What to Keep in Your First Aid Kit
Sometimes it’s just not feasible to call the doctor for a small wound or a light illness. Often we can handle minor medical situations without the need for medical intervention. Treating the condition may be as simple as applying a bandage or taking an aspirin. That’s why everyone should have a first aid kit at home for personal and family members’ use. It isn’t a bad idea to keep another one in the car and one at the worksite, unless the company maintains its own on the premises.
One of the first things to add to your first aid kit is a layperson’s medical manual. Get one that is up to date and easy to read and understand. You might even ask your doctor to recommend a useful manual that he or she respects. Look it over before stocking it to be sure you know how to find a remedy for specific situations.
Another important item is bandages, wipes, and a washcloth for cleaning wounds. Keep an assortment of varied bandage sizes and shapes, using latex-free products if possible to prevent a possible reaction. Alcohol, antibacterial, or simple moist wipes make handy helpers for quickly cleaning an affected area. An elastic bandage for sprains, paper tape, and sterile gauze pads will round out your preparations for dressing an injury. To this part of the kit you will want to add antibacterial ointment, cotton swabs, and possibly tweezers or manicure scissors in the event of a splinter or torn fingernail. Plastic gloves and hydrocortisone cream would be a good idea, as well.
For pain management, get sample or individual doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen products, along with individual containers of juice or water to take with the medication or to treat dehydration. A disposable ice pack likewise is a good idea. Other medications might include an antihistamine to ward off allergic or sensitivity symptoms; epinephrine for a serious reaction, and activated charcoal for suspected or actual poisoning. Anti-diarrhea, anti-constipation, and antacid medicines could come in handy, too. Don’t forget about special needs, such as medication for asthma, diabetes, or other chronic conditions.
A thermometer, flashlight, and lighter may prove indispensable in case of an accident or during nighttime travel. Keep a blanket handy for the person who takes a chill or goes into shock. If there’s room, a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope are welcome additions, especially for someone at home or on the job with known or suspected health problems that should be monitored with this equipment.
You may think of other items that will come in handy for your family members or co-workers. Keep the kit out of the reach or children or pets. Check it every few months to make sure each piece of equipment is functional and to replace used or expired items. Although a medicine kit may not seem very important right now, you or someone else will be glad you took time to stock one and keep it on hand if the occasion should arise when one is needed.
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