Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bike Crash – What’s in your medicine cabinet?

No one likes to talk about crashing on the bike.  It happens.  You need to be prepared.  When you are hurt and limping around you don’t want to have to go to the store and find the stuff you need.

I have been wanting to write about what to have on hand but you just don’t do that without being prompted.  Someone, somewhere would crash and I would be blamed for the bad mojo.

First, if you are hurt beyond superficial cuts, scraps, bumps or bruises please seek medical attention.  Play it smart.

You have that horrible sound of metal and carbon hitting the pavement stuck in your head.  You just had a tumble on the bike and you have some bumps and bruises and probably some road rash.

Okay, lets take a look in the medicine cabinet:

1. Road Rash – Abrasion (How to treat) - The first thing that you need to do is print out this pdf.  Next read it.  Put it in you medicine cabinet.  Do it right now, I’ll wait.  There, you are already more prepared than before.  I feel better.

2. Acetaminophen / Ibuprofen (Tylenol, Advil) - You probably have this on hand.  It is a pain reliever / fever reducer.  You do not want to use aspirin in this case because of the blood thinning qualities.  Take only the recommended doses.

generic acetaminophen

3. Pain-relief cream (aspercreme) – You rub this into the bumps and bruises.  It will take away the pain.  Even better if you know a PT and can get the acetaminophen pain relief cream (prescription).  DO NOT RUB THIS INTO ROAD RASH!

generic aspercreme

4. Topical Antibiotics (Neosporin) – After cleaning the wounds and abrading rash you want to goop up the area liberally with the antibiotic cream.  And I do mean liberally.

topical antibiotic ointment

5. 2nd Skin type breathable Gauze (Adaptic, duoderm, tegaderm) – This is a breathable gauze to drape over your road rash.  Buy this stuff online.  It is much cheaper online and you don’t want to be wandering around a CVS late on a Sunday night.  It can be very difficult to find locally.  I got lucky a while back and found several boxes of the following on clearance.

2nd Skin type breathable gauze.

6. Ice packs – This will help with the swelling.  You can use anything that you want – frozen peas, plastic ice bags, etc.  I found the following a few years back.  I bought 4 sheets.  That way I can have two in the freezer while I have two on my body.  They thaw pretty quick so I rotate often.  These ice sheets will conform to just about any body part.

ice sheets

ice sheets – close up

Me with ice sheet on shoulder

7. New helmet – Even if the helmet looks brand new, YOU MUST REPLACE IT.  They are designed to take one impact, that’s it, nothing more.  My most recent crash sent me head first into the pavement.  I had a palm sized red area on my forehead and the top of my head.  The helmet spread the impact over a wide area and saved my noggin.  I have no doubt that I would have received some form of brain trauma if I had not been wearing a helmet (and wearing said helmet correctly but that is for another post). 
I am an opportunist.  I buy things when they are on sale and don’t necessary wait until I need them.  I found this helmet a couple of months ago for a very good deal (with coupon and free shipping).  I have kept the new helmet in a dark closet since I got it – they do have a shelf life.  However, I am glad I have the helmet on hand.  I will not ride my bike without one.  I have cracked two helmets in the past 4 years.  Better to crack a helmet than my head. 

helmet new in box ready to go

Bike crashes happen.  Be prepared.  Stock the medicine cabinet today.


Matty O said...

Great write up. Unfortunately I have all of the above (ice packs, not ice sheets... LOVED those, will look for them).

My cabinet contains a lot of gauze and butterfly's too. My injuries typical involve lacerations :(

Francine said...

Thanks for the tips for protecting the noggin'. Glad to learn from your experience and advice. The kids and I read this together.

Ransick said...

Thanks! I saved the pdf to my tri folder. I'm expecting a crash on my next ride :-).

Barbie said...

Thankyou so much for posting this.

Unknown said...

Sorry about your crash James ... really sucks!

You and me are about the same stage of healing right now and all I can say is that the 2nd Skin is a must have! This stuff is awesome. The first two days I used gauze and neosporin, this let me debride the areas some and then switched over to the 2nd Skin.

You are right, the good news is we get new helmets!!

Hope you are feeling better dude!

JohnP said...

Great post! Thanks for the article.

I give it my best try to clean the wounds myself. It can be tough getting out all the pebbles and road grit, painful but I will give it everything I got to avoid going to the ER. When you get there, the nurse will clean it. Clean it good. You thought you were in pain trying to clean it yourself? Pffft the nurse holds back nothing. They SCRUB. I just cringed from the memories alone.

I also want to put some emphasis on SHOCK. I slipped into shock after a bad episode of roadrash body surfing. This was an hour after the fact and I blacked out into a shaking 'cold' fever after my crash. Make sure someone is with you, train your spouse/kids on what to do incase you're not coherent.

Just a thought.

JohnP said...

Oh oh - the other thing I hate is the Gauze. Get the correct gauze/covering type. One of the problem I never solved was wrapping it, but then the scab grows up and over the gauze and when you remove the gauze wrap - you tear open the wound again. Pain? Yes. Dumb choice of covering? Yes.
You only make that mistake ONCE! :)

Tri-James said...

John P - I never thought about the shock – good point!

Years ago, in another life, I worked in a hospital doing PT. You could see the biggest baddest motorcycle dudes crying while they got their road rash abraded.

And yes, reopening a wound when removing gauze is a nightmare – not fun at all.