Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: Stocking First Aid Kits
Re: Stocking First Aid Kits
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 08:37:59 EDT
The question is raised about stocking your troop first aid kit with common
OTC (over the counter) medications like aspirin, acetominophen (Tylenol),
ibuprofen (Nuprin, Advil), antacids, antidiarrheals, diphenhydramine
(Benadryl), etc., and when and to whom to give them.
I would like to refer you to the health forms, in which the parents are
entitled to instruct you to give, say, two Advil if the kid has a headache.
Otherwise, I would STRONGLY caution you against giving even "harmless" OTC's
to any kid without parental permission. Even an MD in an ER will not do this
absent a life-and-limb situation (which is rarely addressed by OTC's anyway
If you are at camp and a kid has a fever, you have to call and get permission
to treat it. You can call and say, as I have at many a camporee, "I have
young Algernon here in the health Lodge. He's not feeling too good, his temp
is 101, and I'd like to give him some Tylenol. Is this OK with you?" And then
I document to whom I spoke and what they said in addition to the med I gave.
Of course a kid w/ fever may be on his way home asap anyhow, but you get the
point. You can't use aspirin in febrile illnesses in children under 15
because of its association and probably causation of Reye's Syndrome, a very
nasty brain swelling which can be fatal (or worse).
Adults are another matter. If an adult comes to me and wants some Maalox or
something, I will give it to him or her (although I do document that I have).
If s/he has some other symptoms of illness, I'll deal with it. And yes, an
aspirin given at the first sign of chest pain IS indicated in the AHA
guidelines for emergency cardiac care for someone who is not allergic.
Most topical (applied to the skin) OTC medications are in a different
category. Calamine and diphenhydramine lotion (Caladryl) for poison ivy Is a
good example of something that is pretty harmless if applied as directed, as
are most first aid creams and ointments. Bacitracin is pretty useless and
will actually support bacterial growth. Povidone iodine ointment(Betadine) is
probably the best thing to put on a cut, but some people are allergic to
iodine. The -caine spray (Americaine) to numb up sunburn should be used
with caution, as some people are allergic to the -caine family of meds.
Also be aware that many OTC's have expiration dates on them, and they
deteriorate a lot faster in that first aid pack in your hot storeroom,
trailer, car trunk, or glove box than in your bathroom at home (which with
its high moisture content is a poor place to store stuff anyway). Aspirin,
for example, is too old when it smells like vinegar, but I'm not aware of
other easy tests for uselessness for most other OTC's.
This is real quick and dirty, but I hope it helps.
SA T47 Sandwich MA
Cape Cod & Islands Council
Abake MiSaNaKi Lodge #393
NSJ 1997 Nat'l Health & Safety
I useta be an Eagle...
'The staff is old and feeble, and we can sing no more,
So we're getting out of Gilwell while we can!'