A deep cut can be pulled together with tape if no medical man is available to suture it shut. For any injury which is bleeding profusely, put some gauze over the wound and hold pressure directly on the cut. The bleeding will stop more quickly and hence less blood will be lost by direct pressure than by trying to use a tourniquet, and direct pressure reduces the chance of complications. Always clean any open injury well with soap and water, removing all dirt and other foreign matter before applying the dressing.
For control and treatment of infection, external and internal, you should have some antibiotics in the kit. I would suggest you get a prescription from your doctor for enough antibiotic to treat each member of the family at least once for a five day course; more if possible.
Judge whether infection is present by fever and inflammation or swelling (include a thermometer in the kit). Heat will help surface infections so include a hot water bottle or two. Pollycillin is probably the drug of choice now because it is effective against a wide variety of conditions. Because liquid antibiotics have a limited shelf life, dry type antibiotics should be selected if possible. Also sulfa powders and tablets which last indefinitely are well worth obtaining.
Pain maybe a serious problem so you should include Darvon compound 65. You will need to take one or two about every four hours as needed for pain. You should include an anti nauseate such as Bucladin and take one as needed for nausea.
Fractures should be treated by splinting. There is a good plastic inflatable splint in each arm and leg length. These take up very little space and are far more effective and comfortable then wood splints.
Treat abscesses with heat and when the center gets white, open it with a needle or similar object which has been sterilized with Merthiolate.
I’d advise a fairly good supply of sleeping pills, tranquilizers, anti-histamines and antiacid tablets. Buy some over the counter variety or get a prescription from your doctor.
Be sure to have a good supply of any drugs that you take frequently. You should also get hundreds of aspirin. Trib ointment is an anti-biotic cream that should be included. Put in as many vitamin capsules as possible; these will provide good insurance that dietary changes will not result in vitamin deficiency diseases.
If you will be in areas where irritative plants like nettles and poison ivy abound or where stinging or biting insects are a problem, a good supply of antihistamine / anesthetic ointment would be a good investment. Also a supply of an effective insect repellent. If poisonous snakes are a problem, a snake bite kit should be carried on every person whenever you are afield and you should have an antivenin kit at the retreat.
Other books to be considered for the retreat medical kit might include a Red Cross First Aid Handbook, a good book on nutritional values of foods, an exercise book for periods of reduced activity, and books on specialty subjects such as delivering a baby at home, care of children’s health problems, etc.
If you can fit it into your schedule, a good first aid course would stand you in good stead.
Finally, be prepared with a good kit but don’t be overly concerned about health problems at the retreat. Because of lack of exposure to those carrying communicable disease like colds, flu, etc., these should be reduced significantly. And because you will be keeping active enough to be in good shape, many of the health problems of the desk bound rat race will no longer plague you.