First Aid Continued Bites: Snakes and insects I am talking about here; not bears or mad dogs. (For those, you better get help quick.) I do not carry a snake bite kit, but I regularly read articles on proper response to snake bites. The kits don’t really add anything, just make it easier. Insects, on the other hand, can be a nuisance. If you are allergic to bee stings, wasps, or even ticks, you should carry anti-histamine related to your allergy. If you just don’t like to itch, their are several insect bite creams/treatments that also come packaged in individual packages. Some people carry small doses of bleach; witch hazel; ammonia, or anti-itch creams. I vote for the sealed packages. Carry two or three at a time. Other thoughts: In addition to the basics, tweezers are a very handy tool to have in the kit. They are good for removing splinters, exorcising ticks, and various other functions. If you don’t carry a pocket knife, then a small pair of scissors might be handy (you might have to cut tape or gauze, for ex). Weight/volume is very important to anything we carry, of course, which is why I like small amounts (repacked into small bottles) and the individual dose packages of antiseptics and bite creams. But this approach requires constant replenishment. Finally, it is important that once you pack your kit, you go back and look at it every now and then. First, you want to remain familiar with what you have and second you want to keep it current. Items that get used and items that are out-of-date must be replaced. Items can grow old in several ways. They can pass an expiration date; they can simply dry up; the individual packs can leak or tear; water can leak into the kit. You can’t just pack your kit, throw it in the bottom of your pack, and forget it. Make it a habit to check your kit at least at the start of every hiking season. (back)