After a severe storm, earthquake, a large-scale disease outbreak, or even a terrorist attack, those same medical services will become quickly overwhelmed. You and your family will need to rely on yourselves for general medical care. One vital component for becoming self-reliant in such situations is to have a comprehensive medical kit on hand.
Now, the size and scope of the medical kit depends on whether you are planning for sheltering in place or going mobile. If you’re staying put, then a kit with a full stock of supplies is appropriate. But if you’re bugging out, then your supply will be limited to the basics supplemented by your family’s specific medical needs. Kits for both circumstances are available from online retail outlets, and at some department stores. Large home emergency med kits are quite expensive while backpack kits are more affordable given their size and contents.
However, if you are not in a rush, building a custom medical kit is another option that won’t break the bank. These kits can be gradually built up over time, as your budget allows. And, they offer the freedom of planning for your specific needs. There is no reason to purchase what you will never use. The best prepper medical kits are modified to fit the particular circumstances of each families’ unique needs, put together piece-by-piece in the same way you build an emergency food supply over time.
Determine Your Emergency Med Kit Needs
While there is no way to predict exactly what emergency or disaster you and your family will confront, there are basic supplies we all need to survive. Just as water, food and shelter include universally similar components so is the case with a comprehensive medical kit.
First and foremost, your kit needs first aid supplies to treat general injuries, from cuts, scrapes, and bug bites, to stabilizing a broken bone. For these purposes, your first aid supplies should include:
bandages and band-aids, gauze, medical tape, scissors, tweezers, ace bandages, splints, antiseptic and burn ointments, hydrogen peroxide, ice packs, and pain relievers.
For the medical kit that goes with your bug-out bag, include sunscreen, ointment for bug bites, a tick spoon for removing ticks from you and your pets, (yes, they need to be planned for, too) and hydrocortisone for poison ivy attacks. These are supplies you can gather together individually or buy online, at most medical supply stores, outdoor outfitters, and some department stores. While these kits make a great starting point, serious preppers will want to own these kits in duplicate or even triplicate. This way, you can have one kit for your home, one for your car and one left stocked away in reserve.
Beyond First Aid
There are several situations that may arise during any given disaster, as medical services overflow capacities and the potential for a long-term recovery increases, you may be called upon to care for illnesses and injuries that go beyond general first aid.
Various types of disasters bring about disruptions of electrical and water supplies. Without an alternate source of power, food refrigeration and preservation becomes an issue increasing the risk of food-borne illnesses. As clean water supplies dwindle, outside sources of questionable quality have to be considered. Drinking improperly purified water can lead to illnesses as well. Both food and waterborne illnesses often result in digestive tract problems (gastrointestinal illness) causing bouts of diarrhea, nausea, and cramps that can last up to a week. Your medical kit needs anti-diarrheal medications plenty of fluids with some containing electrolytes. Young children and the elderly especially need to stay hydrated.
Care and maintenance of ongoing conditions specific to your family will need to be addressed. Stocking up on over-the-counter and prescription medications is advisable. Pharmacies may well be closed or overwhelmed as part of a disease outbreak. Your son or daughter will still need their asthma medication or inhaler, your husband will still need his diabetes meds. You may need a stock of epinephrine auto-injectors (or EpiPens) in case of a severe allergic reaction. Disasters rarely happen at convenient times and seasonal illnesses won’t be hampered by an earthquake or the outbreak of a different disease.
The flu will spread just like it does every year and family members will come down with body aches, a fever and chills. They will all need their rest, their temperatures taken, fluids and chicken soup. And, of course, contact lenses will run out of cleaner and you will be stuck with the spare pair of eyeglasses if you have them. And if not, an extra pair safely stored away in case of such an event will continue to provide the gift of sight to help get you through until everything returns to a semblance of normal.
Between now and the next mass disaster or societal collapse, consider broadening your medical knowledge. Enroll in a Red Cross 1st Aid and CPR course, moving up to more advanced first responder courses later on. Get family members involved so they can care for you if you’re the one injured or ill. Research online how to treat and care for various injuries and illnesses. Print out and keep our medical kit checklist as a reference manual. With each new piece added to your kit, from CPR rescue mask to finger splints to wound dressings, learn how to use each one so you are familiar with everything you have when the time comes.