Written by Bernie Carr
A well-stocked first aid kit is an indispensable tool that can help you provide immediate assistance during emergencies. Whether you are at home, on the road, or engaging in outdoor activities, having the right supplies readily available can make a significant difference in managing injuries until professional help arrives. In this article, we will outline the essential items to include in a first aid kit for emergencies. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are adequately prepared for unforeseen accidents and emergencies.
- Adhesive Bandages and Dressings
Adhesive bandages, commonly known as band-aids, are a fundamental component of any first aid kit. They are suitable for minor cuts, abrasions, and blisters. Make sure to include a variety of sizes and shapes to accommodate different injuries. Additionally, sterile gauze pads and adhesive tape are essential for larger wounds that require more extensive coverage.
- Antiseptic Solutions and Cleansing Wipes
Keeping the affected area clean is crucial to prevent infection. Include antiseptic solutions like hydrogen peroxide or povidone-iodine, along with alcohol-based cleansing wipes. Antiobiotic ointment, such as Neosporin should be included. These can be used to disinfect wounds and minimize the risk of bacteria spreading.
- Tweezers, Scissors, and Safety Pins
Tweezers are handy for removing splinters, foreign objects, or insect stingers from the skin. Scissors, preferably with rounded tips, are essential for cutting adhesive tape, clothing, or bandages. Safety pins can be useful for securing bandages or slings.
- Disposable Gloves
Wearing disposable gloves is crucial to prevent cross-contamination and maintain hygiene while administering first aid. Include a sufficient number of latex-free gloves to protect both the responder and the injured person.
- Masks, CPR and Resuscitation Device
In life-threatening situations, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) can save a person’s life. Keep a CPR mask and a resuscitation device, such as a pocket mask or a bag-valve mask, in your kit. These devices provide a barrier between the responder and the injured person while performing rescue breaths or chest compressions.
As we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it never hurts to have extra masks on hand
6. Over-the-Counter Medications
Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate minor aches, pains, and fever. Antihistamines are useful for treating allergic reactions, while antacids can provide relief from indigestion. Always ensure that any medication you include is not expired and check with a healthcare professional for appropriate dosages.
- Emergency Contact Information and First Aid Manual
Include a list of emergency contact numbers for medical professionals, poison control centers, and local emergency services. Additionally, keep a first aid manual or guidebook that provides instructions on how to handle common injuries and emergencies. It can serve as a valuable reference in stressful situations.
- Other Useful Items
Depending on your specific needs, consider including additional items such as:
Here’s a list of unusual Items to include in your first aid kit:
Right after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the streets were flooded for days. We had to walk to the grocery store several blocks away, since the roads were impassable.
Foot care is important especially in a disaster. Supplement your first aid kit with moleskin pads to avoid blisters.
Getting sunburned causes a lot of misery, and aloe vera is very helpful in easing sunburn pain.
You’ll need rubbing alcohol to disinfect items and many other uses such as itch and nausea relief.
If you lose a filling in the middle of a disaster such as a hurricane, you will be unable to see a dentist until everything reopens. A dental kit can help tide you oven until you can make an appointment with the dentist.
Duct tape can be used as a makeshift sling, tape bones and joints together, to cover up a blister or to help remove a tick.
Liquid bandage is a good item to have in a first aid kit for some cuts such as small lacerations according the the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It works by creating a protective shell that binds to the skin. You should be aware that liquid bandage does not work for all types of wounds. According to WebMD, some people may have an allergy to it. Also, it may not work for someone who tends to have slow healing wounds such as diabetics. On the plus side, liquid bandage benefits include:
· fast drying
· stays in place
· keeps air and dirt out of the wound
· less scarring
· lower rates of infection.
Vet wrap is a porous, self-adhesive bandage that was originally designed for horse, however, it started to gain popularity for people as well. It can support limbs, and is an excellent way to put pressure on a wound to prevent blood loss. I know of someone who got a very deep gash in his hand, so his friends wrapped the wound with vet wrap then headed straight to the hospital emergency room. The wound required stitches but the ER doc thought it was good they used the vet wrap for first aid.
Other similar brands are called Celox and Hemcon.
I once saw a Twilight Zone episodeTime Enough at Last where the main character was navigating the end of the world. When he finally has peace and quiet and time to read, he breaks his only pair of glasses. I have never forgotten that. Lesson learned: keep a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses in your first aid kit. Whenever you get a new set of glasses or contacts, keep the old pair in the first aid kit. If you wear contacts you should include saline solution and comfort drops in the kit as well.
This list is not comprehensive; I am sure others have their own favorites. If you have any unusual items in your first aid kit, please feel free to share in the comments below.
A well-prepared first aid kit can be a lifesaver in emergencies, enabling you to provide immediate care until professional medical help arrives. By including the essential items mentioned above, you can ensure that you are ready to handle a wide range of injuries and emergencies effectively.
You don’t have to get everything all at once. I started with this First Aid kit, and slowly added more items as budget allowed. Quick tip: First aid kits can be purchased using a flexible spending account or health savings account (as of this writing) so if you have one, double check to make sure it’s still covered and order it.
Remember to regularly check and restock your first aid kit to maintain its effectiveness. Stay proactive, stay prepared, and prioritize the safety and well-being of yourself and those around you.
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About the author
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Bernie’s latest e-book, FRUGAL DIY has just been released on Amazon. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.