First Aid, Health and Personal Care

Personal Care, Health and First Aid Items


Personal care is just as important in nature as it is in social settings. Taking care of our bodies so they function well is key. You may carry your lotions and fluids in a quart sized Zip-lock bag.


First Aid Supplies:

Personal medical kits are mandatory for minor cuts and blisters. Small kits that include items like adhesive bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, wound salves, blister treatment, gloves, a sewing needle and bit of thread, buttons, safety pins, and tweezers and fingernail clippers are adequate. When purchasing a kit make sure to know the contents and add any additional supplies that you prefer to carry.


Examples: Adventure Medical makes two kits Medical Kit .7 or Medical Kit .9 both of which will be quite adequate.


Where to Get It: Camping and Backpacking Stores


Note: Large first aid kits are overkill. Desert DAWN staff carry a well-supplied medical kit for emergencies and other needs.


Water Treatment:

Boiling water is the most effective water treatment. This, however, is not always feasible. There are many options on the market such as iodine tablets or Aqua Mira. Chlorine bleach is also known to be effective.  Filtering water can be problematic when the fine sand of our area clogs the filter.   If you bring a filter, bring another backup system as well.


Where to Get It: Camping and Backpacking Stores


Biodegradable Soap (2 oz.):

Native people understood the importance of regular cleansing to keep the body healthy. Keep yourself clean while in the field. When ever possible, WASH! WASH! WASH!


Examples: Dr. Bronner’s and Campsuds are two common brands that students use.


Where to Get It: Camping and Backpacking Stores


Toothbrush, Toothpaste and Dental Floss:

Dental hygiene is critical for life. In fact, ones teeth are quite important for proper nutrition and cultures that had poor dental practices often had shorter life spans. Poor dental hygiene at the very least in the short term may lead to very painful dental problems.


You are encouraged to bring a toothbrush, dental floss and a travel size tube of toothpaste. Baking soda was used extensively for a toothpowder prior to modern toothpaste. Baking soda has the benefit of having other uses as well. A small 2 ounce packet is all that is needed.


Fingernail Clippers:

Fingernail clippers are an important hygiene tool, especially when on camping trips. Keeping fingernails well trimmed reduces the area for bacteria to grow underneath the nails. Shorter nails make it easier to do a thorough job washing your hands.



Optional personal care items:


Prescription Eyeglasses:

Eyeglasses are preferred to contacts, since blowing sand may cause greater eye irritation when wearing contacts. If you are a contact wearer, consider bringing a pair of glasses. Your eyes will thank you.


Reading Glasses:

If you need reading glasses, bring them. They will be useful for map reading.


Lip Balm:

Lip balm is useful in the sun of southern Utah. The lips often take a beating in the field and a bit of lip balm will make a wonderful difference.



Though long clothing and wide brimmed hats are recommended as your best sun protection, some people may have sensitivities to the sun. If this is your case, feel free to bring a container of sunscreen. When using a wide brimmed hat and long clothing for your primary sunscreen, you may only need a small amount for your hands and face.


Bug Repellent

Like sunscreen, long clothing is recommended as your best bug protection. Your silk scarf is also quite effective as insect protection. West Nile virus does exist in Utah even though no known cases have been reported in our area. Clothing can protect most of your body. The hands and face are the most vulnerable areas. A small bottle of insect repellent should take care of protecting these areas. If you are able to use natural type insect repellents, they will be less harmful to the environment.


Comb or Brush:

One of the most refreshing things when you have not had a proper shower or bath for some period of time is to brush your hair. If you have enough hair to need a brush or comb, then bring one. You will appreciate it. Of course try to bring a small comb or compact brush.