Who says bodily injury can’t be fun?
Yes, it hurt to pull them off after the photo session.
No, the author didn’t cut himself five times for authenticity.
Do you keep medical supplies in your flight box? Not a standard first-aid kit from your car
or the clubhouse—I’m referring
to a few handy little items in a
toolbox drawer. If you hang
around the flying field long
enough, someone will have
a nicked finger or another
minor wound. Sure, it’s usually
me, but even a nonclumsy pilot
should be ready to help someone out.
Legal disclaimer: I’m not a doctor,
nor do I play one on TV, so don’t take
this as actual medical advice. I only
feel confident in offering my opinions
because I’ve been involved in first-aid
situations many times throughout the
years (usually on the wrong side of the
bandage, of course).
The products I will mention are
available from many manufacturers, and
I am not endorsing any brand. Choose
your own favorites, please.
The most important thing to have
with you is first-aid knowledge. You
never know what the world has in store.
My ancient Boy Scout training has
come in handy a few times. Medicine
has advanced since those days (no more
bloodletting and leeches), so I recently
took a more modern first-aid course.
You can probably locate a free or
inexpensive class in your town. I found
the training empowering because I
might have the chance to be useful in
an emergency. That’s better than just
standing there and wishing I knew how
Keep It Small
The few medical supplies in my
toolbox are not made for major injuries.
I merely want to be able to handle little
hurts that require minor treatment.
Forget the splints, big compresses,
and arm slings. I figure if something
big happens, there will soon be a well-equipped rescue squad on the scene.
The EMTs usually greet me with, “You
The toolbox minikit also
avoids a strange mental quirk that makes
us avoid getting the big medical kit out.
Human nature sometimes makes us
want to “save it for something serious”
and not break a sealed kit open for a
Sure, it sounds kooky, but I’ve seen it
happen. A couple of loose items in your
flight box seem more accessible.
Some basic adhesive-strip bandages
are the most useful. I think it’s worth
the extra few cents to get fancy cloth
bandages that don’t leave a gummy
residue on the skin. You’ll find that the
packaging is better, too.
Some of the cheap strips are a real
challenge to deploy, especially when
one of your fingers is leaking and out of
service. I sometimes buy silly cartoon
character prints, or the ones that look
like little strips of bacon. First-aid and
bacon—together at last.
You can get special-shape adhesive
bandages for fingertips and knuckles. I’d
rather not admit how I know, but these
can be useful. I keep one of each in my
Barbecue restaurants give out little
packets of wet wipes to clean greasy
fingers. Save one for your tiny medical
kit. They work just as well on small cuts
as they do on barbecue sauce. The types
of wipes that contain alcohol are even
better for disinfecting an owie.
I’ve found that antibiotic ointment
helps minor wounds heal better and
faster. Various types and brands come
in small tubes that are perfect for our
purpose. Some people can be allergic to
the ingredients, so ask before using it.
These few items can handle minor
cuts or pokes. Left untreated, little
wounds can result in big trouble, such as
an infection. It is worth the effort to do
Getting a Grip on Splinter Extraction
The next most-commonly needed
items are for splinter extraction. Most
modelers have tweezers in their toolkits,
but I found that special ones designed
for removing splinters are far better.
One kind comes with a built-in
magnifying glass that is prefocused on
the tweezer jaws. My favorite pair has
sharp-pointed tips that slip in and grab
the splinter without needing to open the
wound any farther.
Years ago, a young relative refused
treatment for a sliver in her finger until
she got to my house, “Because Dave
can get it out without hurting me.” Talk
about putting pressure on Uncle Dave!
Well, my special sharp tweezers did,
in fact, do the job painlessly and a swell
family story was the result. These days,
I pair them with a tiny, but inexpensive,
microscope that has a built-in light.
This gadget makes splinters look like
Single-dose packets of aspirin and
acetaminophen don’t take up much
space. I find these at truck stops and
theme parks, on racks of sample-size
77 Model Aviation SEP TEMBER 2016
A mini medical kit has many uses
SAFETY COMES FIRST