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Re: 1st Aid at Sea & Important Like Items to Carry
For the first aid it's like most everything else that gets posted here.... equipment always comes second to knowledge. If you don't know how to use it then it won't do you much good. Also, there have been some good points made about buying LARGE medical kits. Most the time they have the same stuff as the little kits.. just more of it. So you go from 10 band-aids to 500 of them.
Building your own kit is always the best idea... and keeping it current. Grabbing some ibuprofen that expired 5 years ago when you built the first aid kit probably won't help your headache as well as you want. But you won't have a good idea what to put in it unless you know a bit about first aid/medical care. The first aid courses are a good idea, try to find something that has lots of hands-on/lab time. If you have the time and you plan on being out traveling far and wide for a while, a 110 hour EMT-Basic course might not be a bad idea. Seems excessive, but would be good if someone actually gets really hurt.
The kit on my boat is in a couple plastic storage containers with all the bits in zip-loc bags separated by meds and trauma/first aid stuff that I put together myself. Not the kind of thing to grab if you're going under!!! but that's not really what I figured I'd be using it for 99.999% of the time! And you're going to wind up spending money no matter what. Between meds and some basic first aid stuff it's surprising how quickly you can spend $40-50 (or way more). But really, it's still going to be cheaper than buying a pre-fab kit.
OTC meds I've got cover the scope of what I hopefully won't need!! ibuprofen, tylenol, ASA, cough and cold, cough drops, anti-diarrhea, antihistamine (diphenhydramine and loratadine), antacids.... Wal-mart recently had generic bottles of most all of these for $0.88 a bottle and I loaded up.
first aid stuff it'd be good to make sure you have quite a few 4x4" dressings. They're handy and you can cut them smaller or in odd shapes if you need. And get several roller gauze for holding dressings in place: 2", 4" are good. There is bulky roller gauze too... one of those 4" is handy. Don't forget a couple rolls of 1" tape, the cloth kind is strong but easy to tear. Might throw in some waterproof tape if you feel it's necessary. Could also toss in some skin glue... if you can't find it at the drug store, just get super glue. It's great for small flappers on fingers that you still need to use (we do that rock climbing somewhat often). Otherwise for wound closure "steri-strips" are nice.