Skip to content
Your Home Black Bag
avatar
Rod Moser, PA, PhD posted:
Doctors used to carry black bags containing all the medical tools they would need for a home visit. Of course, that rarely happens anymore. My own black bag is gathering dust in my closet. However, every family should have their own Black Bag.

What you include in your family Black Bag (and it doesn't have to be black!) depends on what role you would like to play in your family's medical care. Personally, I think people can, and should, take a more active, participatory role in their health care.

Here are ten items to consider adding to your Black Bag
  1. Thermometer. You can't find the old mercury thermometers any more, but there are excellent electronic ones on the market, from the inexpensive ones that go under your tongue or under your arm to the more pricey forehead scanners or ear thermometers.
  2. Sphygomomanometer (Blood pressure cuff). Being able to take an accurate home blood pressure is important. You can easily learn to use one that requires the use of a stethoscope, or buy an electronic model that doesn't require one.
  3. Stethoscope. Requires some practice, but listening to lung or heart sounds is important skill to foster.
  4. Home Otoscope. This is my favorite home tool, used to examine the ears for infection or even a wax impaction. It can even be used to peer up a child's nose for foreign bodies, or use the light source to look in the mouth and throat.
  5. Splinter Forceps. Every home should have a good, surgical pair of splinter forceps.
  6. Scissors. Your home black bag should have two pair of scissors; one to cut bandages, and other sharper pair for other needs. You can do better than those utility scissors in your kitchen "junk drawer:
  7. Measuring spoon or cup. Accurately measuring medications is essential. This is not the time to guess or use a common teaspoon.
  8. Flashlight. If you have a good otoscope, this can be used, but a good, bright flashlight is essential for looking in the eyes or throat.
  9. Tongue depressors. Learning to look in someone's throat who does say the classic "Ahhhhhh" may require the use of one of those wooden sticks used by your doctor to hold down the tongue. They only come in boxes of 500 or a 1000 so I advocate just stealing them from your doctor.
  10. First Aid Book. Find a good one at your local bookstore or on-line store. Bookmark your favorite (WebMD) sites for quick reference.
You will then need to stock your Home Pharmacy that I will discuss on a future tip.

Rod Moser
Was this Helpful?
31 of 53 found this helpful
Reply
 
avatar
deach777 responded:
WOW,, thats a great price,,,I mean Idea. LOL darn commercials. Another item is extra batteries. I see many people come in for batteries for their equipment, like BP mach. and thermometer. For long term storage, like for an unforseen emergency the non battery items are best. I have 2 sharp knives besides the scissors in my emerg. kit. Oh wait a min. i getting lost here. This is common Black bag items. Hey i do have a brown doctors bag. Its an antique, i bought it at auction. Oh,,,, the days when doctors made house calls. Now they do online video calls. Can't wait to see what we should have in our home phamacy. Since i work in one, i kind of have everything. Better check my outdates though. Have a great memorial day weekend. ~Deach~
 
avatar
debraj67 responded:
The otoscope is a very handy tool if you have little ones. But even if you study the pictures of ear pathology and correctly identify an ear infection in your child, do not expect your pediatrician to take you seriously. I have been disdained, disbelieved, and downright insulted by "exalted" members of the medical community who still believe it takes 10 years of school to recognize a red, puffy eardrum. (No apology when it turned out I was absolutely right, either!)
 
avatar
Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to debraj67's response:
Yes...that is the arrogance of some members of the medical profession. It doesn't take a doctor...or those letters after your name to be able to make an accurate description of the eardrum. I have taught THOUSANDS of lay people how to use a home otoscope, and some of them....the ones that practice...get very, very good. This is not rocket science....but it does take practice to get good at it. Your doctor had to learn how to do this, too. I hope it didn't take him ten years, but maybe he isn't a fast learner?????

Some medical provider appreciate "involved" patients; others are threatened by them. Find a doctor that appreciates your participation, not one who is put off by it.
 
avatar
tufguy5088 responded:
Great list! I can't wait for your list of home pharmacy products we need to carry!
 
avatar
Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to tufguy5088's response:
Thanks.....

Here you go. I did it in November last year

http://blogs.webmd.com/all-ears/2010/11/stocking-your-home-pharmacy-the-ten-items-everyone-needs-to-have.html


Helpful Tips

Sharp pain in left ear lob cartiliage
After the last 24 hours of excruciating pain and having tried Tylenol Regular and Sinus and heating pads, this morning I took Aleve as a ... More
Was this Helpful?
0 of 0 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Focus on Flu

Find answers to your questions about seasonal flu issues and answers to your concerns about the flu season and H1N1...Read More

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.