As every scout should already know, first-aid kits are necessary for any lengthy hikes and all overnight camping trips. As you strive to “be prepared,” ensure that your first-aid kit contains antiseptics, triple antibiotics, assorted bandages and a few basic medicines, such as children’s aspirin and an antihistamine. Additionally, your kit must contain a first-aid manual and personal protective equipment, to prevent disease transmission between the wounded and those treating them.
Bandages and Related Items
Adhesive bandages are great for covering and protecting most small wounds, so bring a variety of sizes and styles. Be sure that butterfly bandages are included for keeping lacerations closed. Include a roll of first-aid tape and a box of sterile gauze pads so that you can make custom-size bandages, in case a scout sustains a large wound. Moleskin is invaluable for preventing wounds caused by rubbing boots and pack straps, but it is important to apply it at the first signs of irritation. Include an elastic bandage to treat sprained ankles or sore knees.
Antiseptics, Ointments and Creams
All first-aid kits must contain something for cleansing wounds and tools before use. Alcohol-soaked pads or other antiseptic towelettes are a convenient option, but a bottle of rubbing alcohol works just as well. In addition, Boys’ Life magazine recommends keeping a providone-iodine solution in your first-aid kit, for cleaning bad wounds. Include a triple antibiotic ointment or cream in your kit, but be sure that no one in your troop has an allergy to the antibiotics in the ointment, in which case you must opt for a single antibiotic. An itch-fighting cream or lotion is also an important addition, in case your scouts brush up against poison ivy or suffer many mosquito bites.
Add a pair of scissors to your kit for cutting tape, bandages or clothing. Opt for scissors designed for first-aid purposes that feature a rounded tip, which prevents the scissors from poking the skin. A good pair of tweezers is also important for removing splinters – a common occurrence on camping trips.
Although they are not always included in -- or even recommended for -- first-aid kits, an age-appropriate, over-the-counter pain reliever can be very helpful on long trips. Additionally, an antihistamine is helpful for treating allergic reactions. Always check with the parents of your scouts to ensure that no members of the troop are allergic to these basic medications, and that you have the parents' permission to administer such products if necessary.
Personal Protective Equipment
All first-aid kits should contain several pairs of latex or nitrile gloves to be worn whenever a wound, or sickness involving body fluids, is tended to. Some type of mouth-barrier device should also be included in case anyone must administer CPR. Goggles or protective eyeglasses are also important for protecting the eyes of caregivers.
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