“Yup, that’s going to need four stitches.”
“Nope, I’m not going to get stitches.”
I don’t know how many times you have heard this conversation, but if you play sports and adventure as much as I do, you actually hear it pretty often. In this case it was a nice elbow perfectly placed to my left Supraorbital Foramen on the outside. The blow left a cut right across my eyebrow. I thought the blood was sweat until someone practically tackled me with a towel. End of my game. A couple of butterfly bandages and some ice and I’m usually good to go. I didn’t need the duct tape until I was cooking dinner and my eye collected enough blood to pop the temporary bond and start bleeding again, which elicited a cry of “Get out of my kitchen!”
So, off to the bathroom mirror for a little bandage and some duct tape and I was properly repaired.
However, I did start thinking about what exactly I should have in my gym bag and my backpack. A little research produces an amazing amount of misinformation and an unbelievable amount of combinations of first aid kits. Now you can go the easy route and just buy a few kits and throw them into your vehicles, gym bag, and miscellaneous go bags, but that path made me a few dollars light and carrying around a lot of “just in case” crap. When the family is adventuring, I error on the safe side and bring the extra stuff. When its just me, just the basics.
- Butterfly Band Aids — I don’t know if these are more effective than anything else but they seem to work well on small thin cuts.
- Self-Grip Athletic Tape — This works great for when everyone is trying to stop you from scoring by cutting you up with uncut finger nails. A little tape over the cuts and no stoppage in play.
Butterfly Band Aids and Self-Grip Tape pretty much covers 98% of your needs.
The Other 2%:
- New-Skin — This stuff is like glue only for your skin. There are different brands but I go for the one with pain killer and antiseptic in it.
- Pain Killer — Your choice of course. I have used Jack Daniels on tooth aches (works after about 15 minutes, depending on how much you drink), but ibuprofen is probably the easiest to carry.
With these four items and a little imagination, you should be able to handle everything except the most dramatic issues. I have extensive field medical training from the Marines and many hours of commercial First Aid training under my belt. I suggest you do the same. These classes are offered constantly at local gyms, fire stations, and schools around the U.S. If you’re going to do some serious adventure far away from civilization, well, that’s a different article.