Who isn’t on a budget these days? I sure know our family is, so when it was time for me to re-fill our home medical kit, I headed to my local Dollar Tree. Everything for a dollar! You’d be surprised by what I find.
Whether you are starting a medical kit, or refilling one that you already have established, a dollar store is a good place to look for items to go in it. Now this is a good place for me to make my disclaimer, this is not to replace medical advice, and I am not liable for anybody’s actions or in actions as a result of the information listed here.
Some people only think of large, bleeding wounds when they think first aid, but statistics tell us that we should think about other problems a bit more. According to the World Health Organization, in developing countries, the second largest cause of death is Lower Respiratory Infection. The best way to prevent a Lower Respiratory Infection is to stop it while it’s an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), before it settles into ones lungs and become Pneumonia. Therefore the first things I want in my medical kit are some good ways to treat URI’s. This may not be all you need, and you must take into consideration any problems that members of your family may have, either allergies or medical conditions. I have however found some great items to get us started, each for only $1!!!
The first thing I would like to mention is the Mucus Relief. This might be your #1 defense against Pneumonia in a SHTF scenario, where you don’t have access to breathing treatments, etc. It will help your body to get rid of the mucus that builds up. Look for at least 400 mg of Guifenesin. The next thing I’d like to recommend is a cough drop like the one pictured here. It is a cough suppressant and oral anesthetic. This is going to help the patient feel better so they can rest more. Another thing that may help is a Vick’s type vaporizing chest rub. Again, this will help clear the passages, allowing the patient to breathe better and get more rest. The last thing pictured here is a sterile saline spray; this can go a long way to help clear the nasal passages to aid with breathing.
The next thing I want to talk about is dehydration. This is another major killer in developing countries, especially among children. I was really surprised to find this Pediatric Electrolyte solution at the dollar store. This particular product has an expiration date of about 1 year from now. If you have children, keep some on hand. If they are vomiting and/or have diarrhea, this is something you’ll need. Look for powdered versions of electrolyte replacements that have a longer shelf-life and may be good for adults. The next thing I have featured here is an Anti-Diarrheal medicine. You may want to hold off a little while before using this type of medication, keep the patient hydrated and allow it to run its course so to speak, but after 48hours you might need to treat with an anti-diarrheal medicine. Again, I have to stress that you must keep an eye on kids as they can become dehydrated very easy!
Now, although the dollar store didn’t turn out to be a great place for items used in wound care, it had a few things I’d like to mention. I found Hydrogen Peroxide, cha-ching! I also found Isopropyl Alcohol, not cha-ching! It was only 50%, you need to look at that when you are buying alcohol, especially if you want to use it as an anti-septic. Pay a little more and get the 90%. They didn’t have a lot in the way of gauze, the only ones available were rolls of 3” gauze, I picked up a few. I’ll find a better deal online (Look for the upcoming blog about this). Triple Antibiotic ointment, great buy. I also picked up some little tubes of Liquid Skin, this stuff can really come in handy for small cuts on places that are difficult to bandage. And some tape, I chose paper tape because it is better for people with sensitive skin.
This next picture is for strains, sprains, and sore muscles. You will have a lot of this in a SHTF scenario. The slings and braces I already had, but I was able to pick-up some instant cold packs, great for reducing swelling, especially if you don’t have power to keep ice packs frozen. I also got some Epsom salts for sore muscle soaks. Lastly, I found some Ibuprofen. Another disclaimer here, do not take Ibuprofen if your doctor has told you not to! It is an NSAID and thus will help reduce the swelling, and alleviate some pain.
The next set of items is all about skin integrity. Now, I probably should have picked up some soap to go along with this, because cleanliness is of the utmost importance when we are talking about staying healthy and treating others. Soap; buy it, use it, love it! I did however get some hand sanitizer. This is not to be used in place of washing, but sometimes you just can’t get to soap and water and it can be a good thing to use in between washes, which is why I included it. Something people often forget in a medical kit, is medicated lip balm. If you are out doing parameter sweeps/patrols or traveling through rough terrain in all types of weather, this is going to be very helpful. Along with that is the corn-starch baby powder and baby ointment. If your skin gets chaffed and raw, these items will be indispensable. Keeping your skin intact is your number one defense against infections! This is why I have also included a good lotion.
My last set here is a little hodge-podge of things I found and thought should be included. The little 42 piece First Aid kit is great for kids. I picked it up for my son’s BOB. As a Boy Scout, he prides himself on being prepared, so this little $1 kit will make him happy.
I purchased a pack of tissues; again these little packs will go in the kids’ BOB’s. Maxi pads, not only are they good for their intended use, but can make good absorbent pads for bleeding. Earplugs could be a big help if you and your children have to sleep in an unfamiliar place with other people, it might be noisier than you are used to. I also have a flashlight and batteries, for looking in throats, checking responsiveness of pupils, looking in ears, etc. Last but not least are pain relievers. This is ofcourse just a start, I need more than I have here, but I want to save money where ever I can, and these dollar store items help with that. Hope you find this helpful.