This is part three of a series of Articles on Tools, spares and gear that people living in a van or motorhome fulltime should carry.
If you haven’t seen the first part in this series please read it first.
First Aid Kit.
This is a relatively short post as everyone should be carrying a First Aid Kit. However I will point out a few extras that are worth carrying specifically for fulltimers. Please note I am not a medical professional so this post is really my personal opinion. These items are a recommendation based on my personal experience and they have got me past painful experiences.
When choosing your first aid kit please get a large one with a comprehensive selection of materials and equipment. There are many kits available and it is always worth buying a larger one than you think you need. You never know, you may be involved in a major incident and having a First Aid kit that has plentiful supplies may save lives. Even if you don’t have any first aid training it is possible that someone in the incident will and you will be able to do your part by providing supplies. Not everyone can be a hero and give mouth to mouth to save a life, but you can do your bit by being prepared for the worst.
I prefer to carry a hard case one like this as I don’t risk crushing and damaging it in my confined storage space. It is worth noting that quite a few items do have expiry dates and you do need to replace them periodically. It can be cheaper to buy a whole new kit, however I tend to refresh mine with individual supplies as and when they expire.
There are also some very good large semi-professional ones available should you wish to buy the whole kit in one go. Here are a couple that appear to cover most of the bases.
Additions to standard First Aid Kit.
You will be on the road for extended periods of time away from your regular doctor and dentist so being prepared for those times is a must. There are some extras that you can carry in your First Aid kit that we hope to never need but are grateful when they are there to hand.
I always carry extra thermal/foil blankets. I have only ever needed to use them once, but having spares on hand was a massive bonus. I came upon an accident 3 years ago in which a female motor biker had come off. She was in shock and very cold. I gave her two of these silver blankets one to wrap her body in and one to wrap around her legs and feet. It does take a while for them to have any noticeable effect but when they do, they are very much appreciated. I also gave her one of my bath towels which was folded multiple times and placed on the ground for her to sit on. I only had the one thermal blanket supplied in my first aid kit and an additional one I had obtained elsewhere. Now I always carry a pack of 5+.
I always carry a small pack of non latex gloves. I am not allergic to Latex but some people are seriously allergic to it. The last thing you want to do when assisting someone is make it worse by triggering an allergic reaction.
Make sure that you have some antiseptic cream in your kit, such as Savlon and keep this up to date.
Now onto the things that are specific to fulltimers. I keep a small box with the normal tablets in, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen etc. However as I don’t keep a close track on the supplies in this box I also keep a strip of each in my first aid kit. It is worth noting that it is safe to take both paracetamol and ibuprofen at the same time providing both are pure and not already combined. Ibuprofen is a non steroidal anti inflamatory and Paracetamol is a pain killer. This combination is especially helpful if you have a gum or dental infection as one will relieve the swelling/pressure and the other will help with the pain. Seek medical advice where possible before taking either or in combination if you have existing medical conditions though and never take them for prolonged periods. Ibuprofen can cause reactions in some people so read the enclosed leaflet before taking them for the first time.
Buy an aluminium based finger splint if your first aid kit doesn’t carry one. You will no doubt at some point suffer a finger injury and still have to get stuff done before you can get medical treatment especially if you are a solo fulltimer. A splint can relieve pressure on an injury until you can get proper medical attention.
In addition to the painkillers, it is worth carrying some Corsodyl. This stuff can reduce a gum infection very quickly. I had an infection behind my Wisdom tooth and within 2 days I had it managed with Corsodyl and the painkillers giving me chance to get to my dentist who I know and trust. Using Corsodyl at the first sign of discomfort may help prevent serious pain developing.
The final thing I carry is Immodium for those nasty back fire situations. It shouldn’t be used for long term issues. But it will bring normal Indian food based or excess alcohol based trouser problems under control very quickly. If your situation continues past 1 day seek medical advice. This is really just a tablet that helps with self inflicted digestive issues. There are times when you really need to leave your van and are unable due to this issue, Immodium can get you out of the proverbial literally. I have found the instants to be the most effective.
There are many other things you can carry depending on your situation and medical needs. It is better to be over prepared on this front than to find yourself in pain or injured and not be able to do anything.
If you have any suggestions for additional items a fulltimer should carry in their first aid/medical kit please leave a comment.