This past week at Ironhorse Homestead we have been focused on First Aid.
We had a small, but adequate first aid kit when we lived in the city. However, since moving and acquiring more animals, we realized that our First Aid supplies were in desperate need of replenishment. We consider ourselves "preppers" and homesteaders, and a major part of both of these is a focus on preparedness and self reliance. Especially now that we are now in a rural area and transportation and access to supplies and aid are much further than they were before. Upon examination, our medical supplies were woefully inadequate to sustain us if we were to have an acute medical emergency. Being in a rural area, its even more important for us now to have supplies on hand, so we re-evaluted and discussed what types of medical supplies we needed and what route we wanted to take.
To begin with, we of course wanted the basics: band aids, gauze, alcohol swabs, antibiotic ointment, and hydrogen peroxide. I also picked up pocket sized bottles of iodine for us to carry in our get home bags.
We also want to start stocking up on our homeopathic first aid essentials. I am studying aromatherapy and herbalism and I think it is equally important to have theses types of remedies on hand, not only for emergencies, but for more long term situations. For instance, if the worst case scenario happens and we don't have access to western medicine, I want to have a stock of herbal remedies on hand. Part of our plan is also growing an herb garden and learning to recognize and be able to forage for wild medicinal herbs. Being versed in these medicines provide us with a means to take care of ourselves even if the world as we know it collapses. I also like to attempt to treat our maladies with natural remedies whenever possible even during our normal day to day lives.
Our essential oil first aid basics are lavender, peppermint, helichrysum (great for wound healing), black pepper and oregano ( which are used in blends for pain, among other things) and aloe. We have many other oils that I keep around the house, but these specific oils are our basic, beginning staples for first aid and get home bags. I also keep a blend for brain aid, and one to target depression and anxiety on hand in my leg bag, as I believe these would be tremendously helpful in case of an emergency. In emergency situations people often panic, and in the event of prolonged upheaval and uncertainty; depression, anxiety and confusion can quickly set in. Having these oils on hand to combat these will be of huge help, and perhaps even more importantly, having something that is familiar to comfort and give a sense of normalcy can help to balance one's emotions.
For our animals we started our first aid kit with items such as probiotics, electrolyte powder and paste, a high calorie supplement and a tube of Nu-stock. These are a few items that will hopefully make a difference in the case of an animal showing signs of illness during times where we can't necessarily get to a vet.
This past week, I was stung twice during a hive inspection and while I didn't have an allergic reaction, I did have substantial swelling and redness that lasted a few days. This coupled with an incident a few weeks ago, in which bees got into Kyle's suit, mad us realize that we really need to keep an epi-pen for each of us around the house. When Kyle fell from the ladder, it took 30 minutes for the ambulance to reach the hospital with him. If one of us were to go into anaphylactic shock from a sting, an epi-pen could mean the difference between life and death. I think all beekeepers should probably consider keeping one on hand.
Our first aid kit is by no means complete, we have a lot of things that we want and need to acquire, but taking these first steps and acquiring the basics has given me a sense of comfort and preparedness. We will continue to build our supplies and grow in knowledge. Among our goals are learning basic sutures, taking CPR classes, adding emetics to our first aid kit for use in case of poisoning, and learning other basic first aid response skills. Medical preparedness is an ongoing journey and project, like most things in homesteading. We are always excited to learn and do more, if you have any first aid essentials or skills that you recommend please share them with us! We grow best when we learn together.