A medical emergency can happen at any time. Having the proper medical supplies on hand can make all the difference in preventing the situation from escalating out of control.
Here are six medical supplies every home should have.
1. A Good First Aid Kit
A first aid kit should be at the top of your list of must-have medical supplies. Pre-made kits are available, but you can also build your own.
The Red Cross recommends including the following items in your first aid kit:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Ointment packets
- Compress dressings
- Cold compress
- Oral thermometer
- Roller bandages (3-inch and 4-inch)
- Gauze pads (3×3-inch and 4×4-inch)
- Hydrocortisone ointment
- Triangular bandages
- Aspirin or Aleve
These basic supplies will help you address most minor physical medical emergencies. The amount you will need will depend on the size of your family and how long you want to stock up for. The longer you want your supply to last, the more items you will need to buy.
Additional supplies you may want to add to your first aid kit include:
- Butterfly sutures
- Safety pins
- Rubbing alcohol
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2. Sanitary Items
Along with a first aid kit, you also want to ensure that you have sanitary items on hand.
Sanitary items to have on hand include:
- Surgical masks
- Sanitary wipes
- Cotton balls
These items are more for the person administering the treatment, and will help prevent the transmission of infection and bacteria.
3. Witch Hazel and Calamine Lotion
Witch hazel and calamine lotion can help remedy skin issues and bites. Inexpensive to purchase, these are two items that should be in every medicine cabinet.
Witch hazel is a natural astringent and hydrosol, and it can be used to treat a variety of issues, including:
- Itching – from bug bites, chicken pox, eczema and poison ivy
- Razor burn
- Diaper rash
- Varicose veins
- Dry skin
Calamine lotion is also an anti-itch treatment that helps soothe the skin and ease irritation. It can be used to help treat a variety of issues, including:
- Chicken pox
- Poison ivy
- Bee stings
- Bug bites
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a staple in most medical supply kits, and for good reason. It acts as a mild antiseptic, and can help prevent infection in minor cuts, burns and scrapes.
Hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen when applied to a wound, which causes foaming and bubbling. This foaming action helps to eliminate dead skin and keep the area clean.
While effective on minor cuts, hydrogen peroxide should not be used to treat animal bites, deep wounds and more serious burns.
5. Rinse-Free Personal Care Items
An illness may keep a family member bed-ridden or an emergency situation may leave you with limited water. When conventional bathing is not an option, rinse-free personal care items can help.
While not an essential supply, these items are great to have on hand if you have room in your supplies budget.
There are a number of rinse-free personal care items available, including:
Some items are all-purpose and can also be used to clean dishes in case water is limited.
6. Eye Wash and Eye Dressings
When families prepare for emergencies, they often overlook one important area of the body: the eyes.
Eye pads can help keep wounds clean, or can help prevent discomfort caused by sensitivity to light (common with eye infections). Eye wash can help eliminate bacteria and other harmful substances that may have gotten into the eyes.
Building an inventory of medical supplies is a worthwhile investment. While you hope to never need them, you will be prepared in case the worst happens.