How much is "enough"

Home Forums Health & Medical Medical Supplies How much is "enough"

This topic contains 19 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Mama cando 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #505


    Husband was in ICU for 10 days back in January. He was in droplet protocol, meaning we had to put on gown, mask, and gloves everytime we entered, and toss the gown, mask, and gloves everytime we left the room. It made me quite aware of how many of these things we went through over the 10 days!

    I tend to keep a pretty well-stocked medical cabinet, and try to stock up whenever I see things like gauze or band aids on sale, but I immediately went and restocked my supplies of those “disposables”. Another thing I try to store in quantity is face masks. I started handing out N95 masks to friends during the recent fires, to help deal with all the particulates in the air.

    Just figured it might be interesting to discuss our medical supplies and how much we have and what kind of various items.

  • #527


    I noticed this same thing when I had an MRSA infection this past spring. After having the infection cut out of my leg, I had to clean and soak the wound 6 times per day with new gauze required each time. I used 3 large boxes by the time things were healed.

    I think that not only should you stock up on as much of these types of supplies as possible, but you should also learn which of them you can “make” yourself, as well as what some viable alternatives might be.

    It’s astounding, truly, how much you go through.

  • #592

    Jan Man

    The same goes for painkillers.Back in July I injured my back.I burnt through what I thought was a good supply!

  • #617

    doctor bert

    On the issue of medical supplies

    In my experience ( scoutmaster )
    For any thing other than ordinary cuts & fall down go boom issues – it seems that I or other adults need twice the amount that we thought to need.
    extraordinary bleeds, breaks or strapping
    most people do not have the ability to get supplies from clinic venders so make friends with table venders at gun shows such as MOM
    (militia of Montana) who has extensive med kits & supplies I has occurred to me that this might be the wrong place to put MOM so if is let me know or delete this entry
    buying retail is expensive and there are work arounds

    dr bert

  • #632


    I look at all the online auctions for the one auction house local to me. One time I picked up 20 unopened boxes of nitril exam gloves and 4 unopened boxes of tongue depressors for the minimum bid, which was like $10.

    At a garage sale I picked up 4 unopened boxes of N95 masks.

  • #633


    After reading elsewhere how easy it is to use what was considered a good supply I really upped how much I store and religiously replace as I use things.
    I have packed away some old cotton bedsheets. They are past their intended use, but would make good bandages and dressings cut up and boiled.

  • #662

    Spanish Camp

    As a Former EMT-B, I can say that the disposable supplies are the biggest drain in terms of providing care. At the station i used to work at there is a giant multi door cabinet with disposable supplies. Not meds but everything else. We also resupply at the ER and pick up blackboard, straps and c-collars left behind.

    If you plan to buy supplies like bandages, buy them in bulk. Great example is 4×4 gauze bandages. They usually come in trays of 50 packages. Both in sterile and unsterile trays. But both!

    I like the idea of buying cotton sheets to cut up into rolls or squares. You can ensure sterile condition by heat or other means. Then wrap in paper and put in Ziploc bags.

    In terms of what to get, first decide what level of care you will be able to provide. Advanced level of care is a lot more expensive and will run out faster. Basic level of care is easier to stock up on.
    Then decide on how much to get. Using the 4x4s as an example:

    Non-sterile 200 pack is $3.31 and sterile is $2.27 for a pack of 50.
    I would get a mix of both with more Non-sterile being a higher proportion. So I would get 2000 Non-sterile and 500 sterile as an example.

    It is better to have too much than not enough when it comes to medical supplies.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  Spanish Camp. Reason: Spell checker crap
  • #675

    Forever Preparing

    I am a former Red Cross Instructor, SCUBA Instructor and a certified Herbalist so I am a bit OCD when it comes to supplies of all types, but especially first aid and medicines. I have found that there are online deals on first aid supplies and I am not too proud to raid the shelves at the local dollar store for things such as instant ice packs, nausea and diarrhea medicines, OTC pain meds, etc. I found a suture kit on Amazon, the list goes on and on. It depends on what you are preparing for, I think. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes or snow storms, that will hopefully be short lived would require one type kit which would enable you to handle accidents and injuries just in case EMS can’t get to you, or you to them type stuff. Long term SHTF type scenarios would require a much deeper kit. There are several great prep minded first aid books out there, that would help anyone make the decision as to what they would need based on their concerns. As for antibiotics, I had lots of procrastinated, minor dental work performed last year and the week before my appointment, I called and told him that I thought I had an infection and wanted to get it cleared up before my appointment. Amoxicillin, no problem. I do not care for lying, but I would care less for a family member to die of an infection. We also have hundreds of garlic tablets and we grow garlic, as well.

    Just sit down and brainstorm possibilities and prepare for them as you can. Also, you can find medicinal herb seeds on EBay really inexpensively and there are free books on Amazon for the medicinal uses of herbs.

  • #685

    Cab Man

    Since Annaraven brouched the subject; Highly abridged; Subject goes to Dr. appointment. 3 nurses w/ 4 BP cuffs can’t get a good/ consistent reading. IV #1 started, ambulance to Hospital, 4 more IV’s administered. Subject admitted to I C U, while spouse in waiting room. Spouse brought in to visit, “Isolation” posted on door, spouse given protocol; gown, gloves, mask, when done remove all, gloves last and WASH HANDS. Nurses, same plus hair net, EVERYTIME they entered. Subject spends 4 days, upon returning home, subject washes hands w/ soap and water and uses disposal paper towels EVERYTIME they use bathroom. Toilet and all surrounding bathroom surface areas wiped down with bleach wipes, while gloved up, twice a day for over 2 months. Thier Medical coverage was great, but the non OTC prescription medicine retails for over $800. In a grid down, the patient would have died. The pharmacy had to order the meds so going to a pharmacy “grid down” wouldn’t work. Lots of “medical waste” which was bagged and taken to dumpster as soon as generated. Bath towels, bedding, clothes got washed every 3-4 days. You/ we need a LOT of medical stuff, and lot of thinking about “what if?” Also got me personally wondering, do I want to continue to persue grey water usage. If someone at my house got this, could it be carried out to and survive on the landscaping/ food garden plants?

    • #937


      Cab Man – that’s exactly the kind of thing that I worry about. Even if it’s something I can technically ‘handle’ at home, there’s a LOT of disposables to go through. Unless you’ve been through it, I don’t think you realize just how much you go through!

      Great idea on the sheets for bandaging. I’m still trying to think of gowning up though – don’t wanna re-use and run the risk of disease transmission but otoh, do I wanna end up trying to buy enough tyvek suits to handle 21 days of ebola quarantine?

      So, nurses! For a family of 4, with potential flu or other common post-disaster droplet or airborne diseases what do you think is a reasonable list and amount of storage for proper droplet protocol? Obviously, not everyone will be able or interested in stocking everything, but having a good starting point would be helpful.

      Spanish Camp – great info on the bandaging! Thanks.

  • #933

    Red Carnation

    For antibiotics, definitely have tons of garlic-thyme (they are more potent together) as well as bee propolis–both high quality. You don’t want to be dealing with terrible quality when the hospitals are shut down. Bee propolis is a natural disinfectant and antibiotic. You can read more about it here and here.

  • #1242

    OldMt Woman

    Great topic!

    Since we also vet animals [horses are the dumbest ‘intelligent animal’ created], we caught on to Vet Wrap before someone began to make it for humans. Many vet supplies can be used for humans…but you’d need to know which ones cannot.

    I save all Tshirt material as well as the old classic: strips from sheets. The Tshirt material is stretchy and conforms nicely to odd angles. I plan to use ‘sterile’ next to wounds and ‘washable’ as extra padding or soaking thru. That cuts down on the price of ‘sterile’. But not just one sterile pad if the wound area is large…make sure the wound is definitely covered with ‘sterile’.

    There is a way to use pressure canners for sterilization, right? Also use canners to sterilize water in canning jars…for use when you need it quick!

    If we’re years into Stuff Hit Fan, I saw on Internet a way to ?? knit or crochet…or either?? strips of guaze wrap. If some old granny like me was to need a valuable skill….might be a winner. But then you’d have to stock up on whatever cordage was needed for that.

    Read books about the Civil War era…when they did NOT have enough medical supplies. If it gets really bad, the term ‘disposable’ will go out of fashion. Unfortunate…cuz that’s what makes modern procedures so fast and yet sterile. Rip it out of the sterile packaging and proceed.

    My First Aid supplies are:
    — both of us have grab/go stocked 1st Aid kits. I use RED canvas shower hygiene bags that are divided into sections with clear plastic so you can see what’s where. They have a hook to hang it-opened.
    –A large paramedic’s box with basic supplies
    –Red tote with a lot of resupply of things already mentioned [and no, that’s not enough]
    –Red tote with sickroom supplies: plastic bed sheets, bed pan, M/F urinal, LOTS of N95 and “hospital” masks, etc.
    –bedside commode/raised toilet seat with hand holds… can also be used in primitive campsite over a privy hole. More stable for elderly.
    –Red tote with braces for many parts of the body, arm slings, etc.
    –canes, walker, crutches, wheelchair, etc.

    Much of the “durable medical equipment” I’ve picked up at thrift stores/garage sales and simply sanitize them thoroughly. So far I’ve kept ahead of the need for these with elderly parents…or me. I used crutches last year and it was VERY good I had them considering the circumstances. Knee scooter would be nice!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  OldMt Woman.
  • #1246


    Good idea on the T-shirts, having stretchy bandages would be great. Also pressure canning water and medical supplies, maybe even basic medical instruments could be pressure canned.

  • #1579

    Granny Susieq

    A pressure cooker could definitely be used to sterilize anything heatproof like scalpels, forceps and the like. Boiling cloth is the easiest way to sterilize at home. It is definitely scary to think of this, but best to be prepared. I don’t know if I have enough storage space to stock up on everything that would be needed in that scenario.

  • #1583


    Wow. I’m impressed we are nowhere near as far along on this as I would like.

    We grow a good amount of garlic and have a well-stocked basic first-aid supply, but not a whole lot beyond that. I am trying to grow more of our own herbal ingredients, but I’m still a novice. We hold onto expired prescription meds that still hold potency, but obviously, that isn’t much.

    We have an extensive burn care collection due to one person in our group getting a nasty burn a few years back. Since we heat our home with a wood stove burn care went to the top of our list.

    We have an EMT-B, EMT-I, ICU/wound care nurse, Firefighter/EMT and dental hygienist in our little circle and each keeps some supplies in their own preps, but their skills are definitely our biggest asset.

    Getting the more advanced supplies is something that hasn’t fit in our budget yet, but you all are inspiring me.

    Can I ask if you base your supply list on your skill set or just go for it with whatever you can afford?

  • #1586


    Reading this post I know I don’t have nearly enough and I fully understand why people only lived til their early 30’s a few hundred years ago! Good grief, one thing can destroy a whole lot really fast!

    My husband lives off 91% rubbing alcohol, he uses it like water. He’ll be the one wearing blue gloves and not shaking anyones hand, but he’ll talk to you with no issue, oh and he will only use his pen, or mine. No touching community pens. I need more alcohol, gloves and pens now and a new place to start storing because I obviously do not have enough!

    Now that I mention my husband it reminds me, trash bags, you need millions of them. His glove wearing came from working in trash collection, it is gross. You can’t burn everything and some things you don’t want to burn at all, but you definitely do not want it left in the open. Not only trash bags but rigid containers to store things that are sharp or biohazard, like needles. Which BTW, sharps containers at the hospitals are tossed in the trash when they get full. Apparently they can break pretty easily. If the door opens on the packer or roll off containers they are in, needles spill out into the street, pointy and very exposed! 2am nightmares with or without a body suit!

  • #1627

    Inigo Montoya

    ‘Crazy’ Your husbands experience with sharps in the trash is horrible!! What a huge OSHA violation. I guess it happens, but that’s so grossly irresponsible whoever did that.

    I’m a big fan of 91% Isopropyl myself. You can use it to make a great cold pack. Use 2 gal freezer zip-locks, one bottle of 91% Isopropyl dumped in one bag, fill the empty bottle with water twice and dump in bag. Purge the air and seal. Place it zipper down in the other bag, and put it in the freezer. It won’t freeze, but makes a great slushy, gel pack you can wrap around an injured extremity. I like to keep 2 in the freezer. One stays cold while you use the other and can alternate!

    Regarding First Aid supplies, you have to remember the first casualty of conflict is the plan. You will never have enough supplies if it stays bad for long and will have to improvise. In today’s mind set, everything is disposable. I would suggest you refer to my post in the Health Care Emergencies topic on the young lady in Africa that treated her family that had Ebola only wearing dish gloves, trash bags on her feet and a bleach bath at the door way.

    Yes, you need supplies. I would suggest that bleach, cleansers, etc. are important. You need disposable, but you can reuse an N95 mask and a lot of other stuff if you had to. It depends on your storage space and resources as to how much stuff you can stock up on. Take First Aid classes or read up on First Aid skills which will be just as important has having tons of stuff which won’t do much good if you don’t know what to do with it.

  • #2192


    One thing someone pointed out to me when I was questioning buying a suture kit if you don’t have the skills to use it is that you don’t know if someone in your circle (a neighbor perhaps) might have the skill but not the extra supplies to use.

    Personally, I try to gain as much skills as I can, up to Wilderness First Aid courses. And, while I know that if SHTF, we’ll have to make do, if it’s not a complete breakdown, I want the ability to shelter in place and care for my family for as long as possible. I remember the family stuck in quarantine for 21 days during the Ebola scare. That’s basically my gold standard for medical scenario prepping — being able to set up a home quarantine for 21 days if necessary.

    Just went through a period of DH being radioactive (thyroid treatment) for a week where we all had to wear gloves (radioactive sweat was a potential concern) and he couldn’t be closer than 3 feet to anyone in the home. Having plenty of supplies in the house made that way easier than it might have been otherwise.

  • #3322


    Need to learn how to make remedies, like activated charcoal, requires charcoal and calcium chlorate the deicer salt..

    For antibiotics, large animal vet get large bottles of antibiotics as well as powdered, it’s cheap and legal farm stores have them on shelf
    Mushroom extracts better than antibiotics. Look up Paul stamets.

    Learn to stitch have the tools to do sutures including internal learn now on pork belly then turn into tasty bacon a two for one chore

    For bleach get some calcium/ sodiun hypochorlite a 50 lb bag makes lifetime of bleach
    1/2 tsp per gallon of bleach.
    Calcium is also fire acellerant. Use demeralized water if possible. A bag can be cheaper than buying liquid bleach and does not lose potency over time.

    There is so much more it just takes time to learn where and what to buy

    You can cheap on a lot of med supplies but please don’t on tornequet make sure not a fake one use it practice one hand use. The fake one the velcro and windlasses break and don’t withstand pressure required to stop blood flow, beware on online shopping places. Like e and a alot of second rate stuff in this department

  • #8941

    Mama cando

    One thing that probably goes with out saying ; Make sure you have back ups on any glasses or contacts you may use. Due to my weird allergies, I can not wear plastic/ acrylic lenses in my glasses(No contacts for me:( ) My lens fell out of my frame the other day and shattered. Went to the ophthalmologist to see if they could replace FAST as we are leaving for down South soon. I did have an old (5yr) pair that we hadn’t donated to the Lions yet. DH then took his old pair out and put it in his ditty bag for “just in case”.  I also have hung on to ALL the appliances I’ve had over the years, crutches, leg braces, air casts, etc. I was a professional theater performer for 18+yrs and believe me sometimes ya goof up, twist an ankle, knee or get your foot stomped on(surgery).  SO we kept all the stuff.If you have a place to store that stuff, I would keep it.


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