In my experience, when it comes to first aid kits, people are in one of two categories: 1. “What first aid kit?” They have to run to the store for every little ailment or scrape. Or, they’re in camp number 2. First Aid supplies and OTC medications in every room of the house, with duplicates and multiple open bottles in no organized form or fashion. I happen to be in camp number 2. As a nurse, I know the importance of having things on hand, but I tend to over-stock and then forget where I put the opened package, so I just open a new one when I need something! This article is to help solve both problems for two reasons: First, I need to have an organized system for my own supplies. Teaching someone else how to do something is a great way to better yourself and help others at the same time 🙂 Second, I want to expand my kit to a fully functional, ultimate medical kit for TEOTWAWKI scenarios and to help my family (and yours!) be as self-reliant as possible. Traditional Medicine Vs. Homeopathic Remedies Here’s my take on traditional medical supplies and medicine vs. natural and homeopathic remedies: I’ve been on both sides of this. I was an ER nurse in a very large, very well respected Children’s hospital and I’ve seen some crazy things. I’ve seen things medicine can’t explain, and I’ve also seen diseases cured by simple, proven medical techniques. I’ve also seen how powerful and effective essential oils and herbs can be. If you really want to know my two cents, this is it: Hundreds of years ago, people used whatever they could find to cure their family members from disease and to prevent illness. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t. People died. People were permanently injured, and people walked away without so much as a scratch. Since then, scientists and medical professionals have done copious amounts of research: learned things we never knew were possible, cured diseases, and fabricated medicines to relieve symptoms and death. Some things work. Some don’t. We still have people who die. We still have people who are permanently injured, and we still have people walk away unharmed. There are pros and cons to BOTH homeopathic remedies AND to traditional western medicine. Medicine, to me, is all a balance of risk versus reward. I’m not trying to start any crazy debates or anything, but if we take vaccines for example, you are either risking that your child contracts a disease and spreads it to other people/children or you’re risking that your child could become a victim of vaccine injuries. Both are legitimate risks, and both options also have rewards. It’s up to you to decide which risk to take and whether or not the reward is worth it. Your family. Your decision. I know it’s not really as simple as that, but you get my point, right? In our home, we use a combination of both traditional medicine and holistic health. I LOVE my essential oils, and I wholeheartedly also believe in several homeopathic remedies; however, this article focuses more on the traditional medicine side of our medical kit. If you have any questions for me about our holistic remedies, please feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com Pick Your Container I chose a large tackle box for our Medical Kit after seeing the idea on A Bowl Full Of Lemons. (Great site, by the way!) I picked the biggest one they had at Wal-Mart, (also found on Amazon HERE) and it worked out perfectly because the slots are JUST the right size for bandages and medicine bottles, plus there is a large compartment in the bottom that holds all of the larger items. If I were to do it again, I would probably pick a tackle box that had a locking option to keep little hands out, but so far I’m happy with my purchase 🙂 A Nurse’s Fully Stocked Medical Kit Scavenge for Supplies you already have on Hand Check cabinets, cupboards, and drawers for any first aid, medical supplies, or medications you might already have at your house. You’ll probably be surprised by how much you already have! Separate everything into Categories and Make a List of What You’re Missing Here’s a list of everything I keep in my Ultimate Medical Kit for our family. I keep at least one of each on hand, plus more in storage. Some things, like bandaids, gloves, and alcohol pads, you’ll want quite a few handy. I fit as much as I could into my toolbox (surprisingly most of it fit!) and then everything else that didn’t fit, plus any duplicates I had, were stored in the same categories in tupperware containers to replenish my toolbox stash when it gets low. If you have any questions about an item’s purpose, please feel free to Contact Me 🙂 Note: You can find many of these items for great prices at your local feed store/Tractor Supply/Atwoods or at Shop Med Vet online. Just because it’s marketed for veterinary medicine doesn’t mean it is any different than what’s used on humans in the hospital, and it is generally half the price, too! Allergies, Bug Bites, and Rashes Antifungal ointment Benadryl Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Bug Spray 100% Deet Calamine lotion Hydrocortisone Mucinex Mucinex DM Nasal Decongestant PE Nasal Spray (Afrin) Nystatin and Triamcinolone Acetonide Saline nasal spray and washing/irrigating wounds Tea Tree Oil for bug bites Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint for seasonal allergies Vicks vapo rub Wal-Flu Children’s Medications Bulb syringe Gas Drops (Simethicone) Liquid and Chewable Benadryl Motrin Orajel Saline Stickers/Suckers/Bubbles for comfort and distraction Teething Tablets Tylenol Dental Clove Essential Oil Dental instruments (probe/mirror) Dental Wax Floss Mouthwash Toothbrushes Toothpaste ENT & Eyes Chloraseptic Throat Spray Contacts/contact case, extra glasses Saline for contacts Similasan pink eye drops Tongue Depressors (Can also double as small splints for fingers or little arms/legs when paired with an adhesive bandage) Halls menthol cough drops Fever & Pain Age appropriate thermometers (Oral for adults and either Rectal, Axillary (Under the arm), or Temporal for children) Aspirin Cool Downz/Frogg Toggs Ibuprofen Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) Peppermint Essential Oil for cooling Tylenol Sprains and Breaks Ankle brace (lace up will fit more people/foot sizes) Finger splint Knee brace SAM splint Wrist brace Stomach/GI Issues Acidophilus Probiotic Anti-Diarrheal Cascara Sagrada Castor Oil Dramamine (Motion Sickness) (Also helps with radiation sickness) Fleets enemas/suppositories/laxatives Ground Ginger Pepto Bismol chewables Stool softeners Tucks pads/Witch hazel Zantac (acid reducer) Supplements B-12 Vitamins B-complex vitamins for energy Calcium D-3 Vitamins Magnesium Mature Complete Multivitamin Omega 3 Fish Oil Vitamin C Women/Pregnancy AZO standard (Pyridium) AZO yeast Birth Control Condoms Dermoplast– Numbing spray that can be helpful “down there” after childbirth. This might be TMI, but after I had Little Man, I practically carried this stuff everywhere with me. It was a lifesaver! And I will be sure to have more on hand for the next kiddo. Pads & Tampons or Menstrual Cup– Besides their obvious uses, pads and tampons can make great bandages in a pinch. Did you know that the tampon was actually invented for gunshot wounds? Food for thought! Pregnancy Tests Vagicaine ointment- For yeast infections Wound Cleaning/Dressing/Burns 100% Proof alcohol- Cleaning wounds AAA antibiotic ointment (Generic Neosporin) Ace wraps 3” Bandage scissors Band-Aids (various materials and sizes) Betadine/iodine swabs- For cleaning and sterilizing skin prior to suturing Butterfly Band-Aids CAT tourniquet– Please, please, please do NOT use one of these if you don’t know what you’re doing! You can cause serious damage with improper use. Copaiba Essential Oil– For swelling and inflammation Elastic gauze bandage rolls (Kerlix) 6”x4 Yards Epsom salts- For soaking sore muscles and joints Gauze 4x4s and 2×2 (Both Sterile and Non-Sterile) Gold Bond foot powder Heat packs/heating pads Instant Cold Packs IV kits/catheters Kelly forceps- For suturing Lap sponges (sterile drapes) for soaking up blood or bodily fluids. Puppy pads also work well for this purpose, but they are not sterile. Lavender Essential Oil– For burns Medical Tape (Durapore Silk tape is my personal preference) Medical/surgical instruments Molefoam/moleskin (Rolls tend to be cheaper) New Skin Liquid bandage Non-Adherent Sterile Pads (Also called Telfa Pads) Normal Saline bags and tubing for rehydrating Quickclot Rolled Gauze Silver Sulfadiazene- Prescription medication/salve for burns Splinter Removal Kit Steri-strips– Thick, stronger Band-Aid type closures that can be used in place of sutures on smaller cuts Sterile surgical gloves Suture kit Sutures Syringes and needles Tegaderms (A clear, adhesive patch to cover and waterproof wounds) Tiger Balm- Sore muscles, similar to Bengay Topical Antiseptics (Alcohol, Betadine, Hydrogen Peroxide)- Cleaning wounds Trauma Tray ValorEssential Oil- For bumps, bruises, and scrapes (Unavailable right now 🙁 🙁 Makes me sad.) VetWrap (Coban) Miscellaneous Aloe Vera Gel Apple Cinder Vinegar Baby Powder with Aloe and Vitamin E Blood pressure cuff (manual) CPR mask with one way valve Duct tape Ear loop masks Ear plugs Electrolyte replacement Salts Emergency Mylar Blankets Flashlight Gloves (I recommend having 1000+) Glucose Tablets Hand sanitizer Lip balm/chapstick (Big fan of Burt’s Bees!) Lotion (Burt’s Bees Honey and Orange Wax is one of my favorites!) Melatonin N95 masks Nail clippers Petroleum Jelly Pill crusher/pill cutter Scissors Soap Stethoscope Sunscreen Tweezers Zip lock bags Prescription Medications Antibiotics- This really needs to be a whole separate topic, but I recommend looking into fish antibiotics. EpiPen Also include any prescriptions that your family members need on a daily basis. UPDATE: I have addressed the Fish Antibiotic topic, how and where to get EpiPens and other prescriptions, and proper medication storage in my Ultimate Guide to Prescription Medications for Self-Reliant Families 🙂 Reference Manuals Drug Reference Guide First Aid Manual Living Ready Pocket Manual: First Aid Fundamentals for Survival Where there is No Doctor Where there is No Dentist You can download a free printable of this list HEREA Nurse’s Fully Stocked Medical Kit: A Nurse’s Fully Stocked Medical Kit Printable List You probably won’t be able to get everything all at once. Medical Supplies are expensive! Not to mention, the list I have created is pretty long and overwhelming. BUT you can print out this checklist and add a few things to your kit each time you head to the grocery store. Check for sales, and before you know it your kit will be fully stocked! Organize Your Kit I used a large tackle box to organize my supplies, and then stored the extra in corresponding tupperware boxes. Like I said above, most of it (I’d say about 95%) fits nice and neatly in my tackle box :)I love that it is all together in one spot, easy to access, beautifully organized, AND is portable. Please note that this is NOT the kit we would take if we had to Bug Out on foot. This stays at the house, or maybe comes with us in the car for long road trips. We have smaller, lighter medical kits in our BOBs that have only the essentials for survival, but this kit covers pretty much anything we might encounter as a self-reliant family. This is what my Ultimate Medical Kit looks like now: A Nurse’s Fully Stocked Medical Kit A Nurse’s Fully Stocked Medical Kit Top row: Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers Second Row: Bug Bites, & Rashes –> Eyes –>ENT Third Row: Stomach Issues/GI –> Allergies and Sleep Aids Fourth Row: Essential Oils and Injectable Medications A Nurse’s Fully Stocked Medical Kit Top Row: Alcohol swabs and various sized bandaids, AAA ointment, and Telfa pads Second Row: Tape, flashlight, pen, marker, thermometer Third Row: Butterfly bandaids, Syringes, needles, saline, and gauze pads Fourth and Fifth Rows: Essential Oils Bottom Compartment: Miscellaneous items that were too big for the slots: Children’s medications, various medical tools (BP cuff, stethoscope, Otoscope), braces, alcohol, peroxide, and much more. Other Resources Patriot Nurse is one of my favorite Prepper Site subscriptions. She has a great video explaining many of the things on my list, plus a video about finding great medical supplies at the Dollar Tree! 🙂
What About You? What Does Your Medical/First Aid kit look like? What kind of supplies do you like to keep on hand? A Note About Essential Oils: I used to be a distributor of Young Living Essential Oils, but I no longer sell them. I believe there are several different excellent choices in Essential Oil companies out there to choose from, Young Living being one of them, but each person needs to research the companies on their own to determine which company will be the best fit for their family. Several of the oils mentioned on this blog are Young Living specific blends; however, a quick google search can help you create your own blends from other single essential oils. I still use Young Living oils on occasion, but I have found Plant Therapy to also have excellent quality oils at about half the price, so I have begun to purchase my oils there instead. You can Contact Me with any questions you may have.