A recent first aid discussion got me thinking about how much even large, expensive pre-made kits suck. I suppose it's a combination of needing to be very general, and keeping costs low.
Maybe first responder kits are better, but these are also different than what I need.
I'm thinking in particular about kits for larger vehicles on longer trips away from convenient support. The reality of 99% of bush first aid is comfort, preventing a small problem from becoming big, and handling problems without needing to travel for help.
What I find missing is:
-Lots of bandages and wraps - The whole bandaging and wrapping supplies are woefully deficient. There's a big difference in the comfort of a well wrapped wound and bandaging that is improvised and just enough.
-Narcotic painkiller and general purpose antibiotic. Obviously not part of a purchased kit, but I've always been able to carry both in prescription bottles. My dentist tells me that an antibiotic course will handle tooth pain from infection for about two weeks. Much better option than finding a dentist on a Sunday night in Nigeria.
- Wound cleaning supplies for running water. The kits don't assume running water, and have less effective waterless cleaning materials.
- Skin care, including bug and sunburn, can usually be improved substantially. Zinc Oxide is a really good protective substance that sometimes doesn't have a good substitute.
- A big bottles of pepto bismol. I assume most people know to start dosing this stuff for gastrointestinal distress while traveling. I don't want to count on enough being available in the general "medicine cabinet".
- Individually wrapped Q-tips
- a regular strength aspirin for that guy with chest pains
- good burn comfort supplies, including gel pads
The bad: 1)Triple antibiotic ointment instead of Bacitracin. 2)"Night Tme Cold Medicine". The former is an allergen to some people. The later causes psychological distress in some people.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but what I've found wrong with purchased kits
I'm not sure how most people do it, but I now keep a stocked Pelican first aid kit. I don't mix first aid supplies with what I think of as "medicine cabinet stuff" - Alleve, antacid pills, Sponge Bob bandages. I do better with keeping a true first aid kit stocked.
So that's my rant and my list.