Whether you’re at home, on your way to work or out camping, it’s always better to be prepared with the essentials you need in case of an emergency. It is extremely important to have one of the best first aid kits within your reach as it can sometimes make the difference between life and death. That’s why in this article we’ll review the importance of having a first aid kit, where you can store one and what helpful supplies are generally included in one.
Since injuries can happen anywhere and since it’s oftentimes difficult to protect every member of your family, you can at least be sure that you’re doing the best you can to help them afterwards.
If you scrape or injure yourself, it’s best to disinfect the wound fast in order to prevent nasty bacteria, dust or dirt from getting inside the wound, which could cause an infection. In some cases, maybe if you’re outdoors and can’t properly clean a deeper wound, the risk of further complications is higher than that of a simple graze. Either way, having a first aid kit lessens the chances of gangrene, septicemia or staph infections.
Let’s be honest: a lot of things can happen. Things like:
- Slipping on your kitchen or bathroom floor and getting a bruise.
- Getting bitten by mosquitoes or spiders when you’re out camping.
- Getting nasty blisters on your hands after a day of DIY projects.
- Cutting yourself with a knife when you’re making dinner.
- Getting bit by your playful dog or scratched by your cat.
- Burning your skin when barbecuing or when lighting a campfire.
- And so on.
For all these unfortunate circumstances, a first aid kit provides you all the necessary supplies to treat everyday light injuries, as well as prevent bigger injuries from getting dangerous before reaching the hospital.
If things go south, having all the medical and emergency supplies you need in one little kit makes you more effective in avoiding danger. That’s because instead of loosing a lot of time in search for the things you need, you’ll be going directly to the first aid kit and getting everything in the shortest amount of time. Besides, some people tend to lose focus in tense circumstances, and having the medical supplies organized and ready helps them a lot.
Storing the kit
You should have a first aid kit in your:
Accidents can happen everywhere you go and it’s important to have everything ready. Many people assume that having one first aid kit in their homes and one when they travel is enough, but it’s not.
An earthquake, a power outage, a tsunami or a hurricane are pretty common disasters that require you to be ready even when you’re in the office surrounded by other people who couldn’t help you anymore in these dire situations.
Besides, you should know that first aid kits come in different shapes and sizes, containing different supplies depending on your particular needs. As such, portability is a significant criterion if you’re traveling. However, if you’re taking an extended trip it’s also a good idea to pack a bigger sized first aid kit.
Below you can find a list of the things first aid kits contain:
- Adhesive bandages (band-aids, sticking plasters). We also include here certain bandages shaped for particular body parts, such as knuckles
- Adhesive tape, hypoallergenic. Good for people with allergies.
- Adhesive, elastic roller bandages (commonly called vet wrap). These bandages are really durable and can maintain good pressure, also having the advantage of being waterproof.
- Antiseptic wipes or sprays for reducing the risk of infection in scrapes and injuries. Dirty wounds must be cleaned with antiseptics to prevent infections. Even if you don’t actually see dirt inside a wound, it should still be disinfected for bacteria.
- Bandages. You can use them to secure in place the dressings, but they aren’t necessarily sterile.
- Burn dressing, this is usually a sterile pad soaked in a cooling gel to alleviate pain from burning your skin.
- Butterfly closure strips. These are used instead of stitches to close wounds, but they’re generally included for higher level response, since they can cause infection if the injury wasn’t properly cleaned.
- Dressings. These are sterile, and should be applied directly to the wound.
- Elastic and pressure bandages. These used for sprains.
- Gauze roller bandages. These are absorbent, breathable, and often elastic bandages.
- Hemostatic agents. Included in first aid military or tactical kits, they help clotting in cases of severe bleeding.
- Moleskin. This is good for blister treatment and prevention.
- Petrolatum gauze pads. These are used as an occlusive and air-tight dressing for sucking chest wounds, as well as a non-stick dressing.
- Saline. This is used for cleaning wounds or washing out foreign bodies from eyes.
- Soap. Used with water, it serves to clean superficial wounds once bleeding is stopped.
- Sterile eye pads. For minor eye injuries.
- Sterile gauze pads. Used for dressing wounds where other fabrics might stick to the burn or laceration.
- Sterile non-adherent pads, containing a non-stick Teflon layer. These cotton fabric pads don’t stick to the wound and disrupt healing tissue.
- Triangular bandages. These are used as slings to lift a limb and prevent blood loss, or as tourniquets to tie splints.
- Aloe Vera gel. Good for burn wounds or sunburns.
- Antacids. Indicated if you’re having trouble with acid reflux.
- Anti-diarrhea medication.
- Antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine. Of valuable help if you’re having an allergic reaction.
- Auto-injector of epinephrine, if prescribed by your doctor. If you’re suffering from anaphylaxis or cardiac arrest, this can help you.
- Calamine lotion. Used to treat poison oak, poison sumac, sunburn, and insect bites.
- Cough and cold medications.
- Hydrocortisone cream. This reduces skin inflammation like redness, swelling, itching, and irritation.
- Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and aspirin (never give aspirin to children).
- Personal medications that don’t need refrigeration.
All that being said the significance of a first aid kit everywhere you go is highly transparent. However, remember to periodically check if there aren’t any supplies missing from your kit or if some medications haven’t gone past their expiration date. You also have the option to go for more comprehensive first aid kits that can help you in even the most unpredictable situations.