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Medical first aid kit

Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk with my husband June 2018
#1
Hi All! Starting to put finishing touches to my pack to get ready to walk in May. Right now I am putting together a first aid kit. I want to take what I need but not carry more weight than I have to. Thinking about taking an ace wrap, one blister kit, few bandaids, small tube of neosporin,some ibuprofen, zofran, small spool of medical tape, small tube of hand sanitizer, small tweezers, few tablets of aspirin, an inhaler, Benadryl and a course of antibiotics. Any other ideas? Being a doctor it is hard to contain myself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#2
Hi All! Starting to put finishing touches to my pack to get ready to walk in May. Right now I am putting together a first aid kit. I want to take what I need but not carry more weight than I have to. Thinking about taking an ace wrap, one blister kit, few bandaids, small tube of neosporin,some ibuprofen, zofran, small spool of medical tape, small tube of hand sanitizer, small tweezers, few tablets of aspirin, an inhaler, Benadryl and a course of antibiotics. Any other ideas? Being a doctor it is hard to contain myself.
Sounds good, but how about something to lance blisters, and an antiseptic or alcohol wipes to clean the area.
 
#3
Sutures, scalpel, scissors, trach kit, gauze pads, bandage wrap, clamps, a couple of stents, just in case......oh, and an AED because you never know. Plus it can maybe charge your cellphone, in a pinch? Hand sanitizer can sterilize the operating field......, even help start a fire if someone needs warmth after going into shock. If there is a water purification system in your pack already, and if it has a pump, it can be used as a suction device, when needed.:p

Seriously? All those needles and thread to drain blisters??? Madre Mio!!!. Maybe a small pair of scissors might be a good add.:cool:
 
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Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#4
Sutures, scalpel, scissors, trach kit, gauze pads, bandage wrap, clamps, a couple of stents, just in case......oh, and an AED because you never know. Plus it can maybe charge your cellphone, in a pinch? Hand sanitizer can sterilize the operating field......, even help start a fire if someone needs warmth after going into shock. If there is a water purification system in your pack already, and if it has a pump, it can be used as a suction device, when needed.:p

But seriously, a needle and thread to help slowly drain blisters if they decide to show up. You know the drill. And maybe a small pair of scissors might be a good add.:cool:
I love the humor in the first part of your post, but you're not really serious about a needle and thread for blisters are you??:eek:
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#5
Sounds comprehensive, I'd make sure the plaster/tape is the type you can cut to whatever length you like, plus scissors to cut it with. I didn't take a needle, the point of my scissors (small needlework ones) were sharp enough to pierce skin.
What we did find good, but bought in Spain was antiseptic powder, which was great for helping blisters to dry out.
The only first aid I ever used was for blisters, and mainly not even my own. Plus cream for bedbug bites, received after the Camino was finished.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#6
What you need depends on where you are walking. In Spain, on the C. Frances, there are pharmacies every few miles that are mostly open. In France, there are pharmacies only in the larger towns, and they may be closed on Sunday, and Monday, and possibly Saturday afternoon, or another day of the week. In Germany and Switzerland, pharmacies are more regularly available. In the Czech Republic, I only saw pharmacies about once a week, in the cities.

The most common ailment is blisters (better prevented than cured), followed by related foot ailments such as plantar fasciitis. Abrasions and "road rash" are also often seen.

A blister kit, some Kinesioflex tape (with small scissors), and an irrigation syringe should be enough.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#7
But seriously, a needle and thread to help slowly drain blisters if they decide to show up. You know the drill.
I hope you're not serious, Michelle? This 'drill' of 'threading' blisters is a dangerous myth that's caused many infections.

Slightly off topic but not much, @Debra Garcia , here's a link to good information about preventing and caring for blisters that will give you an idea of what is useful to take in that realm. Blister prevention needs to be tailor-made for your feet's foibles.

I have a separate (basic) first aid kit and 'foot care kit' - the latter gets daily use, the former hardly ever but when you need it, you need it. If you fall (as I have and once quite badly) it's not likely it'll be on the doorstep of a pharmacia.

For foot care, I have paper micropore tape and lambswool (both for wrapping blister-prone toes), and omnifix for putting on larger places that tend to get hot spots.

The basic first aid kit is band-aids, alcohol wipes, a few non-stick gauze pads, betadine powder, antibiotic ointment, scissors and tweezers, and an ace bandage. I used to take banadryl but don't anymore. Ditto the course of cipro, and a whole bunch of other stuff. This after my Dad (who had been a battalion surgeon in Okinawa in WWII) teased me about taking more around with me than he had had to treat battle casualties.
(It's not only docs who need restraint - coming from an intensely 'medical' family has a similar effect.;))
 
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SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#9
What is wrong with some good old Iso Betadine and some nice sterile compresses ( and some tape to adhese)?

Unless some pilgrims want to get to know the antibitiotics that they defintely will get described when the blisters get infected!! I saw some people get badly injured throughout the years because of the dangerous method.

So in my kit : only Iso Betadine gel, some compresses and Omnifix. And oh yes over the counter antibiotics gel for general use.

Shaking head in disbelief....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances August/Sept 2016
Camino Frances Sept/October 2017
Le Puy to Conques May 2018
#10
I always take a small pump bottle of alcohol. I buy the alcohol from any grocery type store on the Camino, it is great for sterilizing any blister area, cleaning hands etc before dressing wounds.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#11
I brought a blister kit and gave most of it away over the course of the first couple of weeks. I like the individual use antibiotic ointment and providone-iodine packets that go in first aid kits. I also brought a couple of tincture of benzoin ampules with the applicator tips. I did get some gel toe sleeves and some extra tape later in the trip at the farmacia.

I did have a small assortment of meds only a couple of each (benadryl, dulcolax, excedrin migrane, IMMODIUM, sudafed, unisom, and zantac). I was fortunate and did not use any of them, but I always travel with them. Benadryl, I gave it to a girl who had a run in with chinches ... she slept better that night. I grabbed some vitamin I as soon as I hit the ground, and used it throughout the trip.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#12
Heya. Never thread blisters .. it leaves an open wound that can become infected. Clean with alcohol, pierce, drain, push flat, apply iodine or antiseptic, then cover and then cover the cover to add a cushion. A kit for yourself is a small thing but you will come across other pilgrims who need help and are either unable to help themselves or need dressings so why not go for a slightly larger kit. Good Samaritan and all that ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances to Fisterra/Muxia 2013, twice in 2014, 2015, twice in 2016, 2017, a week on the VdlP
#14
I echo the majority here with the advice to not use needle and thread (Unless you are recreating Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music a la Pyrenees). It is not good practice and leads to serious infections and complications all too often.

Most common advice I witnessed to be effective was using Betadine to sterilise the area and then a dressing to protect. And as @SabineP mentioned an over the counter antibiotic gel can be easily purchased and is very helpful. When i needed help with a large heel blister the pharmacist gave me Fucidine which was brilliant.

As other's have also mentioned, if you are walking the Camino Frances there will be pharmacy's frequently along the way so just pack what you think could be essential until you reach a town. My first camino saw me with everything I could think of in a First Aid Kit. Now its a gauze or two and some adhesive. I go expecting not to need first aid but knowing it is usually not far away if I need it. Please note I am only referring to my walking the Camino Frances and others will be more qualified to comment on other Caminos.

Wishing you a trouble free journey, Buen Camino.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#15
I appreciate that it is prevention rather than treatment but our kit always contains some vaseline to apply to the toes to reduce friction and prevent blisters.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#17
Taking too much is normal especially your first time out. But here are two pointers that have helped me over five Caminos:

1. Study and think about what you will be doing...walking with a rucksack out in the country. You will be on developed paths, not bushwhacking. The point here is to brainstorm, think, and game in your head likely boo-boo scenarios, what you are most likely to need. Take only that.

In my view and in my custom kit, I take band-aids (plasters), antiseptic cream, small gauze pads (2' x 2"), tape, tweezers, and a pair of blue surgical gloves... that's it. Everything else I can procure along the way.

For medications, I take acetaminophen (Tylenol / Paracetamol), ibuprofen, aspirin (heart issues), loperamide (Imodium), an antacid, and a antihistamine to reduce itching or swelling. I only take enough to hold me for about 24-hours, until I can get to a pharmacy.

2. Spain is a first world, developed, western European country. Most every town has at least one farmacia. Most pharmacists I have encountered speak at least some English, and many speak it quite well. Certainly better than my Spanish. The point here is if you need anything or if a new need developes, you can satisfy that need at the next town. You will find the pharmacists very helpful. Take it from me, along the Caminos, these pharmacists have seen EVERYTHING.

I hope this helps.
 
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martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#19
First camino I took the entire pharmacy. Never used a thing.

Next few caminos...took less and less. Still never used a thing.

Now only take 20 oz tube of Preparation H.....


Seriously, I take:
>small bottle sunscreen,
>hand sanitizer (small bottle),
>needle/thread,
>Compeed,
>my personal meds,
>Rx eye drops
>few antidiarrheal medicine capsules (from Spanish pharmacy)

Extra pair of glasses! Very important. If you wear them, take extra pair along. With copy of your eye Rx.

..... About it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
#21
One thing I really enjoyed using, that I purchased in Spain, was ibuprofen cream that I would lather on my feet after taking my shower. We can't get this in Canada, so it was a real treat!! And speaking of treats, they sell ibuprofen in 600mg units over there, instead of the 200mg/400mg sizes you get here.

Buen Camino!!
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Fromistá to Santiago (2018).
#22
Hi All! Starting to put finishing touches to my pack to get ready to walk in May. Right now I am putting together a first aid kit. I want to take what I need but not carry more weight than I have to. Thinking about taking an ace wrap, one blister kit, few bandaids, small tube of neosporin,some ibuprofen, zofran, small spool of medical tape, small tube of hand sanitizer, small tweezers, few tablets of aspirin, an inhaler, Benadryl and a course of antibiotics. Any other ideas? Being a doctor it is hard to contain myself.
As others have pointed out, there is generally a pharmacy for "re-upping" your supplies or getting anything you may have not realized you might need. The only thing I found more expensive on the road, and not always available was a non-chaffing stick (like Compeed or Body Glide). I'd get some of that and use it to prevent blisters. The diabetic footsore section of your local pharmacy should have a similar product (it seems to be a combination of cornstarch, paraffin wax and vaseline. It's much drier than slathering on vaseline and does not ruin socks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#24
First camino I took the entire pharmacy. Never used a thing.

Next few caminos...took less and less. Still never used a thing.

Now only take 20 oz tube of Preparation H.....


Seriously, I take:
>small bottle sunscreen,
>hand sanitizer (small bottle),
>needle/thread,
>Compeed,
>my personal meds,
>Rx eye drops
>few antidiarrheal medicine capsules (from Spanish pharmacy)

Extra pair of glasses! Very important. If you wear them, take extra pair along. With copy of your eye Rx.

..... About it.
And I'm sure that your needle and thread is for repairing clothing, right?
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#25
One thing I really enjoyed using, that I purchased in Spain, was ibuprofen cream that I would lather on my feet after taking my shower. We can't get this in Canada, so it was a real treat!! And speaking of treats, they sell ibuprofen in 600mg units over there, instead of the 200mg/400mg sizes you get here.

Buen Camino!!
I get your point although I must say I never "enjoy" taking a med but I see it as a necessity sometimes.
Also general warning...the max dosage for daily use is 1200 gr of Brufen so twice the spanish 600 gr.
I saw some pilgrims getting stomach issues because of taking too much...
 

PeteB

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Ingles 2013"
#26
Hi All! Starting to put finishing touches to my pack to get ready to walk in May. Right now I am putting together a first aid kit. I want to take what I need but not carry more weight than I have to. Thinking about taking an ace wrap, one blister kit, few bandaids, small tube of neosporin,some ibuprofen, zofran, small spool of medical tape, small tube of hand sanitizer, small tweezers, few tablets of aspirin, an inhaler, Benadryl and a course of antibiotics. Any other ideas? Being a doctor it is hard to contain myself.
A tick remover maybe worth packing - deer ticks seen on most routes. Know how to remove the little sods properly - pull don’t twist.
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Fromistá to Santiago (2018).
#27
I get your point although I must say I never "enjoy" taking a med but I see it as a necessity sometimes.
Also general warning...the max dosage for daily use is 1200 gr of Brufen so twice the spanish 600 gr.
I saw some pilgrims getting stomach issues because of taking too much...
Yeah, I am fearful about anything that should have a specific upper limit on dosage and the imprecision of a squeeze tube...

Also, I read in a medical journal recently that there is a relationship between long-term, regular use of ibuprofen (as many do on Camino) and the development of chronic hives. That may be what happened to me -- or I may just have an autoimmune disorder (as I'd had chronic hives earlier in my life). Now I take a monthly injection of omalizumab to control my immune system. It's a very expensive treatment, so best to avoid it if you can by staying well in the lower limits of ibuprofen use.

Women also should be careful about ibuprofen as a regular thing because it can cause bleeding gut, which exacerbates women's vulnerability to iron deficiency anemia.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#28
Yeah, I am fearful about anything that should have a specific upper limit on dosage and the imprecision of a squeeze tube...

Also, I read in a medical journal recently that there is a relationship between long-term, regular use of ibuprofen (as many do on Camino) and the development of chronic hives. That may be what happened to me -- or I may just have an autoimmune disorder (as I'd had chronic hives earlier in my life). Now I take a monthly injection of omalizumab to control my immune system. It's a very expensive treatment, so best to avoid it if you can by staying well in the lower limits of ibuprofen use.

Women also should be careful about ibuprofen as a regular thing because it can cause bleeding gut, which exacerbates women's vulnerability to iron deficiency anemia.
There's also a risk of kidney damage with the regular use of Ibuprofen.
 

Humbertico

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan 2018
#30
Hi All! Starting to put finishing touches to my pack to get ready to walk in May. Right now I am putting together a first aid kit. I want to take what I need but not carry more weight than I have to. Thinking about taking an ace wrap, one blister kit, few bandaids, small tube of neosporin,some ibuprofen, zofran, small spool of medical tape, small tube of hand sanitizer, small tweezers, few tablets of aspirin, an inhaler, Benadryl and a course of antibiotics. Any other ideas? Being a doctor it is hard to contain myself.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#31
Yes, you can - e.g. Voltaren gel. Might not be as strong as that in Spain.
Voltaren is diclofenac, similar function but different base to Ibuprofen gel. We bought some last year and did not want to use it. found something else again, but don't like that either. Finally found some ibuprofen gel. Only used sparingly and carried in case of need, also preferable as gel to taking pills which can have the bad side effects already entioned. Putting it direct on the skin is a better option, but it is still absorbed so is part of the daily dose IMO.
Planning to leave the two (non-ibuprofen) gels in an albergue somewhere on the Norte for anyone in need.
 

Humbertico

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan 2018
#33
As a Surgeon myself who will be doing the Camino Frances in September have thought of taking a small first aide kit but since I am traveling with my backpack to keep in overhead compartment I am worried about having scissors or tweezers or metal instruments for fear that Homeland Security or custom will make me take it out and they keep it. I plan on buying it in France or Spain and not risk it. Same as trekking poles.

Buen Camino
Humbertico
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#34
And I'm sure that your needle and thread is for repairing clothing, right?
Could be for clothing repair.

I take them for blister healing.
And, if needed do mend clothing. Emergency dental floss. etc.
Splinter removal, flattening tires, wake up snoring people, etc. (joking)
 
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martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#35
Be careful with the different types of NSAIDs. Normally are available over the counter:

Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin) Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) Naproxen (Aleve), etc.

Talked about lots on this board. Danger of liver damage and other problems.

Doesn't matter if in cream, pill, gel, liquid, injection, etc form. Still goes to liver land. And causes other bad issues too.

Consult with your doctor or at least read label and follow directions.

Really bad news about this stuff:

https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/201...ws-about-ibuprofen-naproxen-and-other-nsaids/
 
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SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#36
Be careful with the different types of NSAIDs. Normally are available over the counter:

Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin) Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) Naproxen (Aleve), etc.

Talked about lots on this board. Danger of liver damage and other problems.

Consult with your doctor or at least read label and follow directions.

Really bad news about this stuff:

https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/201...ws-about-ibuprofen-naproxen-and-other-nsaids/
Indeed Diclofenac gives me bad skin reactions and nausea.
I prefer a Paracetamol for when having general aches.
Also taking Ibuprofen often masks a pain too much. Especially on a Camino it is useful to " feel " the pain and take rest accordingly and not go on and on . Therefore injuring yourself evenmore.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#38
@Debra Garcia I think most people here have given enough opinions... but I can't restrain myself. Is this first aid kit for yourself? Or were you thinking you might be helping others along the way.

I did bring blister care items, and a few over the counter pain killers, including ibuprofen to help reduce menstrual bleeding (yes, dear readers, that is an approved use of ibuprofen I was delighted to discover!), iron supplements etc. Most of it I didn't use, but was glad to have. I did buy various creams and lotions, and other bits and pieces along the way. The only thing I found somewhat stressful when buying products was that almost everything is "behind the counter". At home, most pharmacies have the majority of their products on display - only prescription medication and some other regulated products are behind the counter. That meant some time with Babbel on my phone.

In Santiago de Compostella, I cut myself on some metal in a bathroom stall. Not exactly an auspicious place to cut oneself. But I asked the hospitalero if they had a first aid kit. They did not have a formal kit, but they did let me rummage through the giant box of leftover first aid material left behind by other pilgrims. I did not get an infection.

If there is a particular brand of something you are used to getting at home, and wish to make sure you have access to on your way... bring it with you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#39
Thought it was danger of liver damage. Not kidney.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) can cause liver damage, especially if combined with alcohol. Continued use of high doses of Ibuprofen can cause kidney damage - I learned this the hard way after several episodes of back pain. I can't take any NSAIDs now. I didn't take (or need) a single pain reliever on either of my Caminos.
I take them for blister healing.
Despite all the warnings??? Including many warnings in this thread alone?
 
#40
As a Surgeon myself who will be doing the Camino Frances in September have thought of taking a small first aide kit but since I am traveling with my backpack to keep in overhead compartment I am worried about having scissors or tweezers or metal instruments for fear that Homeland Security or custom will make me take it out and they keep it. I plan on buying it in France or Spain and not risk it. Same as trekking poles.

Buen Camino
Humbertico
Hello Humbertico,

I can only report from experience that I have carried sharp, pointy scissors and tweezers in my first aid kit from Canada, to Ireland, England, France and Spain and back again with no incident. Instead, TSA confiscated my tent pegs, though chamfered, not sharpened.

My first aid kit is restocked for the return next month, actually 30 days from today.

It is best to consult the TSA in your country to see what their requirements are.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
This upcoming May 31st through July 1st approximately.
#41
Hi All! Starting to put finishing touches to my pack to get ready to walk in May. Right now I am putting together a first aid kit. I want to take what I need but not carry more weight than I have to. Thinking about taking an ace wrap, one blister kit, few bandaids, small tube of neosporin,some ibuprofen, zofran, small spool of medical tape, small tube of hand sanitizer, small tweezers, few tablets of aspirin, an inhaler, Benadryl and a course of antibiotics. Any other ideas? Being a doctor it is hard to contain myself.
I love Salonpas patches ...... does anyone know if you can buy them in Spain?
 

Peter Fransiscus

Do good and good will come to you.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#42
I don’t know but you can Google for it .:rolleyes:

Wish you well , Peter .
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk with my husband June 2018
#43
G
Sounds good, but how about something to lance blisters, and an antiseptic or alcohol wipes to clean the area.[/QUOTE
Yeah, I am fearful about anything that should have a specific upper limit on dosage and the imprecision of a squeeze tube...

Also, I read in a medical journal recently that there is a relationship between long-term, regular use of ibuprofen (as many do on Camino) and the development of chronic hives. That may be what happened to me -- or I may just have an autoimmune disorder (as I'd had chronic hives earlier in my life). Now I take a monthly injection of omalizumab to control my immune system. It's a very expensive treatment, so best to avoid it if you can by staying well in the lower limits of ibuprofen use.

Women also should be careful about ibuprofen as a regular thing because it can cause bleeding gut, which exacerbates women's vulnerability to iron deficiency anemia.
so true! Good advice
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk with my husband June 2018
#44
@Debra Garcia I think most people here have given enough opinions... but I can't restrain myself. Is this first aid kit for yourself? Or were you thinking you might be helping others along the way.

I did bring blister care items, and a few over the counter pain killers, including ibuprofen to help reduce menstrual bleeding (yes, dear readers, that is an approved use of ibuprofen I was delighted to discover!), iron supplements etc. Most of it I didn't use, but was glad to have. I did buy various creams and lotions, and other bits and pieces along the way. The only thing I found somewhat stressful when buying products was that almost everything is "behind the counter". At home, most pharmacies have the majority of their products on display - only prescription medication and some other regulated products are behind the counter. That meant some time with Babbel on my phone.

In Santiago de Compostella, I cut myself on some metal in a bathroom stall. Not exactly an auspicious place to cut oneself. But I asked the hospitalero if they had a first aid kit. They did not have a formal kit, but they did let me rummage through the giant box of leftover first aid material left behind by other pilgrims. I did not get an infection.

If there is a particular brand of something you are used to getting at home, and wish to make sure you have access to on your way... bring it with you.
I have to say the kit isn’t for me and my husband but also would really feel bad to see someone in need and could benefit from something simple I had. Could also point them in the right direction at the pharmacy.however I am not sure exactly what you can buy in the pharmacies in Spain in terms of prescription meds without a script there
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#45
Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) can cause liver damage, especially if combined with alcohol. Continued use of high doses of Ibuprofen can cause kidney damage - I learned this the hard way after several episodes of back pain. I can't take any NSAIDs now. I didn't take (or need) a single pain reliever on either of my Caminos.

Despite all the warnings??? Including many warnings in this thread alone?
Thank you for informing.
Excellent.
Thanks.

Learn every day.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#46
Actually a first aid kit, or first aid stuff, is a personal decision.
What one needs, likes to drag along, or thinks they need is up to them.

I am not one to talk. On my first camino (biking the Frances) I took the pharmacy and more. And lots of stuff that was never used or needed.

Years ago when hiking in a National Park in Utah came across two guys carrying a male to the trail head. He had a tee shirt around his head. Covering his left eye. What happened was he ran into a branch - bare stick per say. Right into his eye. Ouch.

No one had a first aid kit.

From then on I carried first aid items.
When the Quick Clot packs came out I always had one or two of them in my pack or in my bike bag.

You never know when something like this will happen.

When I walk the camino I do not carry any first aid items.
mmmmm should I? rethinking this now.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June (2015) & June/July (2018)
#47
Sounds comprehensive, I'd make sure the plaster/tape is the type you can cut to whatever length you like, plus scissors to cut it with. I didn't take a needle, the point of my scissors (small needlework ones) were sharp enough to pierce skin.
What we did find good, but bought in Spain was antiseptic powder, which was great for helping blisters to dry out.
The only first aid I ever used was for blisters, and mainly not even my own. Plus cream for bedbug bites, received after the Camino was finished.
Antceptic powder, tell me more!
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#48
Just a reminder that the Camino (Frances) is not wilderness hiking and pharmacies are easily found. Spain has 22000 pharmacies and that works out at 47 per 100000 population which is more than twice the UK and USA figure.

Pharmacies can be identified by a green cross. They operate on a rota basis and if you find one closed the rota should be affixed to the door or window allowing you to locate one that is open.
Spanish chemists (farmacias) stock a wide range of Over the Counter (OTC) medicines and will have a qualified pharmacist on duty, often English speaking, at least in larger towns. Nearly all medicines must be purchased at a chemists and consequently supermarkets and the like do not stock the range found in other countries. Locals probably consult the pharmacist more often than in many countries as the pharmacist is able to dispense a wide range of medicines, including those that would require a doctor’s prescription in other jurisdictions.

Good news is that as the pharmacies along the Camino receive so many pilgrims seeking assistance there is a level of expertise in the common complaints that we suffer. I needed an ankle support in Leon and the chemist opened the packaging on some half dozen different straps and insisted, in fluent English, that I should try them all to choose the most suitable. A level of service that I would struggle to find in the UK! My wife received a similar level of attention with an eye condition.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#50
Unfortunately I don't have it with me anymore. On the second Camino I didn't need it, and gave it to my sister who did and used it all, and I forgot to buy more while I was there.
It was my first Camino, and I developed a couple of large blisters. It took a couple of days to find a pharmacy that was A. open and B. stocked the right stuff, it was in Viana.
It was a small white pot of powder. Not fancy, or branded, just plain white plastic with a basic label. There was a doctor (also a pilgrim) in our pilgrim group at that time, who advised me to get some more of the stuff because we have a similar product but it has a lower % of the active ingredient. Anyway, after you've done your walk for the day, removed old plasters (mine fell off in the shower), and dried your feet, sprinkle the powder liberally on the blisters. Mine had no 'roof' at that stage, and were open and weepy. It was a bit tricky to apply as it was a pot, tended to get a bit everywhere.
It dried them up quickly in a couple of days, and they stopped being sore. We called it the miracle powder.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
#52
I get your point although I must say I never "enjoy" taking a med but I see it as a necessity sometimes.
Also general warning...the max dosage for daily use is 1200 gr of Brufen so twice the spanish 600 gr.
I saw some pilgrims getting stomach issues because of taking too much...
I completely agree that living a drug-free life is best, which is what I try to do at home, however, I used the gel a few times which really helped. I also took one 600gm of the stuff, after walking for the day which also was really effective.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#57
Although by the time you reach the albergue that hot spot from 5kms back may now be a rather large blister!
Yes, and a simple piece of Compeed the minute you felt the hotspot would have remedied this.
You don't need an entire first aid kit in my opinion.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#58
I think that you need some basic first aid supplies until you can get to a farmacia or an albergue.
Compeed, a couple of bandaids, a couple of aspirin is all you need.
Benedryl, antibiotics, etc are all things you can pick up in pretty much any village along the route.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#59
Sutures, scalpel, scissors, trach kit, gauze pads, bandage wrap, clamps, a couple of stents, just in case......oh, and an AED because you never know. Plus it can maybe charge your cellphone, in a pinch? Hand sanitizer can sterilize the operating field......, even help start a fire if someone needs warmth after going into shock. If there is a water purification system in your pack already, and if it has a pump, it can be used as a suction device, when needed.:p

But seriously, a needle and thread to help slowly drain blisters if they decide to show up. You know the drill. And maybe a small pair of scissors might be a good add.:cool:
???
You are in SPAIN, not Mexico or the bush.
The Camino is never more than a few minutes from civilization.
Water purification? For what?
Stents??? Trach kit??? Clamps??:rolleyes:

This is an April Fools post, right?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#61
@Debra Garcia they are pulling your leg! As a doctor all really need is a surgical knife in case you need to do an emergency tracheotomy. Which I say for a laugh, although let me tell you about a friend of mine who was extraordinarily lucky that she happened to be with a party of German doctors with full medical kit when, sailing around the Galápagos Islands, she tried lobster for the first time...
I have a tiny first aid kit - antiseptic gel, needles for piercing blisters and a couple of pills - which always include antihistamine tablets.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#62
There is probably not one first aid kit for all pilgrims.

David's is very big, but he wants to help a lot of pilgrims with many different injuries and it would be too big for most of the pilgrims:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/first-aid-kit-for-helping-others.54260/

I want to try a rather small first aid kit... I want to include something for toe-blister-prevention like toe caps because I had hotspots on a training walk some time ago.

I will probably not include stuff for blister popping, because I had no blister that needed popping before and I do not want to pop my blister or blisters of other pilgrims "on the way" between alburgues with my little experience. One should think of the pros and cons of blister popping:
https://www.blisterprevention.com.au/blister-blog/should-you-pop-a-blister-on-your-foot
So if I need it, I want to get it in the pharmacies.

Yes, and a simple piece of Compeed the minute you felt the hotspot would have remedied this....
Compeed is very good, if you are experienced and know what you are doing.

An un-experienced pilgrim should NOT use it for blister prevention (hotspot treatment). If something is wrong (e. g. shoes too small) and the hotspot becomes a blister under the compeed and the blister continues to grow and needs treatment, it can be harmful because the compeed cannot be removed easily for blister treatment.
So maybe an un-experienced pilgrim should not add compeed to the first aid kit.
 
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Carri

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#63
One thing I really enjoyed using, that I purchased in Spain, was ibuprofen cream that I would lather on my feet after taking my shower. We can't get this in Canada, so it was a real treat!! And speaking of treats, they sell ibuprofen in 600mg units over there, instead of the 200mg/400mg sizes you get here.

Buen Camino!!
FYI - found the 600mg tablets not enteric coated so can be hard on your stomach.
 
#65
The only other thing I would consider taking (by experience) is some cream to treat the rash from Ortiga (Latin Urtica) and it depends on the season. The Ortiga grows next to non-poisonous plants (I think from the same family) and it will penetrate light hiking pants. Early Spring it will grow too close to the foot paths and you could touch it as my wife did. Or you can just grin and bear it until the next Pharmacy :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#66
The only other thing I would consider taking (by experience) is some cream to treat the rash from Ortiga (Latin Urtica) and it depends on the season. The Ortiga grows next to non-poisonous plants (I think from the same family) and it will penetrate light hiking pants. Early Spring it will grow too close to the foot paths and you could touch it as my wife did. Or you can just grin and bear it until the next Pharmacy :)
Or commonly known as nettles.
 

Buz Radican

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May / Jun 2015
Camino Frances 2016 Oct / Nov 2016
Camino Frances May June 2018
#69
Sutures, scalpel, scissors, trach kit, gauze pads, bandage wrap, clamps, a couple of stents, just in case......oh, and an AED because you never know. Plus it can maybe charge your cellphone, in a pinch? Hand sanitizer can sterilize the operating field......, even help start a fire if someone needs warmth after going into shock. If there is a water purification system in your pack already, and if it has a pump, it can be used as a suction device, when needed.:p

But seriously, a needle and thread to help slowly drain blisters if they decide to show up. You know the drill. And maybe a small pair of scissors might be a good add.:cool:
My family doctor, who is a serious hiker, says absolutely do not use a needle and thread to "drain a blister". I, myself, am a certified Outdoor Emergency Care Technician (OEC-Tech) and in our training for blister care the instructors were very, very clear about the dangers of the old "thread the blister" treatment. If you are going to open a closed blister, it is recommended that you use a disposable scalpel to lance the blister, after taking proper precautions against infection.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#73
Can you not simply sterilize the thread as you would a needle with a lighter ;)
Even if you could the so called technique involves passing the thread through the blister and leaving the thread ends hanging loose to drain. Come morning the thread has to be removed from the blister and involves drawing the now mucky thread back through the blister. Not having done it myself I can't speak from experience but that's my understanding. And remember the thread is hanging off your foot in the bottom of your liner or sleeping bag. Nice!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
Norte (July/August 2019)
#74
Thank the good Lord I didn't get blisters. However I brought needle for piercing, bandaids, aticeptic wipes. I had Advil for pain....oh good ol vitamin "I". GasX chewables and never travel without NyQuil gel caps. My first Camino about Burgos to Leon pilgrims were visiting the doctor for antibiotics because of a nasty cough.....as soon as I started feeling the slightest cold symptoms (in Burgos) I took NyQuil gel caps....slept great and kicked it out of me in two nights. I felt bad for those pilgrims who got really sick. NyQuil gel caps and Advil. :)
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#75
OK, since the OP is a doctor, this is for pilgrims, who are not healthcare professionals.

If you have a smartphone, take it with the US Red Cross first aid application loaded on it.

On my Camino, when I am a tourist where a terrorist attack could happen, and on MTB bike trips where I could be alone for a while or stumble upon someone who had an accident, I talk a small wilderness first aid kit with a few extra's. The extras are an Israeli army compression battle dressing, a blood clotting sponge (it helps stop excessive bleeding), a small mouth to mouth filter, and some cord to make a tourniqueit. There are minor issues and then there is the potential for serious accidents like cars running into folks on the side of a road or someome falling on sharp rocks. Heat attack CPR, mouth to mouth if not breathing but heart beat, and stopping blood loss are good extras to be prepared for. Oh and for nonhealthcare professionals, a current Red Cross first aid training certificate or better yet a wilderness first aid training certificate.
 

MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
#76
FYI - found the 600mg tablets not enteric coated so can be hard on your stomach.
I agree. All anti inflammatory medication needs to be taken on a full stomach. I found it quite unusual that no one complained of gut problems. Especially with such a high dosage. In my experience and knowledge a combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen is very effective. Provided the dosage, strength and frequency and cautions are adhered to, including the medical history
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
#77
@Debra Garcia, thanks for posting this! Your initial list looks pretty good to me. Yes, the pharmacies in Spain are excellent and plentiful. Nevertheless, at home you’re more likely to find travel-sized or individually packaged items that will save you weight and money in the long run.

Everybody: thanks for the blister care tips. I find so much conflicting information about blisters. Is there a good, authoritative, clinically proven source for blister care info? Something from a professional association of emergency room physicians or sports medicine docs, maybe?

Same for blister prevention, although with the infinite variety of feet, gaits, and footwear I’ve pretty much despaired of finding any consensus on that topic...
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#79
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18
#80
As a Surgeon myself who will be doing the Camino Frances in September have thought of taking a small first aide kit but since I am traveling with my backpack to keep in overhead compartment I am worried about having scissors or tweezers or metal instruments for fear that Homeland Security or custom will make me take it out and they keep it. I plan on buying it in France or Spain and not risk it. Same as trekking poles.

Buen Camino
Humbertico
I always travel with "blister" scissors that have disk like ends instead of points. They are small, brilliant for safely cleaning up excess skin on dried healed blisters and are always allowed through in my carry on luggage when checked at security all around the world (we only travel with carry on luggage for efficiency). They can cut strapping tape, paper, thread and are worth the occasional check.
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
#81
Pharmacies can be identified by a green cross.
Note: For the Pilgrims from Boulder and the Colorado Front Range...the "Green Cross"...means pharmacy...and not legalized marijuana sales.
 

Jenny CL

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016, May 2017 and about to do in May 2018
#83
Hi All! Starting to put finishing touches to my pack to get ready to walk in May. Right now I am putting together a first aid kit. I want to take what I need but not carry more weight than I have to. Thinking about taking an ace wrap, one blister kit, few bandaids, small tube of neosporin,some ibuprofen, zofran, small spool of medical tape, small tube of hand sanitizer, small tweezers, few tablets of aspirin, an inhaler, Benadryl and a course of antibiotics. Any other ideas? Being a doctor it is hard to contain myself.
Needle and iodine for blisters. Something for bites, I often get bed bug bites which can be itchy, and most importantly sun cream, especially for your lips.
 

flywoman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan/2019
#84
Hi All! Starting to put finishing touches to my pack to get ready to walk in May. Right now I am putting together a first aid kit. I want to take what I need but not carry more weight than I have to. Thinking about taking an ace wrap, one blister kit, few bandaids, small tube of neosporin,some ibuprofen, zofran, small spool of medical tape, small tube of hand sanitizer, small tweezers, few tablets of aspirin, an inhaler, Benadryl and a course of antibiotics. Any other ideas? Being a doctor it is hard to contain myself.
Just a bit of humor--how about that needed operating table!!
 

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