What is in your medical kit (And can you administer first aid?)

The remoteness of travel in Australia, the distances or time between communities and facilities, especially those providing medical facilities, can be far and long when measured in either distance or time.

Mind you remote in Australia can be within a stone’s throw of one of our major cities.

I am sure many, if not most, travel with some form of medical kit. And perhaps the contents of the kit will be governed by the ages of those in the touring group or possibly pre-existing conditions.

Of course, The Flying Doctor provides a wonderful service to those living and travelling in the outback, either via direct intervention by aircraft, or over the phone, especially for those travelling with an RFDS medical kit. But this still has limitations, especially in acute situations.

Perhaps forumites might like to share their thoughts on two things;

Firstly, what would be the main items you include in your medical and what wouldn’t you travel without?

And secondly, what medical experience do you think is a minimum one should have for remote travel? After all, it is one thing to have the medical kit, but can you administer the first aid required in a remote, and possibly stressful situation?

Food for thought…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 07:48

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 07:48
I figure the most likely problems will be burns, bites, muscle strains, rashes, possibly breaks, food hygiene and even a bad flu.

Apart from the normal good first aid kit I top it up with
Burn and insect bite lotion
Extra bandages
Large skin pads

Nurofen plus
Panadeine Forte
Antibiotics for Flu, wounds and Diarrhea
Tablets to stop and start movements
Spray on skin bandage
If I twist my doctor's arm enough, and promise I will call the flying doc first, Endone.
I give it to him on my return.

I also keep up my First aid training. I recall at the last session, the instructor said who is here because of work. Every person except me stuck up their hand LOL.

I intend to do an outback first aid training but they are very hard to lock in in Melbourne.

AnswerID: 551094

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:59

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:59
Training is key I think, and must say (confess) we have Endone in the kit.

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 836537

Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Mar 21, 2015 at 19:06

Saturday, Mar 21, 2015 at 19:06
Baz, I have had Endone in my cabinet for years and never used it. I shouldn't use codeine for my kidney health. I guess that means I am not a serial user. I have had perhaps three to five tablets this week however. I just wish my own supply hadn't been two years out of date.

Boobook it surprises me that you would even think of using an antibiotic for flu
FollowupID: 836820

Reply By: Member - johnat - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:10

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:10
Standard travel kit, supplemented with addition of sunscreen, burn and insect creams, extra bandages of various configurations and assortment of cold/flu, pain, strong pain tablets.
Depends a bit on where we are going - a trip to Tassie for trekking the Overland requires different stuff than a walk around Uluru.
As for "experience" - not a lot (thankfully) but training - help Bronze Medallion from SLSA for some years, annual first aid training for work (mandatory).
The less experience I have the better I feel!
AnswerID: 551099

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:52

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:52
Hey Johnat...rest assured, I'm am processing your comment and oscillating between agreeing, and at other times feeling alarmed!

"The less experience I have the better I feel!"

cheers, Baz

FollowupID: 836533

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 17:28

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 17:28
Understand your comment, but it was intended as "if I do not have to use my training in real life, I'm happy - and safe!"

FWIW, I have had to use the resuscitation lessons in real life, to one I loved dearly, while my son watched on. It did not end happily, but I am certain that my actions did no harm. She had had a clot in the groin, strained on the loo, and the clot went to the lungs - finis!
Ambos, Coroner and attending copper all said that she'd been dead before she hit the floor, and nothing I did could have been effective.
Small consolation, but!

Not keen to repeat the "practical, for real" experience, hence my comment. ;)
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 17:58

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 17:58
I'm sorry to hear that Johnat!


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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:20

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:20
And so are we. Very sorry,don't blame yourself.
This is another one of those tragic times where Fate or whatever one chooses to call it has stepped in and nothing you could've done at that particular time could've saved her.
Take care, safe travels. Ma.
FollowupID: 836564

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:25

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:25
That was in 1977, so I have moved on, but never forgotten!
Always remember that the "practice" you do in the training is not as anguishing as the real thing!
FollowupID: 836566

Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:35

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:35
We always carry a really good set of forceps/tweezers for the removal of splinters etc. These seem to get used a lot. Another important thing is some capsules of sterile saline solution for washing out eyes or wounds when water supplies are not top quality. A thermometer is useful to help decide if a fever is serious and to inform the FDS if necessary (we haven't needed it but always carry it). Paracetemol and cold/flu tablets are always there too. We like Pawpaw ointment as a general soothing antiseptic cream for bites and scratches. Don't forget the bandaids, plaster and non-stick dressings! Of course you need sharp scissors that stay in the box so no frantic hunting for them in the kitchen! Pressure bandages (snake bite) and triangular bandages and some gauze and cotton wool. Sunburn cream is essential!
An up to date first aid manual is useful even if you have a qualification.
We have found it is better to go to our local friendly chemist and collect what we need than to buy a ready assembled kit.
It is good to be equipped. If you don't need it yourself some one else might in an emergency or even minor accident - we have patched up a few kids who have fallen over! It's probably like insurance - if you have it you won't need it! Lynne
AnswerID: 551101

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:53

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:53
Certainly agree that you are better to make up your own kit...

And of course you have all the "staples" in the kit.

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 836534

Follow Up By: Jerscott - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 06:31

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 06:31
Saline solution--I hadn't thought of that one. Good info & plan on adding it to the kit.
FollowupID: 836898

Reply By: Member - Sn00py2 (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:50

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:50
A really good first aid kit such as the following as a starter.

I have added a lot of compression bandages and triangle bandages to supplement it. I also take a good supply of panadol for headaches and other medication as prescribed.

This is the basic kit that stays in the 4WD. On top of this I have a smaller kit which goes on walking trips which includes basic supplies (bandaids, antiseptic, splinter probes etc) plus a supply of compression bandages and triangle bandages to cover breaks and sprains.

Items such as Sun Screen, Insect Repellent I don't count as part of the first aid kit as they are general use items and are not really part of the First Aid Kit.

The most important thing however is proper first aid training for at least 2 people in the party. After all, if you have the training and get injured, you want some with training to assist you ;-).
AnswerID: 551102

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:54

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:54
A good point on at least two having the training!

Cheers, Baz
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 10:20

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 10:20
My Mrs has put together a kit that I reckon would be a good start if we were to set up a chemist shop. This travels with us in the van and the 4WD if going off for a day, week or whatever with just the car. We also have a smaller one we take in a backpack if just going for a hike. This one is very basic but enough to immobilise a sprained or fractured limb and bandage a snake bite and such.
Many years ago when we did the CSR we also had a supply of a general snake antivenin that together with the RFDS radio we hired, went back to them on our return.

We both keep our first aid courses up to date and did an additional remote area component. Not sure if we would do that one again as our trips are a bit less adventurous these days but general first aid, definitely.

A few years ago I was a member of a voluntary country ambulance service and I still remember our instructors telling us about the importance of keeping a cool head in an emergency situation. Much easier to do if you have the right training and some basic first aid equipment. It doesn't help to keep an injured or sick patient calm if the first aider is running around in a blind panic.

AnswerID: 551103

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:58

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:58
Thanks Pop…

For very remote the anti-venom makes good sense, and something I will investigate from an availability perspective.

Your point about “cool heads” is key in any emergency situation and I think having the training and thought through the response under certain scenarios goes along way to ensuring a better outcome for all.

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 836536

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 12:39

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 12:39
I have never heard of an instance where people have access to snake AV (anitvenom), there are just so many types of AV, and using it too specialised.
Possibly in the distant past for remote travel.

Monovalent type AVs are more effective, derived for a particular species which are made from venom milked from their sub species.
A swab and test kit is used to discover what type of snake was involved (why it's important not to wash or wipe off the affected bite area before bandaging).
Polyvalent are generic and can be made to work on on a range of snake species, sometimes combined which can get complex.
These are used when a species can't be identified for whatever reason.

Some info from the CSL website . . . CSL Antivenom Handbook

Reading the info above, you'll see that administering AV is complex, usually it's done in hospital, when all hooked up to monitoring equipment.
They've already cut away the bandage material near the bite site, taken a swab, tested, and have the mono or poly AV at the ready.
Bandages are gently released and the moment they see any signs of vitals changing, they will administer a dose of AV and have more vials at hand as many may be needed.

They don't normally administer AV unless envenomation has occurred, the risk of anaphylactic shock from AV is high and must be managed in a medical facility.
Many snake bites are dry bites, in self defense, they don't envenomate as their venom is precious to them for obtaining their food.

Of course, we can't tell if envenomation has occurred, so every instance of a strike, no matter if there are no fang marks, or bleeding, etc, first aid and evac to a medical facility must be done.
(There are things you can do if remote, the right 1st aid will still save a person 99.9% of the time.)

People that have been found to have died from snake bite have not done the right thing, some didn't realise they'd been bitten, thinking it was a twig or bit of brush they brushed by, or stepped out of a vehicle onto a snake in another case, where they also thought it was a branch or something that kicked up.
At autopsy, there has been a couple of instances very faint red scratches found on the body (usually ankle /lower leg or wrist / forearm area).

I was as snake catcher for several years, took it up to get some first hand experience with them for my bushwalking travels.
It's a very interesting subject and experience.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 13:45

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 13:45
Great insight, thanks Les…

And here is the thing, many of us are exposed to the risk each time we travel in the bush or the outback, and whilst the incidence of being bitten is relatively low, the need to understand how to treat is important and potentially the difference between a good and not so good outcome.

The information from CSL was an excellent read.

Once again, thanks!

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 836542

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 10:58

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 10:58
The usually stocked 1st aid kits, as they come with standard inclusions.
I usually replace bandaids supplied with decent ones, a few waterproof type ones, and fabric elastoplast ones that stay one well, an assortment of sizes and shapes.

You have to replace bandaids form time to time, every couple of years say, so they lose their stick over time.

Further to that, I carry :
A couple of wide compression bandages for snake bite or splinting for breaks etc.
A couple of #4 wound dressing for bad cuts, as they have the pad and bandage all in one, very quick to get coverage and stop bleeding.
An extra triangular bandage is handy for tying off splits or immobilization.

I have done the basic Senior First Aid, which I'm sure everyone should do if possible, and not just for remote travel.
It is a bit of relief to be around / travel with people that have done this, as it's reassuring that they at least know how to keep you resuscitated for a short while if ever needed.

I am also an avid bushwalker for 25 years or so, and did St John Advanced Outdoor First Aid course many years ago.
It's good to cover things that can be more complicated when away from fast ambulance attendance, and covers more long term treatments, keeping patients stable, monitoring vitals and recording for later data, and specific items like burns and venomous bites . . . we did some pretty graphic scenarios over a weekend training camp during that, with some very good role players that we didn't know or had seen, we walked a route and just came across preople impaled on branches, with breaks, snake bites, and so on.
We also made bush stretchers and practiced carrying people out of situations.
Very interesting and eye opening to just how much more is needed out bush.

Of course EVERY first aid training course needs to be keep updated, or you really aren't qualified at the time, but SOME training is better than none, and luckily many workplaces give the opportunity to do Senior FA for the workplace.
AnswerID: 551105

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 12:04

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 12:04
Thanks Les...

I like that style of scenario training (in the bush) as it makes it realistic to how it could unfold...

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 836538

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 12:12

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 12:12
Believe it Baz, it was very realistic !!

I also found this on a BLSA (Bushwalking Leadership SA) assessment walk for my BLC (Bushwalking Leadership Certificate) for leading walks . . . it was on Mt William plateau in the Grampians, one of my group I didn't know sprained an ankle, well it seems VERY realistic and I had to do the FA and also get people organised to help keep her sheltered, comfy, and sort out getting some assistance to get her out.
I was very suspicious it was a test, and in the ed it was, but she was pretty convincing when I touched her ankle lightly !!
FollowupID: 836539

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 13:49

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 13:49


A couple of posts above referred to carrying Endone.
This is a powerful opioid analgesic similar to morphine and should only be used by doctor's prescription. Even then there are risks.
Several months ago I used prescribed Endone which resulted in a severe reaction requiring 000 and an ambulance. Seems I am allergic to opioids which was unknown. Apparently this is not too unusual.

By all means carry and use Endone (or similar) for yourself if previously tried but beware using it on someone else or you may have more than just some pain to deal with.


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AnswerID: 551108

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 14:06

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 14:06

And I think it should go without saying, but perhaps best said, that any form of medication should only be administered under guidance, especially for prescribed medicines.

In our case, for our use only, on a worse case basis. Mrs Landy and I have used it after surgery.

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 836543

Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 14:38

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 14:38
I can take Endone but it makes my husband very sick!. I agree with Allan.
We carry afirst aid kit & snake bite kit.
As far as anti venom goes, you have to be very careful with that too.

These days we think a sat phone & an up to date medical kit are a not to leave home without necessity. It has to be the most reliable of Satellite phones,some don't have as many Satellites as others. We also have a mobile phone with the blue tick for best remote reception.

On one occasion though, I saw a certain set of circumstances come together that you'd never believe & would never see again in a million years. Nothing could've stopped the horrible outcome.

Most of all point to point contact is a big help to any medical kit these days if possible.
Take care, safe travels. Ma.
FollowupID: 836544

Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 15:15

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 15:15
P.S. I should have added a P.L.B.Bye again. Ma
FollowupID: 836550

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 13:59

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 13:59
Baz, I carry a comprehensive 'outback' first aid kit plus a smaller kit in the haversack.

Perhaps the injury requiring most urgent attention is snake bite and to that end I have a small pack of three wide compression bandages in the glovebox which I slip into a pocket even if going on a short walk without the backpack. It seems to work as I have yet to have a close encounter with a snake. lol

I had industrial first aid training years ago and some refreshers but the idea of a 'Bush' first aid course is attractive. Must look into it.

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AnswerID: 551109

Follow Up By: Stephen_L - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:24

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:24
lot's of good ideas.

Second carrying a smaller first aid pack in the back pack. It's not unusual in remote areas to have to walk some distance from the car to see a gorge or falls etc., Mitchell falls is a great example, quite the walk.

Also Imodium is a good inclusion.
Pencil and small notebook for recording details of an incident.

Camera is always at the ready but also handy in a snake bite situation to identify the culprit if necessary.

Our doctor is happy to prescribe us broad spectrum antibiotics when we give him details of our travels (not much help for the flu though)

FollowupID: 836565

Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 16:12

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 16:12
Apart from all the usual stuff, I have a splint, super glue and safety pins. The super glue is good for repairing torn finger nails and can also be used to glue cuts together. The safety pins can be used to stich a nasty cut also (ouch).

Also have a dental repair kit with the dentist mirror and tooth filling compound.

Also have a few of the hot and cold packs that work when you break the internal chemicals.

And when all else fails my sat phone with a list of all the necessary contacts for the area/s I'll be travelling in and emergency contacts.

Usually a calm disposition helps as well!



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AnswerID: 551118

Follow Up By: Fab72 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 20:56

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 20:56
Super glue for when stiches aren't available. I thought I was the only one to carry that.
I also keep a spare box of matches in the kit, a thermal space blanket and tampons. The last item works a treat on contusions and is always hygienically wrapped.

Other weird stuff in there is a mirror, magnifying glass and rubber bands. All are handy to have and a real PITA when you need them and they're not there.

FollowupID: 836571

Reply By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 17:18

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 17:18
An interesting first-aid kit addition for those travelling to coastal areas (some may already carry it without realising it's dual value) is, wait for it, AEROSTART! Yep, of the engine starter in a can variety. Recommended for tick removal because it contains enough ether to freeze dry the tick prior to removal. Presumably other products such as Nulon Start Ya Bastard might also be applicable but consult your expert first.

I'm adding it after watching the ABC program on MMA (mammalian meat allergy) a while back and the more recent Catalyst show on ticks.

From the linked PDF :
Applying a product marketed as Aerostart to the tick is recommended by the University of Sydney Department of Medical Entomology, and the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.

Aerostart contains 24% ether. It freeze-dries the tick, killing it instantly. The tick will then fall out or may be gently scraped off. It is used by applying a small squirt directly onto the tick, taking care to minimise contact with the surrounding skin.

Ticks & diseases - protection
AnswerID: 551123

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 18:25

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 18:25
Actually its not only Aerostart that will freeze a Tick , any pressure pack deodorant will do the same , but yes the need for caution NOT to get the nozzle in direct contact to the skin is required.
FollowupID: 836929

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 18:10

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 18:10
Hi Baz

As you know, the best thing to take is knowledge. First follow DRABC, and this requires no supplies. Without the knowledge, the best chest in the country is useless; whereas with the right training, you can generally improvise. We carry basic first aid supplies (for comfort), and compression bandages with clips to secure them are in the kit as well as some in the back pack for taking on walks. A mini first aid book is on the top of the first aid supplies, should panic chase away reason and memory.


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AnswerID: 551125

Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 18:57

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 18:57
Comprehensive Remote First Aid cert, plus a remote first aid kit with snake bite supplement, never know when you need it, plus the loved one, she is a paramedic.
AnswerID: 551127

Reply By: gbc - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:00

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:00
I keep Aspros for buggers having heart attacks. Inflatable splints are cheap and light and much more effective at immobilising than a triangular bandage. No endone here. If they think they need it, they need a helicopter. Antihistamine and epipen for my dear wife who dies when bitten by green ants. Disposable splinter picks are worth their weight in gold. If you only buy one cream, make it paraderm plus - also marketed under other names. Topical cream with anaesthetic, antiseptic and anti inflammatory in it. Name another topical ointment and this will probably have it covered. Our kids call it 'magic cream'. Bites, burns stings, rashes, infections whatever. It smashes sandfly bites which one of my kids reacts to. The only other out of the ordinary things I carry are proper iodine and clove oil.
Our little kit for overseas travel is decked out with strong antibiotics, our own needles, and other such stuff but I wouldn't bother in this country.
AnswerID: 551128

Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:02

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:02
It may be worth noting that for those with mobile phones, there are Apps which are useful.

You can carry a first aid book in your phone - as long as you have the battery charged, you can access the info, as no phone call is involved. 'First Aid by Australian Red Cross' is one such learning app. It's free.

First @ Scene is an App which is an interactive learning program that guides you through the basics of first aid. I think it's targetted at road users and is also free.

And there's an app where you can record your own health details - called 'Health'. I'm told this is something SES, paramedics, police etc will look for in case of emergency. Again, it's free.

Not forgetting, of course, an app on how to apply first aid to stings, bites, snakes etc:
'Australian bites and stings ' is a first aid guide to Australian venomous creatures and has 3 sections; 1. Emergency. 2. Venomous creatures general information. 3. Be prepared.

I reckon you may by now have the gist of this post/reply. Hope it helps.
AnswerID: 551129

Reply By: SDG - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:29

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 19:29
To store water, keep things dry, makeshift gloves, or even a would dressing, a condom can be a useful item
AnswerID: 551130

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 20:05

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 20:05
Hi Baz,

OK! you have activated my memory to the fact that it must be 30 years since I did a comprehensive first aid course. I feel guilty!

Interestingly enough, I still remember the basics such as CPR, the Coma position, immobilising fractured or broken limbs and ensuring an adequate air passage where possible.
Yes, I should book myself in for an up to date refresher course to provide basic assistance to our normal group of 6 people, or other folk we come across during our travels.
I am reasonably confident of my abilities for the more "run of the mill" situations such as splinters and cuts and grazes, etc. and always carry a comprehensive first aid kit, including good quality tweezers, probes, scissors, an eyepiece magnifier, wide compression and triangular bandages and a range of ointments, disinfectants, stocking bandages, one shot applicators to flush eyes and other items I have learned to keep on hand for remote travel.
Anything else, and I would use the UHF, mobile phone or as a last resort our EPIRB.

I certainly don't profess to be skilled in really serious situations, but have a reasonable confidence that I can provide more assistance than any of our other party members.

I will book myself into another first aid course to ensure I have up to date knowledge of current practices and procedures.

Who remembers when it was recommended practice to cut and bleed a snakebite location in an attempt to remove venom?


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AnswerID: 551133

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 20:41

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 20:41
"Who remembers when it was recommended practice to cut and bleed a snakebite location in an attempt to remove venom?"

Oh Bill you need to get in for an update course mate, big no no nowadays, as is tourniquet.

Hang on, I'll go find you a link to somewhere . . .
FollowupID: 836568

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 20:44

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 20:44
Ah, I see you recall that was an earlier recommendation :)
How about those venom extractors the yanks still love.

You know about pressure immobilisation ?


Leave fingers / toes exposed so you can watch for circulation issues, but great care (and some practice) should see bandages applied once and not then messed with (loosening off etc).
FollowupID: 836569

Follow Up By: SDG - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 22:29

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 22:29
Extractor snake bite kit
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 00:09

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 00:09
That's one of the US kits, extraction has been proven non effective.
This testing was done over a decade ago . . .
US National Center for Biotechnology Information
Even this Wall Street Journal article doesn't mention pressure immobilisation for treatment, just get medical assistance asap . . .
Deadly Dilemma: Do Snake-Bite Kits Help?

Australia is so far ahead of many other countries in the right treatment of envenomation, it's not funny.
We have around 3 deaths a year, the US avg 6*, lower Africa somewhere between 3500 and 32000, and Asia somewhere between 15500 and 57500 (these 2 regions, they aren't even able to give better figures, so many deaths don't get reported).

* US bites are mostly by Rattlesnakes (vipers), whose venom is mostly myotoxic (affects muscle tissue) whereas our Aussie venomous species are mainly elapids and vemons contain neurotoxins that affect the nervous system, far more dangerous.
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Follow Up By: SDG - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 00:23

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 00:23
What is it? Something like 9 out of the top 10 deadliest we have. Rattlesnakes are somewhere near 20 or something low like that
I could not believe that, that link I put up was an Australian dealer. Wonder how many people have bought one?

The other thing that helps us with snake bites, is that ours generally have very small teeth. Couple mm. Good pair of jeans can help prevent bite. Those Vipers on the other hand have huge ones.
FollowupID: 836585

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 00:49

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 00:49
Indeed, the Eastern Brown has near the nastiest neurotoxic venom in the World, yet fangs up to only a few mm long (adult snake) can't bite through denim jeans.
No doubt the Inland Taipan is one to keep well away from, most toxic venom, high yield, larger fangs up to 6mm, but then their home turf is well away from 99% of us humans, unlike the Eastern Brown.
Of course the outback is where they live, usually in the SA / QLD / NT border region (oh great ! 2 Simmo trips this year :])

A group of us visited Venom Supplies in Tanunda SA when doing the catching, these people milk snakes for the venom, given to CSL to make the anti venom for Australia and worldwide, so we saw milking of Cobras, Mambas and other such species.
One demo with Tiger snake venom saw a pin point dipped into fresh venom just milked, that was dipped into a vial of dog blood from the local vet.
The fella shook it up and left it a minute, went back and tipped it up, the blood was totally coagulated in the vial, such is one of the effects of Tiger snake venom.

Still, much more likely to come to an end in a motor vehicle, lightening, shark attache too by the looks of the news lately.
FollowupID: 836586

Reply By: cookie1 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 21:05

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 21:05
Fantastic topic and very timely given the recent death here in SA

Reading through quite a number of responses I feel the "I need to do a First Aid Course" quite prevalent, each person that travels with us has a current First Aid Certificate and knows 1 - Where the first aid kits, each vehicle, are and know how to use them, 2 - Knows how to use both the Sat Phone and HF Radio 3 - Know how to use the EPIRB as a last ditch life threatening.

I'm thinking that strong painkillers such as Endone could cause more problems than solve so wouldn't carry them but do carry Panafen Plus (Pain & Anti-Inflammatory), Disprin (Pain, Anti-Inflammatory & Heart) and Panadeine Forte for those allergic to Ibuprofen or have Asthma but does require a prescription.

I also carry a broad spectrum anti-biotic which was used when travelling the Talawana Track last year due to a piece of Spinifex causing a severe infection in a hand, the side effect of this is that you cannot drink whilst taking anti-biotics.

Apart from that Triangular Bandages are the best in a first aid kit IMO - can fix most things.

Thoroughly agree with Les and backed up by all the first aid trainers I have had over the years, do not administer medication. Administering AV could be fatal and even though there has yet to be a successful prosecution of a First Aider, administering AV without the qualification resulting in death could put you in a very precarious situation with the legal system in the criminal sense.

Do yourselves a favour, do a First Aid course and insist your fellow traveller(s) does the same and teach them how to use your comms and above all Keep Calm.


AnswerID: 551138

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 22:06

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 22:06
Spinifex can be nasty stuff Cookie depending on what's been brushing against it and your susceptibility I guess. I had a shall we say 'uncomfortable experience' with it a couple of decades ago which eventually led to a trip to a doc in the Isa.
FollowupID: 836577

Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 04:40

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 04:40
Hey Cookie...

It is a good topic.

And to clarify my comment on Endone. We carry it in our kit, but would only use at the direction of a medically qualified person. If we had the need to use it I suspect things have gone pair shape to some extent and we would be on our way to a medical facility.

Certainly not in the kit to "pop" like asprin.

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 836589

Reply By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 23:02

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 23:02
G`day Baz,

Being one of thousands of fisher persons it has surprised me that someone has not mentioned any first aid equipment/method for the safe removal of a fishhook from ones finger, hand, ear, anywhere.
The hook can be pulled/pushed through one way or the other by removing the Eye or the Barb.
I don`t know of anything dedicated to this task.
Most fish hooks are made from high strength hardened and tempered steel, normal pliers or side cutters won`t do the job.
A Diamond File will cut it but the hook needs to be held very firm while doing so, and who carries a diamond file anyway ?
So what have all the fishing mob got in their kit for this painful and necessary job ?

An interesting post, thanks,


AnswerID: 551145

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 00:16

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 00:16
Jeez, we used to be able to cut hook tips off with side cutters, maybe they've hardened the devil up :)
Will have to go grab a few hooks out of the tackle box and give it a try on some of these ones bought recently to see how I go.
FollowupID: 836584

Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 04:41

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 04:41
Good point...

My only experience in removing hooks was watching Russel Coight do it in one of his satirical videos!

Cheer,s Baz
FollowupID: 836590

Follow Up By: gbc - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 07:45

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 07:45
Leather man does the job on hardened trebles stuck in belly fat - just saying ;) drive the tips all the way through, cut off below the barb and reverse. My wave also has a diamond file for sharpening tips.
The worst hooks I've tried to remove were the tiny cheap ones on sabiki bait jigs. I caught one in a knuckle joint and it took two doctors to get it back out. I wasn't even fishing, just moving stuff around the garage.
FollowupID: 836591

Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 07:10

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 07:10
Thanks to all for taking the time to provide some great responses and thoughts around the “medical kit”.

(And continue to add to it!)

A key takeaway for me is that whilst what is inside the medical kit is important, knowing how to use it, and importantly in a critical medical situation, knowing what “first response” actions to perform are key to a successful medical outcome.

Clearly, snake bite presents a medical situation requiring time critical responses and actions, and whilst seemingly rare, the risks are high and can be complicated by happening in very remote locations. I certainly will be refreshing my knowledge on the subject and how to better deal with it.

Another thing, whilst not canvassed in my original post, is to have some idea about where medical facilities exist along intended routes of travel, and points at which an evacuation can occur that is suitable to the RFDS. This is important for remote area travel.

Finally, I was looking on the web for “Remote Area First Aid Courses” and there are numerous possibilities for those with an interest.

Good luck and safe travels to all…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 551148

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 19:41

Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 19:41
"Another thing, whilst not canvassed in my original post, is to have some idea about where medical facilities exist along intended routes of travel, and points at which an evacuation can occur that is suitable to the RFDS. This is important for remote area travel."

THAT, is a very good point Baz . . . from my bushwalking training, I adapted a lot of this to the 4WD trips, and one thing I do is have a written trip plan, with ~ KM, times, camps etc, just a guide.

At the bottom of this usually one page A4 sheet, I have all key phone numbers for local Police, SES, medical facs (and all party members have emergency forms with their details of doctors, med conds, etc in the glovebox), even numbers for local stations (properties) we travel by or on, and always the RFDS main number.

Never had to use these contacts, but a good habit to get into.
FollowupID: 836686

Reply By: Member - Terry W4 - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 17:23

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015 at 17:23
I have 2.
The best one is one I bought from a commercial supplier when I used to fly light aircraft. It therefore has more than the usual bandages and has major wound dressings, a space blanket etc. and I have added things like matches, a compass and a signal mirror (based on a old compact of my wife's). I keep this up to date and ensure it has the usual antiseptics, scissors, panadol, aspro, at all times. It is in a hard case which opens up and only weighs 1 kg when full.

The second was given to me by a Toyota dealer when I bought the Prado in 2013. It is a soft pack one and while basic has a good range of bandages and stuff in it which goes in a backpack when we are away from the vehicle.

I carry a 406 marine style EPIRB with GPS capability. People ask me often why do you have the marine version in a car? I reply that if I am out and about and I want to hire a boat or get offered a ride I can take it with me.

Did training years ago but possibly need to have it updated. Will raise with my 4X4 club to see whether they intend running some training.

AnswerID: 551168

Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 18:38

Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 18:38
The greatest single possibility of human injury that you will encounter is people injured in a TRAFFIC ACCIDENT! - usually, a rollover.
More often than not, a car and caravan/trailer rollover.
In my experience of 50 yrs of driving, it has certainly been the major incident I have fairly regularly encountered. Burns would be next, followed by heart attack/stroke.

There is one IMPORTANT thing to do when you first encounter a traffic accident, and it is on a highway - and that is, TAKE CONTROL of traffic!
Getting speeding traffic slowed down or stopped, is a major priority - because the last thing you want, is people crashing into you, your vehicle, or the wreckage.

In that case, hi-vis clothing carried in the car is crucial - as well as flag material and a torch for night-time.
Positioning your vehicle on the centreline, with hazard lights flashing, far enough away from the disaster scene, so drivers can pull up, is a good start.

If there are others with you, select the person with the greatest first aid skills to attend to the injured, and use the others to stop/slow the traffic.
Most drivers drive "pedal to the metal" and refuse to slow down for anything but flashing lights and hi-vis vests on the road.
Always exercise care when trying to slow or stop vehicles travelling at highway speeds.

In isolated areas, you will need to make an assessment as to who is most badly injured, and who will need air evacuation.
Others who are "walking wounded", can go by road when authorities arrive.

In all cases of emergency, it's important to be calm, to be confident, and to regularly express re-assurance. People get terrified when they think they are dying, and you have to re-assure them they aren't, even when things look bad.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 551215

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 20:51

Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 20:51
Further to your comprehensive reply, Ron, I'd like add a couple of extra points.

A call on Ch 40 to alert all traffic that there is a drama at say, "50 clicks North of Bullamakanker". Mightn't warn many car drivers, but heavies will be alerted.

At night, once accident scene is assessed, turn OFF headlights, and only have parkers illuminated, as well as hazards. Headlights tend to "mask" the front hazards at night, and anyone approaching from ahead may assume, with headlights on, that the vehicle is also mobile.

Agree on the high vis vests, with reflective strips. They stand out like dog's balls. Not expensive, and take up no room, can fit over the back of the front seats.

Remember reading about an accident site somewhere, probably on East coast somewhere :-). All emergency services attending, acres & acres of red 'n blue flashing lights, enough to get you disco dancing. Next minute, a Beamer is in amongst everything, and he's barely slowed down from his "pedal to the metal" speed. He didn't injure anyone, but all personnel were amazed that he hadn't slowed much earlier. No doubt he got a slip of paper to take home to show the missus. :-)


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FollowupID: 836702

Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 21:15

Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 21:15
Bob - Yes, that "headlights off" info is very important - particularly when people have pulled up on the wrong side of the road facing the wrong way, and left their headlights on.

I recall a bad crash a number of years ago where people did this - someone coming the other way decided to pass on the left, as one automatically does - and the oncoming car killed three people standing around the far side of the stopped vehicle.

Many years ago, SIL cleaned up a PMG truck just out of Brookton. She came around a bend in the Brookton Hwy, and the PMG blokes were driving along the RH side shoulder, headlights on high beam, going the wrong way, and checking the telephone wires between poles for a break, with a torch.

SIL thought she needed to pass on the left, but fortunately braked heavily at the last minute as she realised she was going off the road.
She still collided with the truck, although at relatively low speed, and no-one was hurt.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 836705

Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 21:25

Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 21:25
One of the most important things I carry in my first aid kit, is pure lavender oil - for burns.
Now, no doc will ever tell you this - but neat lavender oil is one of the best burn treatments you can get.

I'm not talking about someone who has suffered 3rd degree burns over 30% of their body - they need hospitalising rapidly.

But for general burns, such as stoves, exhausts and other hot metal, welding, hot water - just grab that lavender oil and slosh it on liberally.
Keep applying it every 5 or 10 mins until the pain subsides, then apply it again every half hour or so.

If you get the lavender oil on fast enough, you won't even blister. Where blisters have started to form, lavender oil will reduce the blistering something amazing.
The pain will start to go from the burn, after lavender oil application, around 15-20 mins after you first apply it. The pain will rapidly reduce to a low level within 30-45 mins.

Without doubt, lavender oil is the most important first aid thing I carry and use in the workshop. The next most-used item is tweezers, for pulling out steel and wood splinters.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 551225

Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 22:06

Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 at 22:06
Good point about burns Ron...

And I will read up about lavender oil.

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 836710

Reply By: farmer112 - Friday, Mar 20, 2015 at 05:12

Friday, Mar 20, 2015 at 05:12
Hi, this thread is a great idea!
My mate Harry and I are tourists from Germany and toured the Aussie outback a lot, including the Canning, the Hay River and many other very remote places. Both of us are volunteer firefighters and medical first responders.
I fully agree with Ron N.'s post, the most likely event to encounter will be a traffic accident. Therefore, the high vis vests are a very good point. We always bring some from Germany to equip our rental 4WD. Talking about rental 4WDs: Usually, rental companies won't supply a first aid kit. Therefore, we bring our own.
Talking about snake-bites, besides carrying the appropriate bandages, we often use Snake Guardz while 4WDing or bushwalking in Oz. The common bare-legged, open sandal wearing Aussie laughs at us, but we like to stay safe. And if you get bitten out in the Simpson you have bad cards. Here is a YouTube video on snake guardz:
Further info can be found on http://www.snakeguardz.com/ . I always hoped that the will work on Aussie snakes as well, but fortunately, I had never have to really test them. ;-)
Talking about bites and stings in general: I believe that the creature killing most people per year in Oz are neither snakes, nor marine stingers, but it is the common honey bee.
People die of anaphylactic shock when being stung. Therefore, Harry and I always carry an epipen / anapen in our first responder bag. Being medical first responders, we also carry a breathing bag, some Guedel tubes (airways), a blood pressure measure kit and a small pulse oxymeter (you put in on a finger, and it will tell you the oxygen saturation in the blood and the pulse rate).
I would recommend to include the following items, which haven't been noted before in the other answers to this thread in every advanced outback first aid kit:
- A stifneck (for immobilisation of the head of an injured person). Can be purchased via eBay.
- A SAM Splint (a flexible splinter, which can be used for proper immobilisation in case of broken bones or twisted ankles). Can also be purchased via eBay. It's very compact and will fit into every day pack.
- Special pressure wound straps for taping deep wounds. Saves you the sewing kit. Can also be purchased at eBay.
Talking about sewing, my sister, who is a medical doctor, once used a fishing hook and a piece of fishing line for sewing a deep cut in her own hand - but this method is not recommended for the faint-hearted. ;-P
We also carry a small waterjel burn pack and hemostatics for severe wounds (Celox and QuickClot gauze, both have originally been developed for military combat use, but are available via eBay).

Talking about "do I need the first aid stuff or not": We have carried this nasty 5 kg first responder bag on quite a few international flights, mostly to and from Oz. In two cases, we used it to assist other passengers who became ill during long distance flights. The only traffic accident in which I had to assist injured people in 28 years of driving happened during a holiday in the United States, in Death Valley. No mobile phone coverage at all. The next phone was about 30 kilometres away. A young woman had crashed her vehicle and had injured her arm (probably broken), had badly bumped her head and some minor injuries. Harry and I arrived 30 minutes after the accident had happened. Other people tried to comfort the young lady, but didn't have first aid material with them. So it was showtime for our first responder bag, and we assisted for another 45 minutes until the volunteer EMS and fire crews arrived. One of the ambulance ladies commented on our pulse oxymeter: "Don't tell me you carry this in your holidays. I even don't have this on my ambulance!".
"Yep, I always carry this in my responder bag, sometimes it comes in handy." ;-)

I really want to encourage everybody to take a first aid course or refresher course. In 90 percent of all cases that you have to administer CPR it will be to help your loved ones, your friends or colleagues. And there is nothing worse than not being able to help while watching another person suffer or even die.

Cheers from bl..dy boring Dortmund / Germany and stay safe,


AnswerID: 551237

Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, Mar 20, 2015 at 07:23

Friday, Mar 20, 2015 at 07:23
Hey Juergen

Great to get an international perspective!

We recently added an epipen to our medical kit and it is interesting you raise the “bee sting” as there are a lot of people who have an adverse reaction.

Travel safely, Baz – The Landy
FollowupID: 836720

Follow Up By: Member - Teago - Friday, Mar 20, 2015 at 15:45

Friday, Mar 20, 2015 at 15:45
Hello adventurers,
2 items apart from those already listed that I carry is Keflex antibiotic for skin infections often caused by midgies , mossies fish stings etc and 2 Nitrolingual pump spray in case of a heart attack
Rgds Mike 11
FollowupID: 836758

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