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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Building Your Own IFAK

Build your personal, compact version!

This should be a fun project!

So why build your own? For the simple reason that we don't know when life may surprise us with aches, bruises, burns and wounds. Aren't there available or pre-assembled ones out in the market already? Ika nga: "At bakit naman hindi?" This ensures that you could customize it to your own needs, such as if you have certain allergies or a specific medical condition. Depending on one's background and training as well it could be as complete or complex as one could make it. Making multiple kits is good too, like one for your vehicle or for your travel/sports bag.

For our purposes now though, let's make it a basic kit for all. It doesn't need to cost much. Here's an example of a list of items to put in -

- 1 pair medical/bandage scissors (periodically sterilized or autoclaved)
- 1 - 2 pairs disposable medical gloves (Note: Latex is the usual material it's made out of but some people have an allergic reaction to this. They also tear easily. The ones made from Nitrile are preferred)
- 1 small roll medical/surgical tape, 3M or Leukoplast
- several Band-Aid strips of different sizes and shapes
- gauze, either in several pre-cut 4" x 4" pads OR 1 roll
- 1 small pack cotton balls
- 1 small bottle 70% isoprohpyl alcohol, Green Cross
- 1 micro bottle povidone - iodine solution, Betadine
- 1 small tube ketoconazole antifungal cream, Nizoral
- 2 pcs. paracetamol, Biogesic for fever
- 2 pcs. meclizine, Bonamine for nausea or motion sickness
- 2 pcs. ibuprofen + paracetamol, Alaxan for aches and pains
- 4 pcs. loperamide, Immodium for LBM
- 2 pcs. antacid, Kremil-S for hyperacidity

All are contained in a small, zippered, brightly-colored bag to make it readily noticeable. Properly labeling it as such helps too. Something similar below -

Personally though, I prefer a solid container with a locking lid as this prevents the items from getting crushed or squashed. Ideally, let's consider a few more things: the container should be fairly compact to make it EDC-able. It shouldn't feel like a chore to have to bring it regularly and able to fit into your bag, day pack, briefcase or luggage. It should be fairly rugged in composition and in design to handle the daily dings and bangs (for outdoors and travelers though, this is a requirement). It should be watertight as possible so that the items inside won't be ruined by water or moisture. Lastly, it's preferred that it be transparent so you could see the contents inside readily.

So where can you get said container? The next time you drop by Mr. Henry Sy's well-known stores, swing by the housewares section, where they keep the plastic products and containers. Look for the Lock N' Lock products. They're the latest generation store-all products, sort of like the grandkids of the Tupperware's from the 1980's. They also come come in different shapes and sizes.

Remember though: do periodic checks or once in while have a look at your IFAK to see what needs to be re-stocked or if certain medicines have reached their expiration dates. Packaging might degrade, shrink or leak so watch-out for these. The seal of the container might be damaged in the long run too so inspect it as well.

Having fun making your own!

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