than cotton balls.
- Medical plaster tape. Same reason as above. Accidents happen, it is good to have some plaster that you can cut in meters should the need arrive. Fabric based. The new types nowadays have zigzag edge which you can easily tear if you need. Love it!
- Punch of safety pins. Though I was taught how to knot up the gauze bandage, it is good to have those pins together with the bandage. I am skilled at knotting that thing, but oh the frustration if you must do it yourself on yourself! So, yes, seems legit to have a shortcut. At least until you get to someone, who can help you with it.
- Band-aid plasters. The type that is on fabric and can be cut in shape. Plastic sort comes off with every little move and I really don’t like them. Fabric ones are more resilient to sweating and working with water conditions. Plus you can cut them as you please – so you don’t need them in hundred different sizes only to discover they still don’t have the one you need.
- (Scissors) – I don’t keep them in the box, but my place is always infested with at least two pairs of surgical scissors that I can clean with boiling or burning or alcohol. If I move, I tend to keep them in the box.
- Alcohol wipes – It’s not so much part of the kit itself, I just store them there. They are nicely packaged, so I can always grab few to add in my EDC bag or so sis can find them and supply herself if she needs. With kids, we’ve discovered they are a must have and so it seemed natural that instead of buying 1 or 2 at a time, I can simply get the whole package and we can both go and grab as many as we need.
- Antiseptic spray – self explanatory.
- Fastum Gel – Pain relief for pulled muscles and tendons. Must have if you have tendency to do that often. I’m not clumsy, but in my case even a small rip can cause arthritis to bloom for two weeks. So it’s a good thing to have to lessen the symptoms.
- Panthenol – against burns.
- Oak, ginger and blueberry tablets – these are actually what’s used often for traveling sickness. They are natural tablets and so far the best remedy for stress-reacting stomach. Oak powder is used for runny bowl, so one must be careful with them or you might end up with hard case of constipation. Still, one of the fastest way to stop diarrhea. Ginger calms upset stomach and blueberry is actually more against constipation (I’m guessing, duo oak, you need something to balance it a bit), but also eases the nerves a bit and calms your stomach.
- Charcoal tablets – mild food poisonings, vomiting, easing the stomach… Rudimentary even, but worth each and one of them.
- Cold remedy tablets – Though it is known fact that normal cold takes about 2 weeks to get out of your system and if I can, I have way better and milder ways to deal with the symptoms, I am still working person, so I tend to have them in the kit. I’m not fond of them, but I like other modern cold medicals even less.
- Tea Tree oil – Antiseptic and good for closed nose if you happen to have a sneezer. Plus all the other 20+ ways to use it. I mostly have it for antiseptic reasons.
- Brilliant Green – Antiseptic for flaming up wounds or mouth ulcers. There are restriction, when and how you can use it, but if used correctly, it is a lifesaver.
- Glucose tablets – For blood sugar and for those kids, who have been good little kids while being mended.
- Golden Star – Ointment for scratches, on insect bites, for rubbing on the back to ease breathing with cold, etc, etc. It reeks bad enough that no kid volunteer to touch it, so it is quite safe to keep it there.
- Thermometer – self explanatory.
- (Beeswax ointment) – That thing is natural and I can tell for hours what good this simple, old recipe can do. This one has no extra infused herbs in it, but it is still one of the best ways to help the wound heal better. Plus it is perfectly safe to children. I keep it in refrigerator and yes, it is accessible by children. 🙂 But with those ingredients, I am 100 percent sure that nothing bad will happen if they even eat the bulk. Plus my niece already knows why it is used for and how to use it. She may be 3, but she is smart girl.
- Pain killers – I’m prone to headaches, I guess it has a stable presence in the box. But I always have them in the same dosage and I toss out any that appears there with different one. This way I can be sure I know what I’m taking and I can change the dosage according to the need.
And that is all. As you can see, it doesn’t have any antibiotics in it and nothing elaborate, but it has stayed nearly unchanged for most of my life. I don’t have many tablets in it, because I don’t use any if I can. They tend to expire too often too. Except the ones for belly and head, because these are my weak spots. Unless it was winter I didn’t even have cold tablets. Well, I am keeping some around nowadays, because of niece.
Also, if someone asks about the tablets, I open my kitchen cabinet 🙂 – and oh the wonders you can encounter there! Most of my tablet needs are covered with the natural remedies you can find from there. Most headaches can be cured through them as well.
I also have alcohol hand wash near the sink. I got it few years back, because there was bigger stomach virus outbreak and we got them at work. So I got myself one at home too. Very helpful thing so far.
It follows 3 rules:
- Bandages must be multipurpose – they must be adjustable in size and I must be able to cut exactly the size I need. You don’t need to toss the entire package upside down on the table to find one suitable band-aid when you can simply cut it. Opening the sterilized packages of those one-portion-band-aids can be hard as well while you can still manage to press one end of scissors between the table and you and cut that long strip with your one hand. I know, because I’ve done it.
- As less expiring as I can have – being inspired by WWII bags, I saw what can happen over time. So I decided that I take the expiring tablets to as minimum as I can, including things that can go bad over time. Most medical tablets are temporary, so I don’t keep the left-overs for safety reasons. Keeping tablets there just-in-case creates bulk and most of it never gets used. I need something, I go and get it. And in situation of no-apothecaries-available, I know what to replace most that is used for daily problems. Knowledge is what you need, not endless supplies of medicament for just in case.
- You must be able to sterilize your medical kit if the need arises. This means anything besides tablets and plaster tapes, which in that case would be all simply tossed out or burned, I must be able to boil the bandages and sterilize all the rest of the equipment (think knife, scissors, safety pins) and I must be able to do it without thinking if the method chosen will destroy it or not. It might sound odd in today’s world to talk about boiling bandages, but if done right, they are perfectly safe. I have done it with women in my family. As always – there are rules for it and solid info on why and how and when. So if I have the knowledge, I might as well choose my equipment accordingly and with minimized losses on the way.
I know it doesn’t seem to be much and there would be many preppers, who laugh at it, but that’s how I choose mine. In SHTF situation, perhaps, yes, I would prefer to have some basic antibiotics for the sort of problems that can’t be mended with herbal remedies and some wound glue, but the good side with having less bulky medical kit, is that I can toss in there the scissors and the meds I might be taking at that time and it will still weight much less than most that I’ve seen out there and it is still variable enough to cover the most problems I might encounter. Plus when I open it up, I don’t have to spend another thirty minutes packing it up again. I might not be ready for nuclear blast, but sorry – those tablets will not save you from radiation poisoning. You encounter something like that and all you can do is pray your heart’s delight. But the small cuts that can go bad, common cold, infections and cuts and bruises – I have help for that :). Plus what I don’t have, I look around and find.