Living off the grid–oftentimes a full boat-ride away from the nearest hospital or doctor’s office–has shown me that I’m more capable of treating my own injuries and illnesses than I have been taught to believe. When I lived fully immersed in the modern world, I would run to the doctor as soon as I had a sniffle or the smallest bit of blood. This method of dealing with life’s little hiccups was not only expensive but also unhealthy since my doctor was eager to prescribe a pill or a shot.
Before you get the wrong idea, I’m not that extreme. I get my vaccinations, I’ll take an antibiotic when need be, and I’m sure as hell running to the ER if there is a broken bone involved. But for everything else, my handy dandy first aid kit does the trick. I like to think of it as my ‘Freedom Kit’ as it allows me to live as independently as I please. Follow along as I share with you all of my favorite products that will help you build the best homesteader first aid kit around.
1. Antiseptic Wipes – The absolute first thing to do with a cut or wound is clean the area. Get rid of all those germs, dirt, and dried blood with these damp and sterile wipes.
2. Rubbing Alcohol – Rubbing Alcohol is bacteria’s worst nightmare! Use this on the initial cut to remove any bacteria that might be waiting to cause an infection. Pro Tip: Don’t continue to use rubbing alcohol in later stages of cleaning as it may interfere with healing.
3. Tweezers – Rocks, splinters, and dry skin need to be removed before the healing process can begin. Make sure your tweezers are nice and clean before you bring them in contact with a wound.
4. Sterile Gloves – Pop these babies on anytime you’re cleaning a wound or handling an area with blood. You don’t want to infect anyone with bacteria or put yourself at risk of infection.
Dressing a Wound
5. Wound Seal Powder – When you’re in a bit of a pickle, this Wound Seal Powder can be a big help. Pour this magic powder on any bleeding area to induce clotting and get that wound under control.
6. Antibiotic Ointment – Antibiotic Ointment not only keeps your cuts clean, but it promotes healthy healing. You can put this ointment directly on a wound before you dress it.
7. Band Aid Variety Pack – These flexible fabric band-Aids are my favorite for minor scrapes, blisters and cuts, hands down! They stay on playful kids and hard working adults through water, sweat, and dirt.
8. Sterile Gauze Pads – For bigger cuts, go ahead and stick one of these bad boys on there. The gauze pad acts as a big band-aid to cover your wound and soak up any fluid.
9. Gauze – To keep your gauze pad in place, you’ll need some regular old gauze to serve as a wrap. Not only will the gauze secure your gauze pad, it will also keep dirt and germs from making contact.
10. Paper Tape and Scissors – This paper tape is the best to keep gauze nice and secure. You can also use this tape to create casts for broken fingers and stubbed toes. Have some scissors on hand for easy cutting.
11. Ace Bandage – Sprains, strains, and tears are far too common for active homesteaders. This flexible and durable bandage is a great way to make a mini cast without going to the hospital, and it will be sure to gain you lots of sympathy.
Colds, Flues, and Everything In-Between
12. Breathe Easy Balm – Clear up those sinuses and loosen up that chest congestion by rubbing some of this Eucalyptus and Peppermint balm on your chest, forehead, or under your nose. Catching a cold early with this method can help slow it down.
13. Aspirin – Reduces fever, helps manage pain, and can even be used as a blood thinner during a heart attack–is there anything aspirin can’t do?
14. Thermometer – Especially handy for a household full of kids. You should always properly monitor a fever to determine what you can handle at home and when you need to visit a doctor.
Bug Bits and Allergies
15. Benedryl Itch Relief Stick – Bug bites are not only itchy but practically beg you to make them worse! With every scratch, you are risking infection. This itch relief stick is a miracle worker.
16. Bite Extractor Kit – If you’re living out in the desert or an area prone to snakes and scorpions, this extractor kit could sincerely come in handy. You can use it to remove stingers and even venom from the point of contact.
17. EpiPen – Anaphylaxis is an extreme allergic reaction that can be brought on by food allergies, bee stings, insect bites, and more. If someone in your home has one of these allergies or is prone to allergies in general, don’t skip this product.
The Serious Stuff
18. Antibiotics – Anytime I take a trip down to Mexico or a vacation in Asia where I can buy antibiotics over the counter, I stash some in my first aid kit in case of a sudden infection.
19. Defibrillator – With great power comes great responsibility. A defibrillator can make the difference between life and death in a multitude of critical cases, just be sure that you are fully educated on how to use yours.
So, why not just buy a generic first aid kit? Sure, that would work if you lived on a cul-de-sac and had fabulous health insurance, but us homesteaders have a different set of needs. By purchasing your products individually, you can customize your kit to match your lifestyle and save a few bucks by buying in bulk.
As homesteaders, especially those who live in isolated areas, we face situations that require us to be medically prepared more often than others. We love being in touch with nature, using our hands to build our homes, and keeping away from the pollution of the city–and as long as we are confident enough to cater to the slip-ups that come with that life, we can live happily, sustainably, and healthily.