Home First Aid Kit Essentials
Whether it’s a papercut or a bee sting, minor medical emergencies happen at home every day. More often than not, they don’t really require a trip to the doctor or ER. But in order to avoid these unnecessary trips, you do have to have a few basic tools at home in case illness or injury strike. So put together a simple first aid kit before you actually need it. Here are the standard items it should contain, as well as some extras for major emergency situations, like power outages.
A box of band-aids. Gauze pads of assorted sizes. Elastic wraps for wrists and ankles. These are just a few of the dressings and bandages that should be in your first aid kit. The Red Cross also recommends you include two 5 x 9-inch absorbent compress bandages, two roller bandages (one 3-inch and one 4-inch), two triangular bandages, and one roll of adhesive cloth tape. The main goal here is simply to have a diverse array of bandages and wraps at your fingertips to suit any wound, no matter how small or large—even if it requires a follow-up trip to the ER.
Tweezers and other tools.
Once you have your assortment of bandages in place, gather the tools you need to apply them and take care of other minor cuts and scrapes. Your toolkit should include tweezers for removing splinters or shards of glass, scissors for cutting bandages to size, a thermometer (non-mercury, and preferably plastic), an instant ice pack, a pair of gloves, and some hand sanitizer. You also might want to include a breath barrier in case you have to administer CPR, a blanket if there’s space, and a basic first aid manual that teaches simple treatment approaches, like how to dress a small wound.
You never know what you’ll come up against on a given day, so be ready with an arsenal of mild OTC medications. Include as least one pain reliever and fever reducer, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen, as well as an antihistamine, decongestant, and medications to calm GI distress (including antacids and laxatives). Also add an antiseptic solution like hydrogen peroxide to your kit, as well as Neosporin, a saline eye wash, Calamine lotion, and an itch-fighting hydrocortisone cream. You should always keep your prescription medications somewhere safe and accessible, so they probably don’t belong in the first aid kit, but make sure you know precisely where they are in case of an emergency.
Do you know the phone number for your local poison control center off the top of your head? How about your doctor or local urgent care office? Write these down and stow them in your first aid kit, along with medical history and medical consent info for each member of your household. To be ready for any type of emergency, include a flashlight with extra batteries, matches and candles, and anything else you think might be useful when the power goes out or you get snowed in.
First-aid kits: Stock supplies that can save lives [Mayo Clinic]
First Aid Kit Essentials [familydoctor.org]
Anatomy of a First Aid Kit [American Red Cross]