Contaminated bandages and the need for inspection

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Do you believe that personal hygiene is critical in a SHTF environment?


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Silent Bob

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As part of our continuation of checking your medical kits, I wanted to send out this informational thread for those who have bought medical supplies from Ebay (especially from those who are not medical suppliers, individuals trying to get rid of existing supplies or from G.I type warehouses. This informational thread is not to deter you from purchasing them, I've found perfectly good stuff, but before I purchase them, I ask about their return policy and make sure the seller knows that if anything is not up to my expectations, I will return them shortly after receipt.

Typically, I don't buy medical supplies from Ebay except if I need them for training, however, lets go through some quick steps, if I forget something, please add your opinion.

1) Check for expiration dates, these are very important when you are talking about supplies such as Celox or like equivalent. Typically medical suppliers will give you the best dates on them. However, on Ebay, you might see someone try to unload these with only a few months of shelf-life on them. Meaning their effectiveness while still considered mission ready, may be less effective in a real-time injury.

2) Check for the primary packaging, for example: The Israeli Abdominal bandage has a vacuum seal as part of their primary container packaging, if it does not look like what your wife may have done when she vacuum sealed your leftover-turkey, then I'd return it.

3) Other primary containers that are plastic should be examined closely for pinholes or cuts, sometime users use sharp edges to remove packaging and this slight exposure to air can and could contaminate the bandage.

4) Paper primary packaging should always be inspected thoroughly for openings, water marks (which indicates contamination), etc.

The old adage "When in doubt, throw it out", but as Gazrok and Snowflake pointed out, you should consider recycling them into training items (if they expire or if they are contaminated). Also as I stated their is a way to make them mission ready by close inspection/sterilization.

As for why I offer these suggestions, many of you are well versed in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections and the impact it has on patients, it is a deal breaker in a survival or SHTF mode. Simply whether you want to hear it or not, like a abdominal wound, the likelihood of a person surviving without high doses of antibiotics, supportive care (ICU, possibly hyperbaric treatment) means that the person will die of septicemia (blood poisioning) and vital organs will shut down as a result of this event. So please consider this below comment made by a known medical supplier:

Quote: "As demand has increased for point of injury devices, many medical device firms sought to supplement their supply chain with low cost, foreign sourced medical devices. What should have been limited to extreme circumstances based on domestically unavailable materials, has for some firms flourished into a business strategy as they continue to deliver medical devices manufactured by unvalidated suppliers in second and third world countries. Foreign sourced gauze contaminated with “Pyronema domesticum” has been identified in U.S. Military kits (see Fig. 1). This mold, known to the FDA as resistant to the sterilization process, is found in Chinese cotton, and poses a direct threat to the health and safety of a compromised American casualty" (William Slevin, Quality & Regulatory Affairs, North American Rescue).

“Non-compliant, foreign cotton used in gauze and bandages may present a health risk and does not follow the law of the United States as per the Berry Amendment.”
– Lester Martinez-Lopez, M.D., M.P.H., Major General (Retired), U.S. Army

I have included the most recent CDC Study on Emerging Infection Disease, in a short abstract this goes over some interesting studies that we will deal with if the SHTF, pay close attention to the need for personal hygiene study and that includes those who don't believe in bathing! No offense made to those who believe in bathing in sand.


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