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The Survival Doctor's Store: Survival-medicine supplies to get after you have the basics.


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Intermediate Supplies
Medical Supplies to Consider After You Have the Basics


Welcome to my guide to survival-medicine supplies. Here are the types of supplies I think you should have and why I believe they’re important.

(I get a small percentage of the items you buy via this survival store. I’m not guaranteeing the quality of any of the products. They’re just the type I would pick if I were buying—and often I am.)

Caution: Some of these items require advanced training. To avoid causing greater harm, learn how to use them before an emergency.

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Disposable Gowns

These are to wear any time you might come in contact with infectious fluids, such as blood, diarrhea, or vomit. Once you use one, throw it away in a plastic bag and seal it. Or you can burn it.

Tip: If you don’t have disposable gowns, you could wear a coat, poncho, plastic garbage bag with a hole cut out for the head, or a combination. It does need to be something that’s water-resistant and that you can dispose of properly or soak in a chlorine solution (one part chlorine to 10 parts water) before reuse.

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Disposable Shoe Covers (Surgical Booties)

These are to protect your shoes from infectious fluids. If you don’t have shoe covers, you could designate one pair of waterproof shoes for such jobs and wipe them off with a chlorine solution afterwards.

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Blood Pressure Cuff:
Automatic or manual for home + manual for bug-out bag, backpack

Automatic (left): Easy to use. Good if you want to monitor blood pressure regularly at home, even in nonemergency situations. (Talk to your doctor for advice.) Don’t get the wrist cuff. It’s a little less accurate, no cheaper, and no easier to use. To make sure your new automatic cuff is accurate, take it to your doctor’s office, and have them manually check your blood pressure with their cuff. Compare it to the reading you take with yours right after that.

Manual (right): The type I’d rather have in emergencies. It’s more portable; requires no batteries; and allows you to detect a low, weak blood pressure that may not be picked up with the automatic type. It’s key, however, to know how to use it (with a stethoscope). It can also double as a tourniquet: pump it up enough to stop the bleeding. If you know how to use a manual cuff, consider one for your bug-out bag and backpack, in addition to either a manual or automatic one for home.

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When listening to the lungs or heart, it’s easier and more effective to use a stethoscope rather than your ear. And a stethoscope is a must for getting the diastolic (lower) reading of the blood pressure when using a manual blood-pressure cuff.

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Pulse Oximeter

Consider one for home and one for your bug-out bag. Without needles or blood, this clip-on gadget gives you a percentage reading of how well oxygen is getting to your tissues. Normal is 95–100 percent. You can use it when someone’s short of breath or wheezing. With chest trauma, the oximeter can give you a clue on how bad the lung damage is.

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Emergency Airways

Light and small, emergency airways can help keep an airway open in an unconscious person. Consider a set for home, a set for the car, and a set for your backpack or bug-out bag.

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Oral Secretion Barriers

These protect you from a victim’s secretions if you have to do mouth-to-mouth. The set below has five. Why not put one in your car and one in your bag and store the rest?

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Israeli Bandage

Consider one for home and one for your bug-out bag or backpack. An Israeli bandage can be used as a tourniquet or pressure dressing. It isn’t essential but can sure come in handy. Before you need to use it, watch a how-to video; then try it out. It’ll take 5 minutes or less to learn.

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Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T)

Many health-care personnel like to have a good tourniquet like this. In a pinch, though, a strong piece of cloth or rope, a belt, a blood pressure cuff, or an Israeli bandage will make a very adequate tourniquet.

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QuikClot Combat Gauze

This gauze, which has a special substance on it to clot bleeding, may come in handy for severe bleeding of the abdomen, neck, groin, or anywhere you can’t use a tourniquet. This type was recommended to me by a combat veteran. Consider one for home and one for your bug-out bag.

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These are very convenient for eyepatches, but regular gauze or clean cloth folded up will do the job too. You can also use the eyepads for other wounds if you wish.

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Foley Catheters

It’s certainly an emergency when someone can’t urinate. Unless you’ve used these before, I’d go with a 14- or 16-gauge. Maybe even a 12-gauge. (The smaller the gauge number the skinnier the catheter.) Although it could be so thin the urine leaks around it, that’s better than not being able to insert it at all.

These are also great to stop posterior nosebleeds—when the bleeding source is too far into the nostril to get to with regular packing. You insert the catheter several inches, blow up the balloon on the tip, and pull back until the balloon compresses the source of bleeding.

Don’t use a catheter for either purpose—urination or posterior nosebleeds—without proper training.

Here’s a link to some on eBay. (Make sure the catheter is included).

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Extra Shoe Traction

These snow chains for shoes can keep you from slipping on snow and ice.

Left: YakTrax, which I’ve long used. Right: ICEtrekkers. More sturdy and more expensive.

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Neti Pot

Used to irrigate sinuses to prevent or treat allergies, colds, and sinus infections. (If making your own saline solution for irrigation, use sterile water, or boil clean tap water for a minute and let cool.)

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Backboard and Straps

Some type of backboard—bought (left) or homemade—is essential for moving a person with head or neck trauma or who isn’t conscious enough to let you rule out such trauma.

You can also buy straps (right) so you don’t have to look around for makeshift options, such as rope or torn-up sheets, when the time comes.

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The Survival Doctor’s Guides to Wounds and Burns

If you face a major wound or burn and can’t get expert help, you’ll want these e-books. In them, you’ll find information usually reserved for doctors about treating minor to serious wounds and burns. They’re interactive, easy to read, and easy to follow. They’re designed to be of special use during emergencies, when you need to access information quickly.



Braces and Splints

All the braces here can be made out of SAM Splints, if you know how. They’re recommended in the section on basic supplies for bones and joints.

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Neck Brace, Rigid

If you only get one brace it should be this one. Get the rigid kind, for if you can’t rule out a broken vertebra (neck bone). The soft kind lets your neck move around too much.

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Wrist Brace

Get a size you think will fit, and get a left one (left) and a right one (right) since they’re not interchangeable. These also work well as thumb splints.

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Ankle Brace

The lace-up type is supposed to work a little better than the Velcro type, but either will do. Just make sure you get the proper size.

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