Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is critical in saving a life in an emergency. While the basics of CPR can be learnt from some websites, to be officially certified you need to attend licensed classes and be formally tested. Learning under expert supervision is the only way to ensure you can perform CPR correctly.

But not all CPR classes are the same. Some are for EMS professionals and doctors/nurses, others are for sporting and recreational organizations, while others still may be for general members of the public. So, which type of CPR certification is for you?

Types of CPR Certification

  • Standard CPR certification is a useful qualification to have for people working in high risk industries like construction, or for adults who supervise children or the elderly. Standard certification is appropriate for teachers, camp counselors, coaches, personal trainers or babysitters. It’s also usually adequate for daycare workers and general employees in nursing homes. You can receive this certification after attending classes provided by organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.
  • Advanced CPR certification is a requirement for employment in many sectors of healthcare. This category covers most professional healthcare workers, including physicians, surgeons, registered nurses, dental professionals, paramedic/EMS professionals, physiotherapists and firefighters.

Child and Infant CPR

Your CPR course and certification should cover children and infants. The CPR technique used on adults is not appropriate for children or infants. Full force chest compressions can cause serious injuries to young children and babies. Proper training will teach you to apply a gentler form of CPR to children under the age of eight in order to maintain blood circulation and/or re-establish a heartbeat – without the risk of further injury.

Extreme care must be taken when performing CPR on babies. Chest compressions should be very gentle and tiny breaths administered. If your course does not cover this, go to a better one.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Training

Again, there are two types of certification for this CPR-related technique.

An AED is a portable item of equipment that analyzes irregularities in cardiac rhythm and uses electrical therapy to re-establish a regular heart beat. Many AEDs are designed for use by laypersons who have received adequate training in classes for first aid, basic life support, and/or CPR. You will often find AEDs in places where people congregate, like shopping malls, commercial centers, and office buildings.

More sophisticated manual and semi-automatic defibrillators are used by healthcare professionals who are trained to read electro-cardiograms. These AEDs are found in hospitals and healthcare centers, and also carried as standard equipment by paramedics.

Facilitators for CPR Certification

CPR certification by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross (ARC) is widely recognized.

The AHA offers separate CPR courses for the public and for healthcare providers. All of its classes include training in using an AED. The AHA now offers hybrid training courses where you can learn the theory of CPR online and then make an appointment with a registered facilitator for skills testing and certification.

The ARC separates its classes and certifications between Adult CPR and Child/Infant CPR. These classes do not usually include AED training. The Red Cross has a course dedicated to training healthcare providers and rescue personnel in CPR and AEDs.

Attempting CPR

CPR certification is not a pre-requisite for carrying out the procedure ‘in the street’. In an emergency, any effort at CPR is better than none.

Of course, certification will give you confidence and clearer thinking. You never know, it could even be the thing that tips the balance in your favor when applying for a job.

Whatever type of CPR certification you need or want, you will be trained in amazing techniques, right down to how to use a CPR mask barrier in addition to the traditional mouth-to-mouth. You will have the power to save lives. You may even find yourself wanting to carry good first aid items wherever you go, just in case. Why not? Be both trained and prepared.

Just be sure you get the right type of CPR certification for your needs.

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The SWAT-T tourniquet is a multi-purpose first aid dressing that was developed by a former medic with extensive field experience for use by SWAT teams. But it has proven itself outstanding for civilian use as well and is a must item to be included in any good trauma kit.

SWAT is an acronym for Stretch, Wrap and Tuck. That neatly describes how to apply this tourniquet. It is an outstanding tool that has undergone testing in extreme conditions to ensure it will not fail in a real blood loss emergency.

So Much More Than a Tourniquet

The SWAT-T is a versatile dressing and can be used as a:

  • Tourniquet. Apply it to slow and stop severe bleeding from extremities and prevent death. The SWAT-T has been thoroughly tested in numerous training exercises with no ill effects to healthy limbs. Evidence from the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that using tourniquets has reduced the incidence of complications and kept morbidity rates from severe trauma extremely low.
  • Pressure dressing. When bleeding is not life-threatening, the SWAT-T can be used as a pressure dressing to promote clotting. A sterile dressing should be placed on the wound before the SWAT-T is wrapped around the wound and sealed by tucking or taping the end. Be sure to check for a pulse in the extremity below the tourniquet to ensure it is receiving sufficient blood supply.
  • Elastic bandage. This is where the SWAT-T really shows its versatility. It can be used as an elastic bandage to:
  • stabilize a twisted or dislocated joint, like a knee, ankle or shoulder
  • provide a sling for a shoulder
  • hold ice over a strain
  • close and protect wounds
  • splint and immobilize
  • provide loose pressure to wounds on the chest or abdomen
  • contain abdominal contents in the case of evisceration.

Compared with other tourniquets, the SWAT-T can be applied higher in the groin or armpit to stop bleeding more effectively.

Easy to Use

The SWAT-T tourniquet enables a faster way to control excessive bleeding from an extremity. It can be applied within seconds with little training.

Simple instructions for use are printed on a card included in the package. On the tourniquet itself is a special system of markings. As you stretch and wrap the tourniquet, the markings will change to particular shapes to tell you it has been applied with the right pressure to stop blood loss.

Works When Wet

When bleeding is severe, it is natural that a tourniquet will get blood on it. No problem. That will not affect the SWAT-T’s performance in any way. After one wrap, it will grab strongly onto itself, even when wet or dirty.

The evidence is clear: the SWAT-T tourniquet is an easy-to-use and indispensable lifesaving device that should be a standard part of any first aid kit and trauma kit. When your kit also includes QuikClot sponges for controlling bleeding, you will be well equipped to handle any potential emergency.

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Magnets. We just take them for granted, right? It’s easy not to notice that they’ve been a crucial part of our lives since before we can remember. Well, here’s a news flash: magnets are not an invention. They were found. Then humans proceeded to learn a lot more about them.

The story behind the discovery of magnets is interesting and unique, even mysterious. Once you learn about their history, you may see them in a whole new light.

So, Who Discovered Them?

Depending on who you ask about the discovery of magnets, you may hear or read multiple stories. That’s because there are varying written records from ancient times. The magnets people discovered then (and continue to find today) are a naturally occurring mineral called magnetite. Back in the day, it was also called lodestone. It’s an iron ore with natural magnetic properties.

The Chinese are reported to have used primitive magnetic compasses as early as 200 BC. At first, such a compass was just a tiny piece of lodestone floating in some water. Marco Polo brought the concept back to Europe, enhancing navigation significantly. The Vikings were known to use a similar kind of compass (especially as large quantities of magnetite are found in Scandinavia).

But the purported ‘true’ discovery is credited to the Greeks over 4,000 years ago. A huge area of lodestone was found in the region called Magnesia. In the first century AD, a Roman called Pliny the Elder wrote a mythical story of a shepherd called Magnes who noticed the iron nails in his shoes sticking fast to a specific rocky patch of ground while he was tending sheep. There’s a clear connection between Magnesia and the word magnet, as there is between Magnes and magnet. Both the Greek and Latin languages adopted similar root words.

What the murky and mixed stories really mean is that this enormously important discovery was likely a chance event and wasn’t recognized as significant at the time. But magnets became vital in discovering so much about our world.

From Rock to Metal                       

We’re not talking the difference between Pink Floyd and Metallica. Since the discovery of magnets, there has been a great deal of testing and discovery. Magnetite is an iron ore that attracts heavy metal. In 1819, a Dane named Hans Christian Oersted was the first person to dabble in electricity and magnetism, demonstrating the significant correlation between the two. As he was demonstrating how an electric current could heat a wire it was passing through, the needle on a nearby magnetic compass pointed toward the current and then returned to normal after the current was turned off. By demonstrating how electricity affects lodestone – and thus how it can make a compass inaccurate - Oersted proved the existence of an invisible magnetic field in electricity (electromagnetism). Then in 1862, James Maxwell developed the basis of electromagnetic theory. A little over 30 years after that, J.J. Thomson discovered the electron in a process involving electric and magnetic fields.

Without Magnets Today…

Without these little miracles, we would not have things like electric motors, cell phones, compasses, television, audio speakers, microphones, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and the list goes on and on.


If you get yourself some small but powerful neodymium magnets, you can do a lot more things than simply stick stuff to your refrigerator. Attaching several together can create enough power to remove stuck batteries or to find wall studs (by locating nails/screws in them). Use them to repair a refrigerator door that won’t stay closed or to hold a car cover in place. You can even fix broken clasps, show fun experiments to kids, you name it. Like in the old days, you can take some magnets and go experimenting around your home to see how incredibly useful they can be.

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Wait. Aren’t all first aid kits essentially the same? No way!

When an emergency happens, you don’t want to grab your first aid kit only to realize it doesn’t have what you need. A serious cut needs to be treated with more than Band-Aids and gauze. A sprain or strain needs a chemical ice pack. What about cardiac arrest? Do you have a CPR mask?

Not every occasion requiring first aid is life threatening, but providing basic comfort to a victim requires having the right materials on hand.

Even simple problems have the potential to turn nasty. The quality of first aid you provide at the time can prevent a situation from worsening. And the quality of first aid depends on the type of first aid kit you have available.

First aid kits can range from very basic to EMT level. Buying the right one determines what you can and cannot do.

The Basic Home Kit

Unless you’re an EMT or medical professional, you likely have no need for anything more than a basic first aid kit for your home. You’re not expecting major emergencies at home, but you still need to provide relief quickly sometimes.

If you have a box that you cobbled together some years ago, and several of the supplies are ‘original, know that just ‘winging it’ like this is a recipe for being caught short.

It’s inexpensive to buy a first aid kit that’s good for up to 25 people. You’ll then be sure to have what you need for any home issue that may arise. You’ll have adequate adhesive bandages, wrap bandages, gauze, tape, antiseptic solutions, cleansing wipes, pads, scissors, cold pack, and more. If you buy an ANSI-compliant kit (American National Standards Institute), you’ll have something that’s good for workplaces as well and will likely contain even a trauma pad for stopping more serious bleeding.

You should have a few of these kits because they’re ideal for the bathroom, the kitchen, the garage, your bug out bag (emergency kit), the car, the RV, and more. Having extra kits will also ensure you never run out of important supplies at the wrong moment.

If you choose the right kit, it will include clear expiry dates on any items that can perish or go stale.

What If You Need More?

If you have an ANSI-compliant first aid kit for your personal or workplace use, it will cover most problems – at least until further medical attention is administered, if that’s required. What this kind of kit will not handle are more serious injuries (severe bleeding, fractures, etc) and cardiac arrest. So, don’t make the mistake of thinking a simple kit has you ready for anything.

You may need to supplement your supplies with a trauma kit.

Trauma Kit

A trauma kit for your own use should generally be quite simple, lightweight and portable. Some trauma kits you can buy are elaborate, stocked with masses of supplies (most of which the average person has no idea how to use), bulky, and cost up to $300 or more. They’re great, but they’re for personnel trained in more than basic first aid. Stick to your personal needs, skills and budget.

What you need is a small trauma kit with QuikClot clotting sponges that can stop heavy bleeding quickly, some tape, gloves, and a simple, easy-to-use CPR mask. Another kind of trauma kit can still be light and portable while including a SWAT-T tourniquet as used by military units to stop severe extremity blood loss.

If you were to buy a 25-person ANSI-approved first aid kit   and a portable trauma kit for your home or work, you would have pretty much everything you could need in an emergency until paramedics could arrive or you could transport a victim to an ER.

Don’t wait an emergency to arise to discover that your first aid kit is incomplete or out of date or just inadequate. Be like the Boy Scouts – PREPARED – and never be caught short!

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First aid emergencies happen every day and when they do, you want a first aid kit that’s up to the task. Make your search for a first aid kit easier by always purchasing the peace of mind certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). A first aid kit that’s ANSI compliant is marked as meeting the right standards.

Worker Safety – ANSI and OSHA Combined

An ANSI compliant kit also meets OSHA requirements. OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, part of the US Department of Labor, responsible for workplace safety and ensuring every work environment meets proper standards. That includes minimum standards for workplace first aid kits, called the OSHA/ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015 qualifications. ANSI and OSHA together make a powerful combination of federal government and private non-profit expertise.

Workplace Safety

A 2015 report by OSHA showed the enormous costs and consequences of workplace injuries for everyone concerned. Ensure your workplace has ANSI compliant first aid kits and be fully prepared. They may not prevent injury, but they’re the best kits to have on hand when injury strikes.


ANSI standards lay out two classes of first aid kits to make your choice easier: Class A and Class B. Each has a minimum requirement for supplies. The Class A first aid kit is a basic kit that’s more compact and good for many places, including most small workplaces, along with your home or car. It’s designed for standard things that can go wrong in a workplace. A Class B kit is larger and stocked with a wider range of supplies to cover more people and more complex issues. For home use, travel, and the like, a Class A kit will more than suffice. The Class B is great, although larger and less portable.

Great Bug-Out Bag Addition

A bug-out bag is an emergency kit that you should keep outside your home in the event of an emergency like an earthquake or anything that keeps you out of your home for a while. It should be stocked with supplies of food, water, emergency blankets, flashlights, batteries, tools, and… a first aid kit. Get an ANSI approved kit and you are well covered. It’s so much easier than trying to assemble first aid supplies yourself, especially as you have enough to think about when stocking your bug-out bag. Such a kit will also include expiry dates on any perishable items.


Buying a first aid kit that complies with ANSI standards is always a worthwhile investment. There is no price you can put on safety. Spending money for peace of mind is money well spent. ANSI-compliant first aid kits will provide that peace of mind. Furthermore, you can supplement them with other useful items like a trauma kit for more severe bleeding and a CPR mask.

Whether it be for work, home, travel or sport, always make sure your first aid kit meets ANSI’s standards and be confident you have the best.

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Even if it isn’t currently making many news headlines, the Zika virus is still around. Some progress has been made in controlling its invasion of the US, but it is still a cause for concern. Cases and symptoms have been reported in every US state, although mosquito-borne Zika is most problematic in southern Florida and Puerto Rico. Several other states and communities are alert and watching cases and mosquito populations.

You need the latest on the Zika virus so you can be as prepared and protected as possible to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Zika Transmission

There are four ways in which Zika can be transmitted.

  • Mosquitoes. They are the main carriers.
  • In-utero. It’s still rare in the US, but there have been cases where Zika has been transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy, often resulting in birth defects.
  • Blood transmission. The virus can be transmitted through blood contamination – like via mosquitoes – but there is no evidence of casual contact transmission and there have been no confirmed cases of transmission through blood transfusion in the US. American blood programs screen all donations for Zika.
  • Sexual contact. Zika can be present in semen and vaginal fluids, even if a person displays no symptoms.

There is no evidence of the Zika virus being transmitted through breastfeeding, despite any unfounded rumors to the contrary.

Florida: The US Frontline

As the frontline in the fight against Zika’s spread, Florida offers the latest news about the Zika virus by issuing almost daily briefs. Fortunately, confirmed cases in southern Florida are few and far between, although every precaution must still be taken. Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America and South America are popular travel destinations for Americans and thus Florida and other major entry points monitor the situation closely.

In addition, Florida has taken to spraying pesticides over large swaths of territory in a bid to quell mosquito swarms.

Symptoms – You Don’t Need to Show Any to Be Carrying Zika

Many people infected with the Zika virus display no symptoms. As a result, they can aid its spread (as can happen with many other viruses, including influenza).

Symptoms usually include a mild febrile illness that causes high temperature, chills, sweats, shivering, and general weakness.

Zika is especially hazardous to pregnant women as it can be passed to their unborn children and result in congenital malformations.

Protection and Prevention

It’s best not to put all your faith in aerial spraying of insecticides to keep Zika-carrying mosquitoes away. The insects can carry other problems like West Nile virus

Many people react poorly to pesticides and also to repellents applied to the skin. There are other important protective steps you can take that can avoid the health hazards of DEET-based repellents:

  • Remove standing water (mosquito breeding ground) from your property, especially by improving drainage.
  • Wear natural fiber clothing that covers your arms and legs, especially at night.
  • Plant outdoor gardens of marigolds, citronella, lemon balm, basil, lavender and catnip.
  • Spray your lawn, garden and patio with an all-natural mosquito repelling formula that also keeps away other biting insects and is so non-toxic it doesn’t even need EPA approval. Look for safe ingredients like citronella, lemongrass oil, thyme oil, garlic oil and cedar oil.

Traveling Overseas

Before you go, check travel advisories about Zika. Sometimes it’s best not to travel at all - for your sake and for the sake of others on your return.

Above all, if you live in Florida or other areas of the deep south, stay up to date with the latest on the Zika virus and stay protected.

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It’s a daily routine: after a long day, you change into something comfy like pajamas, turn out the light, then crawl into bed. Why do you switch off the light? Is it because you need it off for sleep? Is it to save electricity?

Do we sleep in the darkness purely because we have been trained to or are there other reasons? Let’s examine why light may be a factor in you falling asleep and staying asleep.

The Natural Imperative

Long before we created our own electricity, humans would sleep when the sun fell and awaken when it rose. It seems to be ingrained into us to sleep at night. The same applies to much of the animal kingdom. Those that are nocturnal have developed specially through evolution.

Look how difficult people find sleeping when they work a night shift. And what do they do? They darken their bedrooms and invest in a sleep mask.

It would seem Mother Nature makes us crave darkness for our slumber.

Melatonin and You

melatonin-formulaIn our wonderful bodies, we have the pineal gland. By itself, we don’t pay much attention to it. Heck, many of us haven’t heard of it. But it produces a vital hormone called melatonin. No doubt you’ve seen melatonin pills in your local store’s vitamins and supplements aisle. People pop them when they have jet lag and can’t sleep in a new time zone. This naturally occurring chemical promotes safe and fulfilling sleep. Without it, we become grumpy, can’t sleep through the night, and just feel meh. During the day – in the light – the pineal gland is inactive. It ‘wakes up’ in the night. Production of this hormone is disturbed by light.

Sleep and Your Health

Sleep is important to physical and mental health. Poor sleep makes us feel foggy, tired, lethargic, grumpy, and more susceptible to illness. Our concentration is diminished, as is our strength and stamina. Sleeping better in darkness promotes the creation of melatonin which, in turn, helps our bodies to align and balance themselves out.

Important Tips

Simply turning off the lights is not all you need to do to ensure a good sleep. What happens during the day, in the crucial hours before bed, and in the bedroom all make a big difference.

  • Get exercise and fresh air during the day.
  • Get rid of fluorescent tubes in your home. They are awful for your eyes, your mood, and your sleep.
  • Blue light is your enemy. Turn off your mobile devices and TV at least an hour before bed time. The blue light emitted by those screens is proven to be disruptive to sleep. Unfortunately, compact fluorescent bulbs emit a fair amount of blue light.
  • Yellow and red light is better during your awake evening hours. Candlelight and campfires don’t cause sleep problems. They’re far more soothing.
  • Invest in lighting that emits more yellow or red. Incandescent and halogen bulbs are better in this area. Dimmable is even better.
  • Get good drapes or blinds that block out light.
  • No night lights in the room.
  • Buy a sleep mask.

A Sleep Mask Could Be Your Savior

If you simply can’t darken your bedroom completely, a soft, breathable sleep mask could take care of that and provide the sleep you can only (day)dream about. You’ll finally have the darkness you crave – and need.

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motorcycle-safety-hornMotorcycles are fun to ride. On the other hand, having someone in your life who rides can be a nerve wracking experience. There are many dangers on the road that motorcyclists have to deal with. However responsible a rider your loved one may be, there’s still almost no protection from other road users. Motorcyclists are cut off by car drivers every day. Just check out some motovlogs on YouTube to see for yourself. Well, maybe not. You don’t need any extra worry.

But you can give your beloved motorcycle nut a big help, while also solving the problem of what kind of gift to get for a motorhead. A loud air horn on a motorcycle is one of the best ways to help protect a rider. Especially one that sounds like a wild banshee.

Safety Factor

motorcycle-hornBecause car drivers are not well conditioned to look for motorcycles, especially in their blind spots, it’s important for a rider to be heard at crucial moments. When a car crosses lanes toward a rider, a blast on an air horn designed for motorcycle use can send a clear message for the car driver to change course. The regular horn installed on a bike is often not adequate. The right air horn gives a sound that reaches 123 decibels. That’s about the same as 50 feet away from a jet fighter taking off from an aircraft carrier and louder than a chainsaw or a thunderclap.

Buying an air horn for a motorcycle enthusiast is an investment in their safety.

Fashionable, Unobtrusive

We’re not talking about an air horn you’d find on an 18-wheel truck or at a football game. Those things are too big for a bike. We mean one that can fit in the palm of your hand.

Don’t let your motorcyclist take no for an answer. Sometimes bikers can be picky about adding stuff to their rides, but the right small air horn can fit in perfectly with a bike’s look.

Be sure the horn can operate using the bike’s regular horn button and kick in quickly when that button is held down.

Visual Warning

That air horn for your motorcycle enthusiast should include the capability to wire into the bike’s headlight high beam and flash it when the button is pressed. Every bit of safety helps.

The Installation Process

Most motorcycle enthusiasts enjoy working on their own bikes. Giving the person you love a new air horn will provide the chance to do this fun activity. (Otherwise, a service center can quickly and easily install it.) Be certain it comes with everything needed for installation. Wiring an air horn is fairly simple. In less than an hour, your loved one could be out on the road feeling safer and more conspicuous than ever.

Shop now for the ultimate air horn for the motorcyclist in your life.

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first-aid-kit-for-carAn emergency can happen anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. A first aid kit is always a great thing to have with you at home or in the car or on a trip. But sometimes an emergency involves serious bleeding and it takes time for paramedics to arrive. This is where a good trauma kit with QuikClot can literally save a life. You don’t even have to be a medical professional, just a good Samaritan. Even for moms, dads and coaches, a trauma kit can come in handy.

What is QuikClot?

trauma-kit-quickclotIn the movie Saving Private Ryan there was a moment where a medic sprinkled powder on a gaping wound. That’s QuikClot. These days it’s a special sponge, but the use remains the same: to stop bleeding. The chemical in QuikClot, either zeolite or kaolin, accelerates clotting by absorbing the water in the blood.

  1. Every Floor of Your Home

Regardless of how many floors you have in your home, a trauma kit with QuikClot should be on each floor. Everyone in the family should know exactly where the kit is so that they can get it when they need it.

  1. Garage

Arguably one of the more dangerous places in your home. You never know when something you’re working on can cause you grief, especially tools. Place a trauma kit in an easy-to-reach location that never gets blocked off, like next to the light switch. A small, lightweight kit is great because you can hang it on a tool hook.

  1. Car

A trauma kit with QuikClot is essential for your car, either in the trunk or the glove box alongside a first aid and emergency preparedness kit. A huge asset if you get into an accident or you come across one.

  1. Kitchen

In a word: knives. Accidents happen, sometimes serious ones in the kitchen. If you work in a commercial kitchen, risk is even higher. A knife wound needs the bleeding stopped quickly.

  1. Emergency Go-Bag

Your emergency kit that you keep waterproofed and sealed outside your home in case of an earthquake or fire or other emergency. You need non-perishable food, water, space blankets, flashlights, batteries, radio, and so on… including a first aid and trauma kit.

  1. Sports Bag

Pretty much every outdoor sport means carrying something in a sports bag. A trauma kit can be compact and light enough to store in a duffel or backpack. Just leave it permanently in a side compartment.

  1. Hiking Gear

Especially if you go hiking alone. But for any hike, solo or otherwise, a trauma kit is a life saver when you’re out in the sticks and far from help.

  1. Work

Most workplaces, by law, have a first aid kit. Or several. But that law doesn’t usually require a trauma kit for stopping bleeding. Be a smart and sensible boss.

  1. Biking Bag

Just like hiking, if you go out on your bike regularly, anything can happen. You can be hit by a car or fall off when on a mountain trail. A trauma kit can attach to a fanny pack.

As we said earlier, a good trauma kit with QuikClot is lightweight, compact, and can fit just about anywhere.

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best-mosquito-repellentMosquitos suck, in more ways than one. With some of them today carrying viruses like West Nile and Zika, we want to avoid them more than ever. Mosquito repellent may work for keeping those blood-sucking devils (and other nasties) off our skin, but at what cost? Is mosquito repellent harmful? Are the chemicals in them truly safe? Are there other options that are more natural and still work to keep us from doing the mosquito slapping dance? Chemical solutions and rub/spray on repellents were a revelation when they first came on the market, but are they doing as much harm as the mosquitos?


DEET has become the most used ingredient in virtually every bug repellent on the market. It goes by a few names: diethyltoluamide, N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, and N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide. It’s been around for decades. DEET definitely works to keep mosquitos away but it can have side-effects that we’ll examine in a moment.

The BIG Mistake

We rely on the FDA, USDA and EPA and to inform us of health concerns. But consider how often people don’t read directions for anything. Do you read directions for mosquito repellent? We just squirt it, spray it and rub it in without thinking until exposed skin is ‘secure’. Parents spray down their kids, pets, and themselves. Sure, we have to consider user error when examining how harmful the chemical ingredients are. When used as directed, reported issues are pretty low. But those warning labels exist for good reason… mosquito repellent can be harmful.

Will it Kill You? Probably Not, But…

mosquito-bitesThe issues associated with mosquito repellent are varied and unpleasant. For starters there’s eye irritation and allergic skin reactions. People who ingest DEET or use products with high concentrations have sometimes needed medical help. Labels tell us not to use it on infants, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. So, consider potential effects like:

  • skin irritation
  • breathing problems
  • eye irritation
  • insomnia
  • mood swings/disturbances
  • seizures
  • slurred speech
  • impaired cognitive function
  • nerve damage
  • coma

The concentration levels of the active chemicals determine a lot of the risk. For example, Canada banned the sale of mosquito repellents that are more than 30% DEET.

So, What Alternatives Do I Have?

Mosquitos are obnoxious creatures and you want to enjoy your time outside without having them eating you alive. Luckily, you don’t have to wear nets and cover yourself from head to toe in thick clothing. There are alternative repellents and treatments with active ingredients and delivery systems that work just as well and are far better for you. Look for these ingredients in a natural mosquito spray for your lawn and yard or in repellents for your skin:

  • Citronella oil
  • Geraniol (found in citronella)
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Garlic oil
  • Cedar oil
  • Herbal extracts and essential oils
  • Picaridin – for topical solutions

All the ingredients above help protect you from mosquitos without any adverse effects. A good rule when reading the label is: if you can’t pronounce it, beware.

A lawn and yard spray solution could be the simplest and easiest method because it keeps mosquitos away from your property. Much easier than having to slather on harmful mosquito repellent and certainly won’t cause skin problems.

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