It’s the end of the American football season. And all the talk is about “Who is the most valuable player (MVP)?”
I don’t play football. I do bushcraft. And quite frankly I’m jealous of all these awards! So starting in 2015, I decided to create my own award for my most popular first aid supply.
(This post contains affiliate links.)
What Does it Mean to be Popular?
I can hear you say, “Wait! There’s no such thing as a ‘popular’ first aid supply.” In fact, first aid supplies are decidedly unpopular. I can’t recall a single time I reached into my first aid kit and produced something a patient actually wanted to see. Burns, cuts, scrapes, and stings, the patient always wants to be someplace else!
So what do I mean when I say “most popular” first aid supply?
Twice each year I reevaluate and restock all my first aid kits. I do this in September (the start of the academic year) and again after the New Year (the middle of the academic year). I volunteer at a nonprofit that takes urban youth into the outdoors. So it is imperative that both my personal and group first aid kits are well stocked year round.
Besides restocking spent and expired items, I make decisions about which first aid supplies to discard and what to add to my kits. During this process I note the supplies I used most often in the past year. In other words, the most popular supplies!
Thinking about my most popular supply each year provides insight into the type of injuries hikers suffer on the trail.
And The Winner Is…
So without further ado, the envelope please…. <drum roll>
And the winner is…
This year’s winner is MEDIpoint Splinter Out splinter remover.
The Insidious Power of Splinters
Whereas last year saw an epidemic of bee stings and insect bites, this year saw an outbreak of wood splinters. There was no rhyme or reason to it. Several youth on different outdoor trips all got splinters. Some acquired them sitting on logs, others after taking part in nature activities. Even my girlfriend suffered a splinter on a day-hiking trip.
It’s not the mountains ahead that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
– Steve misquoting Muhammad Ali
Don’t underestimate the power of splinters. I used to do so and it was a big mistake. You may think, “A splinter! How important can that be? Just ignore it. It’s not as if your arm is going to fall off…”
Try this approach with a child and see how far it gets you! Even with adults, if it is your splinter it’s a really big deal. The constant pain and irritation fills your mind. You can’t keep from rubbing it, trying to rid yourself of the needle-like intruder. The failure and frustration just compounds the pain.
So when someone on one of my hikes contracts a splinter, I stop and take care of it immediately.
Treating Splinters in the Standard Way
The standard procedure for treating splinters is to clean the area with mild soap and water. Sometimes this is enough to free the splinter.
If it’s a small splinter, you can try to remove it by touching the area gently with sticky tape. When you gently pull the tape away from your skin, it may lift out the splinter. Most people carry duct tape in the outdoors. This can serve as your sticky splinter remover.
For larger splinters that stick out of the skin, you can grip the exposed end with a tweezers and gently pull them out. Medical authorities recommend sterilizing the tweezers with alcohol before using them.
Clean the wound again when you’re done. Then apply (optional antibiotic ointment) and a bandage.
The MEDIpoint Splinter Out Splinter Remover
Most cases I see are not so easy. Either the entire splinter is under the skin or only a small portion is sticking out. In one case the splinter broke at the point it exited the skin when I grasped it with tweezers.
This is where the MEDIpoint Splinter Out splinter remover comes in. It’s a thin, lightweight lance you use to release a splinter trapped under the skin. Each thin package carries two sterile, individually wrapped, one-time-use lances.
You use the sharp tri-beveled point to open the skin to expose the splinter. Start at the end of the splinter closest to the entry point in the skin. Pick at the skin to expose the splinter. There is usually little blood because these splinters are not deep. Surface skin has few nerve endings so there is minimum discomfort for the patient.
I can usually tease out the splinter with the point of the splinter remover. However, once you expose enough of it you can remove the splinter with tweezers.
If you are older and have trouble seeing close objects, consider carrying a magnifying glass, particularly one with a light.
The MEDIpoint Splinter Out – Most Popular First Aid Supply of 2016
Its utility, small size and weight make it easy to throw a couple of MEDIpoint Splinter Out splinter removers into my first aid kits. They proved their worth in 2016 and deserve to be my most popular first aid supply of the year.
Do you have a favorite first aid supply? Tell me about it and what makes it special in the comments below.
Related Articles on NatureOutside
For fun facts and useful tips, join the free Bushcraft Newsletter.