Wash shallow lacerations with soap and water; irrigate with clean water if the cut is more than a eighth of an inch below the skin. We offer three sizes of irrigation syringes in our online store: a 60 cc syringe, a 25 cc syringe, and a 12 cc syringe. With the addition of an tip, the 60 cc syringe can also be used for suction, giving enemas, and flushing eyes or ears. The 35 cc syringe is limited to flushing wounds, ears, and eyes; the 12 cc syringe to only small wounds and eyes. Consider your potential use and any size or weight considerations. Both the 60 cc syringe and the 35 cc syringe are designed to be carried in our Guide First Aid Pack or Expedition First Aid Pack, while the 12 cc syringe is designed to be carried in our Minimalist First Aid Pack.
Gauze is used to pack deep wounds, blot excess blood and fluids from a wound during the cleaning process, saturate with ointment for a dressing to help promote healing and prevent infection, apply povidone-iodine to the skin around the wound or Tincture of Benzoin to help tape adhere. We recommend carrying gauze rolls rather that individually wrapped gauze dressings. The packaging of individual dressings creates unnecessary micro-trash with no distinct advantage. Pieces of gauze are easily cut from a roll as needed or an entire roll can be cut in half to create a multiple dressings. Our first aid packs are designed to carry sterile two-inch gauze rolls in interior zippered pockets. Full or partially used rolls can be stored in 50 ml Snap Top Vials to keep them clean and ready for use. The 50 ml containers fit into the medium 4-loop velcro strips in all our first aid packs.
Cotton-tipped Applicators (Q-tips®)
While not strictly necessary, cotton-tipped applicators make applying Tincture of Benzoin, povidone-iodine solution, ointments, etc. to the patient's skin easy. They are easily carried in 28 ml Snap Top Vials and fit into the zippered pockets of all our first aid packs.
Abrasions and scratches heal faster when kept moist. Impregnating a petroleum-based ointment (Vaseline®, Triple Antibiotic Ointment®, Neosporin® etc.) into a gauze dressing helps keep wounds moist while protecting them from bacteria. Consider packing all ointments in a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle to prevent leaking into your first aid pack in hot weather and general breakage. You can purchase half-ounce, one-ounce, and two-ounce wide-mouth Nalgene bottles from our online store. Half-ounce bottles fit into the small 6-loop velcro strips, while one- and two-ounce bottles fit into the medium 4-loop velcro strips in our first aid packs.
Forceps & Tweezers
Forceps are take up more space and are heavier than tweezers but they can be used for more things. Like tweezers they can pick-up small things (splinters, cactus spines, etc.) but because you can spread their tips apart, forceps allow closer examination and cleaning of deep wounds than is possible with tweezers. They are also useful in packing deep wounds to prevent premature closure and enhance drainage. Our stainless steel 4.5 inch forceps fit easily into the outside vinyl pockets of our Guide First Aid Pack and Expedition First Aid Pack. Uncle Bill's Silver Gripper Tweezers are the best small tweezers available and are designed to clip onto the inside zipper pull of our Minimalist First Aid Pack.
If you carry a Swiss Army Knife® or Leatherman® with built-in scissors you probably don't need to carry a pair of surgical scissors. If you don't, you'll need a pair of small scissors to trim ragged wound edges and cut dressing and bandaging materials. Our stainless steel 3.5 inch surgical scissors fit into the outside vinyl pocket of our Expedition First Aid Pack and the interior slash pockets of our Guide First Aid Pack or Minimalist First Aid Pack.
Scalpel Handles & Blades
Sharp, thin, scalpel blades are useful to help remove barbed cactus spines and large splinters, and to drain abscesses. Using a handle helps with accuracy. Rather than carry a disposable scalpel, consider carrying a reusable stainless steel handle with multiple blades, or, if you elect to carry our Minimalist First Aid Pack, consider simply carrying a few sterile blades with your dressings in the inside slash pocket behind the zippered pocket. The scalpel handle fits into any of the vertical spine pockets in any of our first aid packs or in the outside vinyl pocket of our Expedition First Aid Pack.
Povidone-iodine is used to clean the skin around the edges of a wound prior to cleaning as well as to irrigate a deep wound when diluted to 1% or less. Apply using a small piece of gauze or a cotton applicator. You can purchase 10% povidone-iodine solution in half-ounce, one-ounce, and two-ounce narrow-mouth or dropper Nalgene bottles from our online store. Half-ounce bottles fit into the small 6-loop velcro strips, while one- and two-ounce bottles fit into the medium 4-loop velcro strips in our first aid packs. In a pinch, povidone-iodine can be used to purify water.
Tincture of Benzoin
Tincture of Benzoin helps flexible medical tape and steri-strips stick to the patient's skin. Paint it on using a piece of gauze or cotton applicator. ou can purchase Tincture of Benzoin in half-ounce, one-ounce, and two-ounce narrow-mouth Nalgene bottles from our online store. Half-ounce bottles fit into the small 6-loop velcro strips, while one- and two-ounce bottles fit into the medium 4-loop velcro strips in our first aid packs. Benzoin can be removed from a patient's skin by rubbing with any cooking or mineral oil.
Flexible Medical Tape
Flexible medical tape stretches slightly to conform to a patient's body. Purchase it in two-inch wide and four-inch widerolls from our online store. Cut a few feet of a roll to fold and carry in any of our first aid packs; use it with a section of gauze roll and Tincture of Benzoin to make your own bandaids; a roll should last many years.
Steri-strips are primarily used to close facial lacerations. Bring the skin edges close together (DO NOT overlap) and hold in place with a steri-strip every quarter inch or so. Paint the patient's skin with Tincture of Benzoin to assure adhesion prior to use.
Micro-thin Film Dressings
Micro-thin film dressings—we sell Tegaderm®—are water-proof, breathable membranes that work well to protect partial-thickness burns, abrasions, and clean, full-thickness wounds, especially in a wet environment where other types of dressings would quickly become useless. Think paddling, rain, and snow. Make sure the skin surrounding the wound is clean and dry; shave or apply Tincture of Benzoin if there is a lot of hair. Properly applied, the dressing should remain in place for days and you can watch the wound heal through the dressing. The small dressings, 2.3 x 2.75 inches, fit into the slash pockets inside all our first aid packs; the large dressings, 4 x 4.75 inches, does not fit into the Minimalist Pack.
Self-adhering bandages may be used to hold dressings in place, especially over joints, something other bandages can't do. The bandage is elastic and sticks to itself with pressure. Three rolls will fill four sections of pipe. The pipe fits snugly into the large 3-loop velcro strips in our Guide Pack or our Expedition Pack. You'll need to buy and cut a section from a large 3-loop velcro strip if you want to carry a roll of self-adhering bandage in our Minimalist Pack. Purchase self-adhering bandages in two-inch wide and three-inch widerolls from our online store.
Exam gloves help protect you and the patient during wound cleaning. You skin also works well if you don't have any injuries wash thoroughly with soap and water before and after cleaning a patient's wound; remember to trim and clean your finger nails. You can carry two pair of exam gloves in one 50 ml Snap Top Vial; the vial fits into any of the medium 6-loop velcro strips in our first aid packs.