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 Master Chirurgeon. I was warranted as a Journeyman several 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 Wilderness First Aid, and CPR / AED. 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 bring it, you won't have it. For example: 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
Moleskin, for blisters
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: Use 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: Treatments for Diarrhea, Constipation, Nausea, Acid
Topicals: Sunscreen, Sunburn Remedies, Bug Repellents, Fixes for Bites, Stings, and Rashes. Powder, for the Sweaty Bits.
Prescriptions: Bring an adequate supply of your prescriptions, to last the War.
Instruments – None of these needs a medical degree to use
Thermometer(s): Digital Oral/other; Temporal; The latest thing, Non-Contact. I won’t use Tympanic (Ear).
Digital Blood Pressure Cuff, if you’ve got someone with Hypertension issues.
Pulse Oximeter – In these times of COVID, they’re becoming as common as thermometers.
EMT Shears or Bandage Scissors.
Tweezers / Forceps / Hemostat, for splinters etc
Tick Key or Tick Wrangler (metal tag with a tear-drop shaped hole in it)
Extractor / Suction device for bee stings etc
Pen Light (with magnifiers, etc, from Drug Store gadget rack)
Dosage spoon for liquids
What’s in My Chest?
This is NOT a portable kit. This is something I put together as the First Aid station for a Regional Burn. Think, “Patching up boo-boos for 700 or so pyromanic Hippies”.
Heavy-duty folding table
Chest / Tub for Contents
LED Battery lantern
Pop-up Hamper / MOOP can
Dollar store bin for "use me first" supplies
Digital Blood-Pressure Cuff
EMT shears / bandage scissors
Tick Wrangler (tick removal tool)
Nitrile Gloves Large
Thermometer Probe Covers
Anti-Itch (Benadryl) Gel
Pediatric Electrolyte, Quart
Antibiotic ointment paks
Clear Plastic Tape
Gold Bond Powder
Large Honey Pads
Small Honey Pads
A Portable Kit:
EMT Shears and Forceps / Hemostat
Nitrile Gloves, several pairs
Stop-the-Bleed pack – a Ziploc containing
A stack of 4x4 pads
Sun Screen and Bug Spray
2-3 doses each of whatever pills you’ll need.
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, and if you want to go bigtime, Wilderness First Aid from http://solowfa.com.