Exam Gloves and Swabsticks
Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones – but those sticks and gloves that come packed in your equine first aid kit from EquiMedic, will save you lots of money and heartache, if you use them, and use them right. Our exam gloves are fairly plentiful in most of our kits, and if you are using your kit, those gloves should be dwindling in number accordingly.
We pack two types of sticks in your kit in fairly decent quantity as well. You will find them labeled as: “Wood Applicators”, and “Long Wood Handled Cotton Tipped Swabsticks” . The first are actually junior tongue depressors, and the latter are long handled “Q-Tips” – all the better for longer reach on unappreciative patients. If you’ve observed many practicing veterinarians you will notice that these are tools of the trade.
These are not the spendy items in your kit, even when added up together. But they are there to protect your investment in those important items, the ones you don’t want to have to replace very often. You can buy lots of sticks and gloves for what most of those bottles and jars of medications cost.
You got everything in that kit at a pretty good combined price. Our kits are designed that way. A complete kit is a good deal. If you priced all of those products out individually and tried to build that same kit from scratch, or replicate all of it in the open market place, it would cost you considerably more than our complete kit sells for.
And it would likely require you to shop at least a dozen or more stores to find these items, and still not even have access to some of those products in our kits. Those complete kit prices are a good deal. A one stop shop scenario.
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Horse Health 101
Those sticks and gloves are meant to be used to keep all of your important medications safe, clean, bio secure, non-contaminated, free of dirt, grime, hair, dander, sloughed skin cells, debris, dead tissue, diseased cells, pus, germs, microbes, and viruses. CLEAN is your buddy when handling first aid emergencies, injuries, sickness, wounds, and all of the various hazards that your horse seems drawn to.
We all know that our horses don’t hang out in very clean environs. All of the above listed anomalies are the norm in your horse’s living space. We know that germs and viruses abound in our clean homes, so just think of how much more replicated they must be around livestock.
So approach all emergency scenarios with your horses, with CLEAN, in mind. Start clean, achieve clean, maintain clean, and stay clean. If your horse first aid kit hasn’t been used in a while, it probably has a pretty good layer of barn or trailer dust, hay or bedding particles on it.
So before you open up your dirty first aid kit, make at least a cursory attempt to get it clean: shake it, brush it off, blow the dust off. Remove as much dust and dirt off of it as you can before opening it up and exposing your safeguarded products to that dirt falling in and on top of all of you meds and equipment.
Once you’ve got the first aid kit open, the first thing you should dive for are your exam gloves. By now, you’ve gotten to the barn, the pasture, or paddock, discovered your horse emergency, found your first aid kit and begun at least the mental process of figuring out your course of action.
Take it for granted that by now your hands are no longer the clean appendages that they were when you left the house five minutes ago – and pull on a pair of exam gloves before you go any further. And close that zip seal back up on that exam glove bag to keep them clean for future use.
Get out some medical towels for use in covering dirty surfaces for laying out your meds and equipment. Make sure that your bags of Wood Applicators and Wood Handled Swabsticks are laid out as well. If all you will need at this juncture will be your diagnostic equipment like stethoscope and thermometer, then you might not need those stick applicators.
But you will need them if you are going to be addressing a wound situation or open skin injury. The last thing you will want to do is dive into a jar of ointment, poultice, or medication with your hand to get product, even if it is your gloved hand. By now it’s not so very clean any more either. And you’d best not ever consider sticking your bare hand into that jar of medication. Unless you figure the entire jar to be disposable product each time you use it. That’ll get costly.
Contamination and cross contamination should be one of your biggest concerns in handling medications, cleansing products and solutions. You can render a container of something like an antibiotic, antiseptic, analgesic, anesthetic, etc., as useless and deactivated by introducing contaminates from your own hands and the surroundings. And once you do that, you might as well be using fairy dust on that gaping wound, because that product won’t be virulent any more once it’s been degraded.
In using your applicators to dig product out of jars, squeeze them from tubes, or pour them from bottles, take that product directly to the wound dressing with your applicator, if at all possible, instead of applying it directly to the wound itself. The product will then be going on a clean and hopefully sterile dressing, keeping the applicator clean for repeated re-entry into the jar for more medication.
Your product will adhere better to the dressing and remain in it to continue to deliver the goods to the wound over a longer period of time. This action will be less invasive and abrasive to the wound and causing less injury to already damaged cells. Wounds and injuries are usually moist from blood and oozing body fluids, and medications will often slide or fall right off if you attempt to apply meds to the wound.
So use those least expensive sticks and gloves and don’t leave them lying in the bottom of the first aid bag because they are small and don’t look all that important. Keeping your medications clean and effective is as important as getting and keeping the wound or injury clean and free from infection. The process goes hand-in-hand – exactly where the sticks and gloves go. So use them. Use them up. They’re cheap. Protect your medications; insure your ability to treat your horse’s present and future emergency needs. You paid for those meds, you depend upon them, so protect them.
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