Check Your First Aid Supplies Lately? I Just Did And I Was Shocked At My Failure…

The other day my kid was feeling sick with sinus pressure so I went looking for some Children’s Mucinex and, while I had two bottles, they had apparently “expired” about three years ago.

Now, normally I wouldn’t pay too much attention to expiration dates but since it was a liquid medication (they tend to go bad faster than tablets, for example) and since it was my kid I was giving this to, I decided to toss the Mucinex and go get some more.

The point, however, was that I started to look at the various first aid supplies and medications I keep in my basic first aid kit and it must have been a while since I’d looked at this stuff because I was quite surprised when I found that the vast majority of the supplies I’d had on hand were technically expired.

Here, take a look…


There are dozens of different medications here, as well as some duplicates, all of which are technically expired. Granted, some are only recently expired (dates from early this year or late last year) but I did find a few items that had expiration dates of 2009. 😉

Like I eluded to above, I’m not terribly concerned about some of the tablets and pills but there are quite a few ointments, gels, and other liquids that probably need replaced for sure.

In my defense, I used to keep a spreadsheet on my computer which I updated regularly with expiration dates but I had trouble with my PC a while back and lost some files (or at least didn’t keep them backed up like I should have) and ended up “giving up” on keeping track of my first aid supplies thinking that I would just replace stuff as needed… yeah, that didn’t quite work out as anticipated.

In fact, I think I actually had MORE supplies which need replaced than not! Moreover, this isn’t even counting the several items not pictured above which didn’t have expiration dates but probably need replaced too.

So, here I am on Saturday morning making a huge first aid supplies shopping list. Good thing this wasn’t SHTF… yet.

The takeaway: check your first aid supplies and make a list of expiration dates or, at least, put in on the calendar to check them once a year, which I’ve just done myself.

What to Know About Brown Recluse Spider Bites (video)

I used to live in the Midwest where brown recluse spiders were fairly common. The thing was that I rarely saw them BECAUSE they’re reclusive! The following video discusses how to know if you’ve been bitten, what to expect, and how to treat if necessary using home remedies and even what not to do and use (such as venom extraction kits)…

Pocket Trauma Kit (video)

Skinny Medic has a new trauma kit for sale and though it’s directed towards first responders this mini trauma kit could certainly prove useful in a EDC bag, bug out bag, or in some cargo pants.

If you like, you can buy the pocket trauma kit here for $49.99; realize that the tourniquet alone will cost you $35+ on Amazon, the emergency trauma dressing is about $10, and the compress gauze is a few bucks so you’re really just paying for the supplies in his kit…

RZ Mask: Airborne Contamination Protection In Your Bug Out Bag (video)

Like he says, airborne contamination is probably an overlooked area of preparedness in most bug out bags. In this video, he points out an interesting tool that I hadn’t heard of before today, the RZ Mask which is obviously intended to help protect you from harmful airborne contaminants.

The interesting thing is that this mask actually includes an active carbon filter which is intended to help filter out dust particles up to 99.9%. This is an interesting prep to include and likely better than the common dust mask while also offering more protection for your face.

Of course, the RZ mask isn’t a super cheap option, as such, a simple bandanna is better than nothing, has many uses, and is almost nothing when packed. Beyond that, a n-95 mask or n-100 mask (with one-way valve) are good to include too but for the price and overall protection offered this RZ mask may be a good addition (note: some Amazon reviews pointed out that this mask has a strong chemical / plastic smell so be aware of that)…

Why Fish Antibiotics Are Logical For Survival (video)

Dr. Alton (of uses some good old fashioned logic sprinkled with some doctor know-how as to why fish antibiotics are–in most cases–no different than human antibiotics. Near the end he also points out that regulations may be coming soon to make it more difficult to purchase fish and bird antibiotics…

Cheesecloth as Bio-Hazard Mask? +10 Alternative Uses

Cheeseincheesecloth-sink" by Mar Mar - originally posted to Flickr as IMG_4802__3. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Cheeseincheesecloth-sink” by Mar Mar – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_4802__3. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

About the only way I’ve used cheesecloth in my life is to strain the pulp from almond milk. Yeah, I’m the adventurous sort. 🙂

To branch out, I thought I would research some ideas on how to use cheesecloth beyond the obvious one of making cheese (and apparently yogurt and tofu) and as a pulp strainer when I happened upon an 2009/2010 article that briefly discussed the Ukranian government turning cheesecloth into bio-hazard masks.

I tried to find some photos of what these may have looked like but couldn’t find any. Regardless, I can’t imagine these were very effective seeing as though cheesecloth is rather porous, but it was an intriguing thought. Heck, even the N-95 masks are ONLY 95% effective against airborne pathogens and they’re difficult enough to breathe through.

My advice? Stay home and well away from others if an epidemic ever becomes THAT worrisome. And if you must go out? Wear an N-100 mask with one-way exhale valve. They’re expensive but your best bet.

As for survival alternatives for cheesecloth, here’s 10 for you to consider, some of which I found elsewhere:

  1. Alternative Clothing – If you have enough of the loose fabric you can makeshift a shirt for sure. I’m not sure how well it would stay together but if you’re a decent seamstress then I’d imagine you can make it work. Plus there’s the added benefit of it being very breathable.
  2. Mosquito Headnet – This is probably my more favorite of uses. So long as you can breathe (and see) ok then you can also keep those pesky flying bugs at bay too.
  3. Dry or Clean Glass – I tried this briefly and I was surprised at how well it actually worked. I’m not sure how interested you would be to keep glass clean but once/if you ran out of paper towels this might be a useful alternative to store in the back of your brain.
  4. Sprouting Grains (in mason jar) – My wife’s actually done this years ago. Just place the grain–usually wheat–in the mason jar, cover with water for 24-48 hours, drain and cover with cheesecloth until it sprouts… then add to salads or whatever.
  5. Cover Food (from bugs) – If you can cover your head from bugs you can cover food.
  6. Gauze Substitute – Though not sterile, cheesecloth could be good enough to keep major contaminants from getting to a susceptible wound.
  7. Water Sediment Strainer – If you have water that is filled with debris (such as leaves and rocks) cheesecloth would make a great first stage filter. And if you get one that’s already sewn into the shape of a bag (such as a nut milk bag) that makes this task much easier.
  8. Fishing Net – Just like the sediment strainer above you could quickly make a fishing net if you had to.
  9. Drying Herbs – You can keep various herbs all contained in the same space if you’re into herbs… and drying them.
  10. Tree Protection – I’d seen it mentioned that you may be able to wrap the bottoms of young trees to protect them from cicadas; if that’s true then it may stand to reason that you can also use cheesecloth to protect other plants from various bugs.

Realize too that there are different grades of cheesecloth, ranging from #10 (loose weave) to #90 (tight weave) and that cheesecloth comes in both loose rolls and bags.

The stuff won’t last forever but I can sure see it getting you through for a while. It might also be possible to utilize something like window screen material in a similar manner as cheesecloth which is significantly more durable.

If you have any other interesting or possible uses, I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Insulin Wallet

I wanted to point out something that a reader mentioned a while back about what you can do to keep insulin cool while on foot, during a bug out, or whatever the case may be. It’s called an FRIO Insulin Cooling Wallet:

The idea is simple: get the wallet wet with cold water and it can keep cool for several days. Here’s a portion of the product description:

“The FRIO Insulin Cooling Wallet Large is a diabetic medication cooling system that utilizes water to keep cool for several days. With no refrigeration required, the Frio Wallet Large is great for use while traveling and can be used in temperatures up to 120°F. To use, immerse the wallet into cold water for 5-15 minutes so the crystals inside the wallet expand into a gel; once completed, the FRIO is ready to use. The FRIO Wallet Large is able to hold either one insulin injector pen and 15 x 1.5ml cartridge, 1 insulin injector pen and 10 x 3ml cartridge, 5x insulin injector disposable pens, 4x 10ml vials, 2x insulin injector pens, and 6x 3ml cartridges (none are included).”

And here’s a video describing it:

Obviously, this doesn’t have to be used for diabetic supplies but really anything that may need to be kept cool/refrigerated and can find properly inside the wallet, such as medicated eye drops.

For those with such a need I hope it helps!