1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hey Guest, We're having our annual Winter Moot and we'd love you to come. PLEASE LOOK HERE to secure your place and get more information.
    For forum threads CLICK HERE
    Dismiss Notice

out of date first aid kit?

Discussion in 'Hygiene and First Aid / Medicinal' started by sargey, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. Exploriment

    Exploriment Forager

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Niagara Escarpment
    Read this article and then decide.
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/04/02/drug-expiration-part-one.aspx
    If an organization as large as the US military deems it unnecessary to toss out most medicines, save for a few specific classes (antibiotics, insulin, nitroglycerine), I will take my cue from them. Expiration dates are a brilliant, and I do mean brilliant, marketing scheme. Medicines don't go from effective to inert the day the expiration date is reached. They don't go from medicine to lethal poison at the strike of midnight.

    I use stuff long past the expiration date, and do so with no qualms whatsoever. Gauze is gauze, and even if the package is damaged, if it's that or having someone bleed out, I will use it. Even if by some miracle the patient gets an infection from that gauze, an infection can be treated. Death from exsanguination can't.
     
  2. kINGPIN

    kINGPIN Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire UK
    ^I couldnt agree more.
     
  3. Harvestman

    Harvestman Bushcrafter through and through

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Messages:
    8,656
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pontypool, Wales, Uk
    Well in date in obviously good, but the choice between an out of date FAK and no FAK is a no-brainer.
     
  4. sargey

    sargey Mod
    Mod

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Messages:
    2,684
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    cheltenham, glos
    interesting info thanks for that.

    oddly, the things that might be of interest to bushy types, from the above article...

    so if you're heading off on safari......

    to my mind, there is an obvious difference between first aid kit used for personal first aid, and stuff used for groups/work/public.

    cheers, and.
     
  5. hedgerowpete

    hedgerowpete Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    smethwick,birmingham,west midlands,pork scratching
    on dressing the sell by date as you call it, is the actual used by date and the reason it is there for is that date is a set time span from when it was steralized for sending out, the gels etc are disposible, by all means use the whole lot dressings gels etc to practise with as they are brilliant for that, i woul deven buy some of those fake plastic wounds so you can add to the realisim of it all which helps no end to do,
     
  6. Beardy

    Beardy Need to contact Admin...

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    I have a couple of Israeli field dressings I checked recently. Both out of date, one's package was still taught (vacuum packed), the other had puffed up slightly and allowed the ingress of air (and potentially moisture and other nasties). Packages still with a vacuum I treat as usable, even if the date has past: it was sealed and made sterile, if the seal has demonstrably not broken then it must still be sterile. The dressing from the package that allowed air in is now a training one, although those dressings have two layers of packaging so even with a leak in one the dressing itself was probably still fine.

    Another point is if you are packing a tourniquet at all you should probably get another, one for training purposes and one kept unused. Apparently US troops are getting a few failures with the CAT, the likely reason being lots and lots of practice drills with it in some very hot temperatures (plastic windlass no likey) before it gets used for real. Just thought there may be some tree surgeon or such here who might carry one.
     
  7. BoonDoc

    BoonDoc Forager

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    County Kerry, Ireland
    The original CAT that was issued around 2004 had a narrow windlass that bent and broke when kept in extreme temperatures. The newer CATs fixed this with a windlass that gets wider in the middle.
    US Marines do not practise with the tourniquet that they wear. That one stays in plastic and on your armor.

    Some eejits were prepositioning the CATs on the upper arms and legs in anticipation of being hit. Not the brightest option out there.

    Regarding the sell by date on bandages. The bandage is fine. Even if air got into it and bacteria are present there is no problem with using out of date kit.
    The bandage will be on for at most an hour. At the A&E you will get the wound cleaned out and probably given an antibiotic.

    People need to realise that bandages do not go out of date because of air getting in or due to the manufactures date. The makers of kit want to sell you stuff. They cannot do that if you realise that their kit is still usable.
     
  8. Broomstickize

    Broomstickize Forager

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Suffolk, UK
    Although I agree with the fact that the product will probably be fine, the date is not there to make money but to save it.

    I've worked in an situation where we were looking at the aging of product.
    For anything - whether it's the painkiller in your FAK or the likely-hood that your cam-belt fails - you are using the mathematical probablility that something happens (or doesn't happen). You can predict the rate at which something will fail or become effective over time and then with a customer, industry or legal standard set a failure rate that is 'unacceptable' then work out the life of your product (or set the time and work out the failure rate at that time).

    In my line of work (10 years ago!) we were looking at electical cables (for large-scale power distribution). The expectation for things like the cable running things like the national grid is that a cable would have a working life of 40+ years, i.e that only a small amount of failures would be expected before that date - because this cable is expensive to install/repair and consumers don't like their power blinking out.
    However, the rate of failures isn't steady - so with cable, if it works first time it will generally last a long time but as the materials age you are more likely to get a failure and that failure rate actually dramatically increases after a certain time but any single bit of cable could still fail at any time be that short or very long. The manufacturing and the life of the product all affect this... a cable out in the sun will get UV damage, in a tunel it won't.
    So, to make sure that we could say that less than 0.1% of cable fails after 40 years you are actually saying that in all probability 99.9% of the cable will last longer. At the time London Underground had cable that was over 60 years old and going strong - you just have to bear in mind that as a company we were no longer beholden to our customer because they had chosen to exceed our reccommended life.

    For stuff that can injure people we are even more careful. Food, medication and even items like cars HAVE to be safe so that the fail rate is less than single digit parts per million. The human costs if they are not are too high - think of a car not braking suddenly, people are liable to die or at least be very annoyed. That cost translates into a financial cost or risk - for the car, how many millions are paid out in damages or how much business is lost because your reputation is damaged.

    So back to the FAK! Your use by date is there to prevent everyone putting what the manufacturer, industry or legislation tells you is likely to be a non-effective or dangerous product in or on your body. Plus Glaxo don't get rich making bandages and they certainly don't want lawsuits all over the place because someone used one after leaving it by the pooper-scooper in your cupboard for 25 years. So it's not about making money or a marketing scam.

    Most likely you willbe fine, it will work or at least not harm you BUT do you want to wait until you need it to work for it not to work... It's all down to how much risk you like. I have old bandages but replace medicines, etc because I've made a judgement on the risks of things happening.
     
  9. Broomstickize

    Broomstickize Forager

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Suffolk, UK
    Sorry it's a bit of a rant but even though I know we live in a cut-throat world and that BBE dates are open to discussion it does annoy me that generalisations are made...
     

Share This Page