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  1. #1
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Default WFA and now First Aid kit changes for me

    Well I spent the last two days getting down and dirty with earning my Wilderness First Aid certification. And after that, I decided to forget being the total gram weanie when it comes to the first aid kit. I will blog about it later, but now I am adding the following to my first aid kit that I didn't have before - and really, it doesn't add that much more weight at all -

    The guy gave us each a small plastic syringe to irrigate a wound - weight prob less than an ounce. After seeing hikers with infections that went systemic from cuts, it makes sense to use this to irrigate wounds
    Various gauze pads to clean wounds with, bandaids of course
    Pieces of moleskin, not just duct tape
    safety pin
    I carry a small ace wrap
    small film canister of hibiclens - soap of choice (can get at a drug store) for cleaning wound; they are not big on antibiotic cream which was new for me. Says it attracts dirt, but I carry a small tube anyway
    Carry a watch (I do anyway. Good for checking heart rates and for noting time of injuries, etc for rescue and others)
    two triangular bandages - good for lots of first aid, weight negligible
    a small tick removal device
    Other Medicines - have in the kit -
    some salt - for sun issues and rehydrate - look for the restaurant packs
    some sugary jello (maybe have in food bag, just be sure you hang it) - good to rehydrate, hypothermia and diabetic issue, liquidfied
    some aspirin - 325 mg, for heart issues
    benadryl for allergy reaction (it can happen to anyone at any time) - and consider getting a prescrip for epipen from dr
    Tylenol (sometimes Vit I but Tylenol is the drug of choice)
    some small ziplocs to put on water and / or ice packs for injuries
    some doxycycline for tick bites



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  2. #2
    PCT 2014, Pinhoti/Sheltowee 2013, Long Trail 2012, BMT 2011, AT 2010 10-K's Avatar
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    My guess is you'll take some of that stuff back out in a while. I took a WFA course and did something similar afterwards..

    At any rate, make sure you rotate the doxy before it expires - it's pretty toxic when it's old. From drugs.com:

    Using expired doxycycline can cause damage to your kidneys.

  3. #3
    Registered User canoehead's Avatar
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    Good stuff. I think if your hobbies include inherent risk. IE; Climbing, Hiking, kayaking etc. Then you should be responsible for learning the basic safety procedures for that activity.
    Lots of folks will buy the first aid kit and NOT have the skills to use it. I've been certified or teaching WFA -WFR classes for 25 years and didn't really need to use those skills. I have tended to a few accident victims on the trail, rivers etc... But in 07. I had the opportunity to do CPR and help blow life back into older gent, laying on the ground beside his pick up truck while his wife stand there crying and looking for help. That's when I drove up and then 2 other folks stopped to help me. Today that man is still with us. Everyone should learn at least the basics of first aid. It might be some close who needs you.

  4. #4
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    If you are gonna carry doxycycline maybe Tinadazol for giardiasis.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    My guess is you'll take some of that stuff back out in a while. I took a WFA course and did something similar afterwards..

    At any rate, make sure you rotate the doxy before it expires - it's pretty toxic when it's old. From drugs.com:

    Using expired doxycycline can cause damage to your kidneys.
    Never knew this,

    Thanks.
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  6. #6
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canoehead View Post
    Good stuff. I think if your hobbies include inherent risk. IE; Climbing, Hiking, kayaking etc. Then you should be responsible for learning the basic safety procedures for that activity.
    Lots of folks will buy the first aid kit and NOT have the skills to use it. I've been certified or teaching WFA -WFR classes for 25 years and didn't really need to use those skills. I have tended to a few accident victims on the trail, rivers etc... But in 07. I had the opportunity to do CPR and help blow life back into older gent, laying on the ground beside his pick up truck while his wife stand there crying and looking for help. That's when I drove up and then 2 other folks stopped to help me. Today that man is still with us. Everyone should learn at least the basics of first aid. It might be some close who needs you.
    Wow. This is where it's all at. I'd like to quote you if I may in an upcoming blog I plan to do on taking WFA. I mean I was one of those that blew it off. Now I am glad I took it so I can help others out there if the need every arises (and you hope, of course it doesn't)



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  7. #7
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    My guess is you'll take some of that stuff back out in a while. I took a WFA course and did something similar afterwards..

    At any rate, make sure you rotate the doxy before it expires - it's pretty toxic when it's old. From drugs.com:

    Using expired doxycycline can cause damage to your kidneys.

    Yes good thing to note about meds that can expire, etc. Same with the Epipen.
    The stuff I plan to carry really doesn't weigh that much more. I mean our instructor was showing fancy scissors, burn ointment,other stuff etc that I don't ever plan to to carry. But the stuff I did mention is weight negligible all things considered. I'd like to think those couple of hikers that died of heart attacks last year AT-wise might have been helped if someone had carried a few aspirin in their first aid (and what is the weight of that?).



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  8. #8

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    When I took my last "wilderness oriented first aid" course, I was struck by how these folks seemed to just assume the "weight vs. safety" trade-off should always tilt towards "safety" for anyone they considered to be responsible. They didn't quite come out and say it that way, but I had a sense that each of the instructors carried a relatively huge amount of medical supplies whenever they went in to the woods.

    I'm certainly not saying that's "wrong", just that it isn't necessarily for everyone.

    From the specific list at the start of this thread:

    To irrigate woulds I'd take the bite valve off of my platypus hose.
    Triangular bandages: if in need I'll make the conscious choice to cut up some existing piece of clothing or outerwear to make one.
    Tick removal: my tiny knife includes small scissors and a small tweezer, which in fact I used to take a tick out of my leg with on the AT.
    Salt: generally I have lots of salty foods with me.

    Many of the things on that list I do agree with and carry anyway, though not all primarily for "first aid" --- aspirin and tylenol for example, ziplock bags, safety pin, moleskin, a watch.

    I guess I just agree with whoever said earlier that it's a natural progression to take stuff out when on an "ultralight" kick, then add a lot back in right after a first aid course, and then to back off and take some of that back out for a more long term, steady state first aid kit.
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  9. #9
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Not sure how long it will be posted, but you can see our WFA course via the news broadcast - I'm the one hollering in the opening scene and they show the man bandaging my "wounded arm"

    http://www.nbc29.com/category/175568...clipId=6735742



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  10. #10
    Registered User moof53's Avatar
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    Very good post. It is one thing to hike, camp and be outdoors and to do it as light and as comfortable as possible. But, there is ALWAYS the possibility of being seriously injured. How many have have not been injured in the safe confines of our every day lives? You might get by just carrying a bandaid but maybe not. Having the items mentioned, or at least a plan on how to use other readily available items you carry in their place, is a good idea. You may have only a few minutes to help yourself or someone else.

  11. #11
    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    Hey, Blissful. You are a great screamer. That can be an important asset in case of any sort of wilderness/rural/urban disaster. Motivation for taking and passing a WFA course should also be to be able to tell others how to treat your wound if you cannot do it yourself. Those with the utmost in good intentions who have not gone to the trouble/expense of taking a certification-level course are potentially as dangerous as an ice-covered slope. It is a great thread that you began.--Kinnickinic
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  12. #12
    Registered User dzierzak's Avatar
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    The instructor in the WFA course I took kept emphasizing that the best resource is between your ears. That said, a small amout of preparation and insight can take many of the items you normally carry into usable first aid kit items.

  13. #13
    Registered User Grits's Avatar
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    Great thread and here is something from the Mountain Rescue Association worth reading and passing along.
    http://www.mra.org/images/stories/tr...ntrysafety.pdf

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    If you are gonna carry doxycycline maybe Tinadazol for giardiasis.
    I carried Doxy from day one and ended up needing it in MA when I came down with Lyme.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  15. #15
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dzierzak View Post
    The instructor in the WFA course I took kept emphasizing that the best resource is between your ears. That said, a small amout of preparation and insight can take many of the items you normally carry into usable first aid kit items.

    This is SO true.
    On the scenerios I used my tent fly to make a hypowrap for hypothermia issue, benadryl from my first aid kit for bee sting with developing hives, tent poles for splints, sleeping bag numerous times, ensolite pad, clothes and socks for padding and bandaging, hat for a chin strap to keep the neck still for a possible spinal issue, cocoon pillow for comfort, etc. Not to mention your cookwear to heat water for wound care and drinks, crocs to add cushioning in a leg splint, etc



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  16. #16
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don H View Post
    I carried Doxy from day one and ended up needing it in MA when I came down with Lyme.
    I used my one time dose in NY on my SOBO when I found an embedded deer tick.
    If you happen to see the tick, don't wait, take the loading dose if you have the med. If you get symptoms of it, like you feel like the flu, take it also.
    Last edited by Blissful; 02-13-2012 at 15:38.



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  17. #17
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grits View Post
    Great thread and here is something from the Mountain Rescue Association worth reading and passing along.
    http://www.mra.org/images/stories/tr...ntrysafety.pdf
    Excellent, I need to put that link in my bog when I write it up.



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  18. #18
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SawnieRobertson View Post
    Hey, Blissful. You are a great screamer. That can be an important asset in case of any sort of wilderness/rural/urban disaster. Motivation for taking and passing a WFA course should also be to be able to tell others how to treat your wound if you cannot do it yourself. Those with the utmost in good intentions who have not gone to the trouble/expense of taking a certification-level course are potentially as dangerous as an ice-covered slope. It is a great thread that you began.--Kinnickinic

    It was a good learning experience. Our instructor said we are MUCH better in the backcountry to deal with events there than even the trained rescuers from the "front country" because they lack the experience of dealing with the situation in rustic settings.

    On the video, the man handling both my screaming and the news reporter's camera in his face was a BSA scoutmaster who likes to take his scouts backpacking (they just did their 50 miler last year). Kudos for that.
    Last edited by Blissful; 02-13-2012 at 15:38.



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  19. #19
    AT 4,000 miler, LT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianLe View Post
    When I took my last "wilderness oriented first aid" course, I was struck by how these folks seemed to just assume the "weight vs. safety" trade-off should always tilt towards "safety" for anyone they considered to be responsible. They didn't quite come out and say it that way, but I had a sense that each of the instructors carried a relatively huge amount of medical supplies whenever they went in to the woods.

    I'm certainly not saying that's "wrong", just that it isn't necessarily for everyone.

    From the specific list at the start of this thread:

    To irrigate woulds I'd take the bite valve off of my platypus hose.
    Triangular bandages: if in need I'll make the conscious choice to cut up some existing piece of clothing or outerwear to make one.
    Tick removal: my tiny knife includes small scissors and a small tweezer, which in fact I used to take a tick out of my leg with on the AT.
    Salt: generally I have lots of salty foods with me.

    Many of the things on that list I do agree with and carry anyway, though not all primarily for "first aid" --- aspirin and tylenol for example, ziplock bags, safety pin, moleskin, a watch.

    I guess I just agree with whoever said earlier that it's a natural progression to take stuff out when on an "ultralight" kick, then add a lot back in right after a first aid course, and then to back off and take some of that back out for a more long term, steady state first aid kit.

    Unfortunately the water to irrigate a wound is dirty from your saliva in the tube and not sanitary enough. Better off getting a fresh bag and using aqua mira or filtered water. Needs to be as clean as possible. The syringe again weighs little and effectively cleans. And hikers have gotten off because of wound infections.

    A triangular bandage weighs zip and is much easier to make a sling or other bandage, believe me. I tried to make some stuff from clothes. Not secure enough to do what you need it to do. And you'd rather cut up clothes when you can carry an ounce of a bandage? This was an eye opener for me. Same as I take a small ace wrap.

    Tick removal too - this is for the deer ticks. Dog ticks, sure can use the tweezers you have. Deer ticks much harder to remove d/t size with head intact so as not to excrete more bad stuff into you.

    Salt - you can't give someone with heat issues salty foods, they need the liquid and salt easily dissolves. It also makes an oral hydration solution.

    That's why I mentioned weight in the beginning of the post. All the things you mentioned add negligible weight to one's kit.
    Last edited by Blissful; 02-13-2012 at 15:52.



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  20. #20
    Registered User canoehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    Wow. This is where it's all at. I'd like to quote you if I may in an upcoming blog I plan to do on taking WFA. I mean I was one of those that blew it off. Now I am glad I took it so I can help others out there if the need every arises (and you hope, of course it doesn't)
    Feel free to quote me. I believe everyone should know at least the basics of first aid, and anyone hired to lead individuals, groups or are responsible for others while in the outdoors should be certified with a WFA. That's the minimum qualification you will need to work for me, the WFA would allow you to do day hikes, school day programs, weekend with an overnight. The WFR is needed to run an overnight - multi week programs, and WFR/EMT for our WOLF Program Expeditions. At least that's how it's structured in my business.

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