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  1. #1
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Getting Serious About First Aid Kits

    I've always tried to keep some basic first aid supplies with me on longer bike runs, but I gave it some thought recently and decided my antibiotic cream and wraps were of minimal value. In practice when I get minor cuts they scab over very quickly and I just leave them be. They heal themselves. The real reason for a kit is for sudden and serious trauma. With that in mind I went to the local survival gear store, Eagle Enterprises, and put together a new kit. It now contains:

    2 Quick clot pads, medium size
    6 4x4 pads
    4 2x2 pads
    2 tourniquets
    Forceps
    Roll of flexible wrap
    Roll of medical tape
    Cell phone, prepaid

    The emphasis has switched from covering minor cuts to stopping major blood loss until an ambulance can get there. Do you think I'm being overly paranoid? Am I leaving anything vital out? What do other people keep in their kits?
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  2. #2
    LCI #1853
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    What you carry in a first aid kit is going to depend on your level of training and confidence in adminstering first aid with it. Have you taken a first aid course?

    Skip the tourniquets... you're pretty much deciding to sacrifice the limb if you use one, and they won't help you if the wound is to your head or body/torso. Direct pressure to the wound itself, using a sterile pad, is what the Red Cross recommends these days.

    Serious trauma like that often isn't just bleeding... the general flow of care is to clear the airway, maintain breathing, and check for/maintain circulation, and once those are secured, turn to controlling bleeding. After all, you ain't gonna bleed much if your heart isn't beating.

    A cell phone is a derned good thing to have so that you can call 911 or your emergency help number when you need to. Otherwise you could really find yourself dead in a ditch somewheres with no one the wiser knowing what happened to you. And did you tell someone where you were going and about what time you'd be back, so that someone might eventually notice you're missing, and come look for you?

    There's some good advice at http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/firstaid, including some recommendations on what to carry in first aid kit. I'm an instructor and quite often a group ride leader, so I tend to be a little more anal and carry a little more of a kit, but even when I'm off by myself I usually have some stuff to clean and cover a wound, a little Neosporin, gloves, and a breathing mask for administering rescue breathing/CPR. Your mileage will vary, depending on your skills and how far away you are from home or help.
    Last edited by Pscyclepath; 05-04-09 at 01:51 PM.

  3. #3
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    do you mean anti-bacterial cream? If so it is a good idea to have some, or some kind of spray to prevent infection. Personally I don't carry a first-aid kit on my commute as I'm always in the city and near people so won't really have to treat myself on the road.

  4. #4
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    In case diarrhea threatens, I have two Immodium (loperamide 2 mg) pills.
    That's a VERY good idea. I'll add some.

    Also backup glasses or contacts

    The antibacterial cream is useful as are prep pads.

    Tourniquets are last-ditch and must be only be used in last ditch. You should be prepared to lose everything south of one, and once its on it can only be removed by professionals. This makes it a poor choice for the back woods where a bloodless limb can rot. But I'm on the road system when on the bike, so it's a matter of living long enough for the ambulance. I can see many circumstances where that might require a tourniquet. For example a leg or arm mangled by a side-swipe with arterial damage that cannot be reached and blood loss that will lead to shock and death before help can arrive.

    I'd love to have a way to restart my heart, but that's over my pay grade. Esp. if I'm, you know, dead. Maybe aspirin in case I feel an attack coming? That's about the best I can think of. I figure with major core injuries I'm going to be past fixing with a portable kit.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  5. #5
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Way back when I took a first-aid course, rubber gloves and one of those breathing-protector-thingies was part of the package.

    From past experience, the #1 item that gets used out of a first aid kid is aspirin or some substitute for it, for headaches. (I never had headaches, maybe I was a carrier.)

    If you haven't taken a first-aid course, do that. A little knowledge is better than a big band-aid.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  6. #6
    Senior Member fluidworks's Avatar
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    I'm an EMT, and also do a lot of riding with the local fixed gear scene, so I've seen a good amount of crashes.

    Here's what I carry in my backpack.
    -Pocket mask for performing rescue breathing
    -4X4 for wounds
    -super glue for small cuts
    -Ace bandage for jury rigging splints
    -Aspirin (usually end up getting handed out for hangovers)
    -And most importantly, GLOVES. Great for dealing with blood, adjusting greasy chains, etc.

    I don't plan on performing surgery on the street of course, but these are a few things I keep just in case.
    Silly Rabbit, Fixed is for kids!

  7. #7
    Frame Catastrophizer mikewille's Avatar
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    I guess I'm a minimalist: neosporin, superglue, and handwipes.

  8. #8
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    for day rides I bring a bandana, some duct tape (already on bike somewhere) and salt tabs.

    I would use the salt tabs to make saline to irrigate road rash but they usually get eaten on long rides or distributed to fellow riders when possible heat exhaustion is coming into play...

    I have a flat first aid pack with single use sunscreen lotions, moleskin, alcohol swabs and bandaids that usually lives in the rando bikes' handlebar bag.

    for touring I've got a more elaborate kit.

  9. #9
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    Super glue. Hadn't thought of that.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    1) Go take a basic first aid course through Red Cross, St John Ambulance, or your local Boy/Girl Scout troop. Learn how to apply pressure to stop bleeding, rather than using tourniquets. Learn how to evaluate various wounds. You'll feel a lot more confident.

    2) Go to REI or MEC (if you're in Canada) and get a pre-made hiking first aid kit. I carry the second smallest size, which contains a useful assortment of sticky bandages, several larger burn/rash dressings (Telfa pads, which don't stick to injured skin), butterfly closures (substitute for stitches), antibacterial hand wipes, moleskin blister dressings, and miscellaneous small packets of medication (including Imodium type stuff). I end up using a LOT of the moleskin and most of the little bandaids. I have the smallest size kit, too - it lives in my purse...

    3) Add to the above: 1 clean bandanna or triangular bandage (triangle bandage is better for slings etc); 1 feminine napkin (best and cheapest absorbent dressing you can get!); 1 Ace or Tensor elastic bandage; if especially paranoid and/or accident prone, a Sam Splint (I don't take this on the bike, but it definitely always comes hiking with me). Duct tape is always handy.

    4) Related things I carry on day-long rides or multiday: sunscreen; aloe gel for sunburn; baby wipes for hand (etc) cleaning; lavender essential oil (for headaches and sunburn).

    Um, I should probably mention that I'm a Girl Guide leader, heh. Be Prepared!

  11. #11
    W A N T E D Juggler2's Avatar
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    If there ever was a topic that deserved "sticky" status, this would be the one.

  12. #12
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Gloves--check. Forgot about that.
    I also put in two respirators in case the volcano blows again while I'm out and about. Though that's more of a local issue ;-)

    Has anyone had field experience with the quick clot pads vs. regular 4x4's to stop bad bleeding? They're quite expensive but I figure if it can do the job it's worth it.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  13. #13
    LCI #1853
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    While it's aimed at a little more than what your average rider might run into, IMBA has some good advice on the pages on what first aid skills are required for the National MountainBike Patrol, and the situations there are pretty typical of what can happen to your average trail rider:

    http://www.imba.com/nmbp/skills/skills_firstaid.html
    http://www.imba.com/nmbp/resources/medical.html

    One good suggestion for a first aid kit that you can carry along on the bike:
    http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/firstaid/bikekit.htm

    This is pretty much what I carry along... in a small zip-loc bag that fits in a jersey pocket or small handlebar bag. When I lead group rides, LAB classes, or bike patrol, I carry a little larger kit... one of the Adventure Medical "Trail" kits with extra alcohol wipes, 4x4 pads, and a CPR mask. But the strongest bit of advice I can offer is to take one of the Red Cross classes. What's in your head and can be quickly retrieved when you need it is every as important, if not more so, than rummaging around in the bottom of a satchel-sized medical kit looking for the instruction manual ;-)

  14. #14
    Didn't make it Bat22's Avatar
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    1 trauma pad
    1 pr. mini emt shears to cut trauma pad to size
    1 roll 4" kling to attach trauma pad to traumatic something.
    1 roll tape to secure kling on. Splint with air pump
    1 triangular bandage as sling.
    1 can bandaid spray. Gloves, microshield,poncho 5o' rat rope.
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  15. #15
    Member kawasaki4life's Avatar
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    hey im a boyscout and i have a first aid kit that is about the size of my hand. Idk if that is really neccessary because you might not get bitten by a snake on a bike ride but as we say "be prepared".

    the BSA reccomends you have

    6 adhesive bandages,
    2 sterile gauze pads
    1 small roll of adhesive tape
    1 3 by 6 moleskin
    1 small container/ bar of soap
    1 small tube of antiseptic
    1 pair of small blunt scissors
    1 pair of nonlatex gloves
    1 mouth barrier for CPR (even if u arent CPR certified its always good to have one for someone else to use)
    1 pair of plastic goggles or other eye protection
    1 set of pencil and paper.

    also, did i mention this is very small as long as u use the right items, thanks

  16. #16
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    I just carry enough stuff for minor injurys. I carry a very small roll of duct tape for repairs, yeah you can also use it for taping gauze, which I carry 2 pads; a couple of bandaids; small tube of superglue, not just for injury but also to repair broken stuff or tire slices; 6 alcohol pads for use fixing flats as well as cleaning wounds; 6 handiwipes for cleaning hands after repairs and for cleaning dirty wounds. Had butterflys but subsituted with the superglue. Most major accident injurys your not going to be able to deal with by yourself anyway, so this stuff is just for minor stuff and some of it can pull double duty in case of repairs. I also carry a couple of Motrin, Amonia AD, Excedrin, and Benedril in little packs.

    Been lucky all my life in regards to injurys while riding (35+years) or racing, most serious injury has been 2 dislocated shoulders; even road rash has been minor.

  17. #17
    Mrs. DataJunkie Luddite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluidworks View Post
    I'm an EMT, and also do a lot of riding with the local fixed gear scene, so I've seen a good amount of crashes.

    Here's what I carry in my backpack.
    -Pocket mask for performing rescue breathing
    -4X4 for wounds
    -super glue for small cuts
    -Ace bandage for jury rigging splints
    -Aspirin (usually end up getting handed out for hangovers)
    -And most importantly, GLOVES. Great for dealing with blood, adjusting greasy chains, etc.

    I don't plan on performing surgery on the street of course, but these are a few things I keep just in case.
    Oh man, I totally need gloves for the greasy chain! Sometimes during lunch at work I go out back and lube my drivetrain and it gets all over my hands, not easy to clean off, either.

    As for me, I carry a phone only. I'm way too squeamish to deal with gore, even my own!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
    Oh man, I totally need gloves for the greasy chain! Sometimes during lunch at work I go out back and lube my drivetrain and it gets all over my hands, not easy to clean off, either.

    As for me, I carry a phone only. I'm way too squeamish to deal with gore, even my own!
    Gloves? Orange GoJo makes these neat little towlets in a packet, they work great, but then again my chains are never that greasy to leave a big mess so the little packets work great for me.

  19. #19
    Allegheny Mtns of WV Paco97's Avatar
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    If your serious about a first aid kit, then recommend you go to youtube and search for Nutnfancy. On his channel search for Level 1 first aid kit. Its amazing, compact, thorough, and waterproof.
    Check out The Outdoor Podcast
    http://www.theoutdoorpodcast.com
    Episode #3 How to Buy a Bicycle

  20. #20
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    when you decide what to carry, you need to think about the environment, which will guide you in what injuries to expect. Crashes cause trauma (blood loss, broken bones, head/spinal injuries, impalments etc). Little stuff can be washed off and left to dry or covered. bigger stuff needs bigger bandages. I carry shell dressings (military issue, because I have access) but big pads are the thing. I don't bother with regular gauze, I go for the non-stick stuff, it just feels better coming off. Unless you're riding for days without support, you won't need antibiotic cream, but a disinfecting spray or liquid is a good idea (isopropyl alcohol is the most commonly found). Simple is key: non-stick dressings against the skin, anything to hold it on.

    More important is rider safety: prevent the injuries. hydrating keeps you focused and keeps your muscles responding. I can't stress enough protective gloves. My music teacher in high school ended his career by wiping out, landing hands first and destroying the tendons in his hands. if you're on wicked tough terrain, you're more prone to injury.

    overriding thought: protect ABC's, stabilize and support big injuries, get help ASAP (carry a phone, KNOW WHERE YOU ARE)

    one more thing: shock kills. carry a space blanket to keep a casualty warm. I don't touch anyone without gloves (12 yrs EMS)
    Last edited by pointatopointb; 08-05-09 at 07:22 PM. Reason: forgot a couple of points

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
    1) Go take a basic first aid course through Red Cross, St John Ambulance, or your local Boy/Girl Scout troop.
    are you by chance a member of SJA brigade/training? most people don't spell it right.

  22. #22
    Endurance junkie
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    We have three kids 6YO and under so we have first aid kits everywhere.

    One thing we find indispensible are Povodine-Iodine prep pads. If you go to the hospital with serious road rash, Povodine-Iodine is what they use to clean it out. It comes in foil pouches like alcohol pads.

    http://www.brucemedical.com/poprpa.html

    There's also something called QuikClot - I've wanted to get some, but it's kinda pricey - instant clotting for more severe wounds.

    http://www.quikclot.com/?_kk=quikclo...b-594d31faefe0
    Last edited by twentysixtwo; 08-13-09 at 08:43 AM.
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  23. #23
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    quikclot was designed for gunshot trauma: lots of blood from vital areas. it is possible to encounter such an injury on the trail, but for what I've seen from bike crashes is road rash, sprains, strains fractures etc., none of it would have indicated quikclot. Also, because it goes inside the wound, it might be concidered an invasive procedure and need a medical directors order to use it. I think the best bet is non-stick dressings (TELFA pads), gauze and lots of water to flush the grit out of the wound.

    play safe everyone.

  24. #24
    Endurance junkie
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    Dunno - they seem to be marketing it even for nosebleeds! Like I said, kind of pricey and I've never bought it.

    A buddy once hit a barbed wire fence when we were riding (he was leading). He endoed over it and had no cuts from the wire, however it's not hard to imagine that he could have cut himself pretty badly.

    I've yet to see any injury that would call for Quikclot, though I've seen dozens that benefited from the Povodine prep pads (including several on myself)
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  25. #25
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    Small Swiss-army knife is handy. Blade, scissors, tweezers. I've used the blade to remove a bee stinger several times.
    What is bicycle touring?
    "So I kept looking and eventually found that a spark plug had same threads. So I cycled next two days until I got to Jackson, MS with a spark plug instead of right pedal." - mev

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