First Aid Kit: DIY 101 for You

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is very useful during emergencies, accidents, and injuries. Having the necessary medical supplies to help you in case of an accident is important, and a first aid kit should be designed to contain materials for any challenge you’re likely to encounter. First Aid and CPR courses online can help you with the necessary knowledge required to build a kit and how to perform first aid. Creating your first aid kit has several advantages — it is less expensive, easier to identify and replace the expiration date of your kit’s equipment, and tailor to your or your family’s needs. It also allows you to have materials ready for the types of emergencies you are most likely to encounter.

Ideally, you should have a first aid kit in your home and one per car, as well as a small travel-sized kit for any kind of camping or other recreational activities that happen away from the home. When building your kit you should consider your and your family’s specific needs as well as any needs that may be specific to injuries related to certain hobbies, like pliers for removing fish hooks or glucose for diabetics.

Some common items to consider adding

Bandages

Bandages are very important in cases of injuries. Your bandage package may include absorbent compresses, sterile gauze cloths, adhesive bandages, rolled bandages, and triangular bandages. To help your bandage stick better, you may need to add a liquid bandage or benzoin. Be certain to have sterilized single-use eye dressings to help minimize eye injuries. You should also consider having some wound closure implements like butterfly closures to be used in conjunction with gauze in case of deeper cuts.

Sterilizers and Antiseptics

When attending to an injury, you should make sure that the wound is cleaned as well as your hands. You may decide to use triple-antibiotic cream or antiseptic wipe packs for this purpose, saline solution is an excellent choice for wound irrigation . Non Latex gloves and hand sanitizers should be always used when handling open wounds. Distilled water should always be present to aid in the cleaning of wounds.

Pain Relievers

Pain relievers are essential for symptom relief, and needs should be considered based on where you’ll take the kit and who will use it. Symptom relieving drugs  like cough medicine, aspirin, antihistamine tablets, ibuprofen, and nasal decongestant are commonly included in home first aid kits. You should also insure your first aid kit contains a burn ointment for minor burns, hydrocortisone ointment which deals with skin irritation and rashes, and antibiotic ointment as mentioned above. A pain-relieving spray is also an important pain reliever that should be present in the kit.

Tools

The tools needed in the first aid kit are tweezers, cotton balls, safety pins, cloth or medical tape, and space blankets if the kit will be used for traveling. You should also include a digital thermometer, plastic bags for sanitary disposal of soiled wound care items, and an instruction booklet to help reference as needed. It can be very helpful to include things like a magnifying glass and small flashlight to aid in treating very small wounds, and scissors to cut gauze or bandages to size or to cut away clothing in an emergency. 

Consider Your Family’s Medications

It is important to consider the type of medicines that your family regularly uses. If for example one of your family members has frequent heartburn or hypoglycemia, you should include those items used for the treatment of these conditions. Having over the counter medications easily accessible while traveling can reduce stress and increase enjoyment and piece of mind on your trip, while having the medication you need on hand before trouble strikes makes home feel all the more peaceful and secure.

Number of First Aid Kits You Need to Have

As mentioned above, it’s recommended to have a minimum of one first aid kit in your home and one for each vehicle you own. In addition to those basic requirements, its good planning to have kits available for camping and other away from home recreational activities. When building your kits you should ask yourself not only how many kits you should have but how much of what supplies? Consider your needs, do you have a medical history requiring emergency medication, and do you have enough? Do you need more supplies for children who often get minor scrapes?

Where to Place the Kit?

First aid kits at home should be placed in an accessible area but far away from the reach of children. You should ensure that older children, regular guests, and adults are aware of where to find the kit in case of an emergency.

Always check your first aid kit regularly to ensure that the medicines available are not expired to prevent further complications during treatment. Make sure to wash all the equipment used and sterilize them to prevent infections.

It is important to be prepared for emergency situations by being equipped with a first aid kit and getting trained in CPR and/or First Aid. To get certified, check out American CPR Care Association where you can choose from blended or online courses. For more information on creating an emergency kit visit Ready.gov.

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