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Some people only think of traumatic, bleeding wounds when they think of first aid, but the stats tell us that we should think about other medical issues a little bit more. According to the World Health Organization, in many “third-world” and/or developing countries, the second largest cause of death is Lower Respiratory Infection. The best way to prevent this is to stop an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), before it settles into the lower lungs and becomes an LRI or Pneumonia. On top of that, dehydration from diarrhea caused by food and water-born illnesses, is one of the leading causes of death in the world! With that in mind, we want some good ways to treat URI’s and diarrhea in our kits, as well as some other helpful finds from our local “Dollar Tree”. So here are my “One Buck” finds for medical items at our local Dollar Store.
The first thing I would like to mention is the Mucus Relief. This may be your #1 defense against Pneumonia during a catastrophic scenario, where you don’t have access to breathing treatments, standard prescriptions, etc. These items will help you to get rid of the excess mucus that your body builds up. Look for at least 400 mg of Guifenesin on the items you’re purchasing. The next thing I’d like to recommend is a cough drop like the one pictured here. It works both as a cough suppressant and oral anesthetic. This is going to help the patient feel better so they can rest more allowing their body to heal faster and their immune system to fight off those nasty germs. Another thing that may help is a vaporizing chest rub (A generic for the old Vick’s Vapor Rub your mom used to use on you when you were sick). This will help clear the passages, allowing the person to breathe better and get more rest. The last thing pictured here is a sterile saline spray; this can go a long way to help clear the nasal passages to aid with breathing.
The next thing I want to talk about is dehydration. This is another major killer in developing countries, especially among children. I was really surprised to find this Pediatric Electrolyte solution (compare to Pedialyte) at the dollar store. This particular product has an expiration date of about 1 year from now. If you have children, keep some on hand. If they are vomiting and/or have diarrhea, this is something you’ll need. Look for powdered versions of electrolyte replacements that have a longer shelf-life and may be good for adults. The next thing I have featured here is an Anti-Diarrheal medicine. You may want to hold off a little while before using this type of medication, keep the patient hydrated and allow it to run its course so to speak, but after 48hours you might need to treat with an anti-diarrheal medicine. Again, I have to stress that you must keep an eye on kids as they can become dehydrated very easy!
Now, although the dollar store didn’t turn out to be a great place for items used in wound care, it had a few things that may come in very handy if placed in a disaster scenario. Hydrogen Peroxide was a great buy but the Isopropyl Alcohol, not so much. It was only a 50% potency. Pay a little more and get the 90%. Keep a look out for that when you are buying alcohol, especially if you want to use it as an anti-septic. They didn’t have a lot in the way of gauze, the only ones available were rolls of 3” gauze. Consider looking online for these items seeing that much greater deals can be had through online retailers. I found Triple Antibiotic ointment (also known as Neosporin) and even some little tubes of Liquid Skin. In a pinch, this stuff can really come in handy for small cuts, especially in places that are difficult to bandage with traditional technique. And finally, some medical tape. I tend to go with the paper tape variety because it is better for people with sensitive skin, but either will do the trick if needed.
Strains, sprains, and sore muscles
This next section of items is for strains, sprains, and sore muscles. You will have a lot of this in a SHTF scenario. Slings and braces may be a tough find at Dollar General, but I was able to pick-up some instant cold packs, which are great for reducing swelling, especially if you don’t have power to keep ice packs frozen. I also got some Epsom salts for sore muscle soaks and also some Ibuprofen, great for helping reduce swelling, and alleviating mild pain.
The next set of items is all about protecting the body’s largest organ: the skin. Now I probably should have picked up some antibacterial soap as well, because cleanliness is of the utmost importance when we are talking about staying healthy and treating others. I did however get some hand sanitizer. This is not to be used in place of washing, but sometimes you just can’t get to soap and water and it can be a good thing to use in between washes. Something people often forget in a medical kit, is medicated lip balm. If you are out doing parameter sweeps/patrols or traveling through rough terrain in all types of weather, this is going to be very helpful. The elements can wreak havoc on your lips and skin so that, some corn-starch baby powder and even baby ointment will be a Godsend in a crisis. If your skin ever gets chaffed and raw, these items will be indispensable. Keeping your skin intact is your number one defense against infections! You can even benefit highly from a simple bottle of good lotion. Advertisement
Health and Happiness
The last set here is a little grab bag of things I found and thought could be very valuable for a preppers health and happiness. The little 42 piece First Aid kit is great for kids, or to keep in each of your vehicles. A pack of tissues and even Maxi pads are not only good for their intended use, but can make good absorbent material to help with a bleeding wound. Earplugs could be a big help if you or your children have to sleep in an unfamiliar place with other people, or great for hearing protection with firearms and loud construction projects. I also purchased a small flashlight and batteries, for examining throats and tonsils, checking responsiveness of pupils, looking in ears, and checking on bumps in the night when my surefire goes missing. Last but not least are pain relievers. Life is always better when you can experience some much needed relief from nagging, aching pain.