The Pennsic Medicine Chest
Erich von Kleinfeld, MC,
Introduction and Disclaimer: I'm a long-time Pennsic veteran (missed the first 9), former Boy Scout, and Mentor Chirurgeon. I was warranted as a Journeyman 9 years ago, at my 19th Pennsic. Prior to becoming a Chirurgeon, I took care of myself and any friends or household mates who wanted help. I am not a medical professional, however. My actual qualifications extend to First Aid, and CPR. I do not prescribe or dispense medicines, nor do I give medical advice per se. Readers are advised to seek their doctor's advice on any of the items discussed herein. I need also to point out that I have a streak of obsessive, compulsive paranoia. This manifests as a tendency to pay fanatical attention to the spirits of Darwin and Murphy.
Why bring one's own stuff?
If you don't, you won't have it. The First Aid Point formerly known as Chirurgeon's Point, doesn't carry over-the-counter meds.
Hauling a sick family member halfway across Pennsic may not necessarily be a good idea, unless it's an actual EMS situation.
You can tailor the contents of your kit to suit yourself.
What should be in The Chest?
Fixes for boo-boos
Bandaids / Wound Washing / Antibiotic (if suitable)
Larger Dressings and Tape
Splints, Ace Bandages, Braces as needed
Medicines – Listed by illness, rather than specific drugs
All Meds: Choose based on effectiveness FOR YOU, side effects, Interactions
Brand Names: The difference between, for example, Claritin(tm) and Wal-Mart generic Loratadine? About 4x the price.
Pain / Fever Meds, for anything ranging from contusions to hangovers. Ones with anti-inflammatory effects are particularly useful around fighters.
Cold / Allergy / Sinus: Note the difference between Antihistamines, Decongestants, Cough and Cold Remedies
Tummy Upsets: Antidiarrheal, Nausea Meds, Antacids
Topicals: Sunscreen, Sunburn Remedies, Bug Repellents, Fixes for Bites, Stings, and Rashes. Powder, for the Sweaty Bits.
Prescriptions: Time to lay off the jokes about Geezer Boxes
Instruments: You may not want EVERYTHING, choose what you think you'll need.
Forceps / Hemostat, Tweezers, Tick Pliers, Scissors
Extractor / Suction device for bee stings etc
Digital – Reliable, accurate, fairly quick
Glass (Mercury-free, of course) – No batteries to die, and easy to clean
Temporal – fast, accurate, drawbacks are battery life and cold weather
Tympanic (Ear) – Pretty much worthless
Pen Light (with magnifiers, etc, from Drug Store gadget rack)
Dosage spoon for liquids
Sphygmomanometer, aka BP cuff
http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/firstaidkit.html – FEMA's listing of first-aid supplies for their larger, more inclusive bug-out kit
Dr. Koop's Self-Care Advisor: The Essential Home Health Guide for You and Your Family – Time-Life books
American Red Cross, American Heart Association, National Safety Council, and American Safety and Health Institute (ARC, AHA, NSC, and ASHI) first aid manuals.