With a well-stocked first aid kit, you’ll be prepared for every emergency. This is something you must keep almost everywhere — in your house, in your car, in your garage. Have one in your backpack as well, especially if you are someone who enjoys the outdoors and frequently goes camping and hiking.
Not only do you need to have a stash of first aid kits in various locations (just in case), they also need to have a wide array of items. These range from things to handle simple cuts and scrapes to those that can save your life. Here’s a list of 8 must-haves for any first-aid kit:
Bandages range in size from small to large, although this category also includes things like gauze and medical tape. In order to be properly prepared, your first aid kit needs to have a large stash of simple band-aids in just about every size available. You should also place some blister relief bandages in your kit, as well as some gauze pads, rolls of gauze, and the aforementioned medical tape. No matter the size of the scrape or cut, you’ll be able to cover it properly.
2) Wound cleaning packets and antibacterial agents
At some point, you might have to clean a wound. You won’t always have soap and water on hand, so you’ll need to have the right things in your kit to wash any open wounds. Some items to include in this category are single-use packets of alcohol wipes and wound wash. There are also wipes that are saturated with an antibacterial agent that do a bit more than just clean the wound – they disinfect it as well. Including a tube of Neosporin or Bacitracin in your kit is also a good idea. All of these items don’t take up much space, so feel free to include several varieties in your first aid kit.
3) Additional supplies
On top of things like bandages and wound cleaning agents, your first aid kit also needs additional supplies. These include medical scissors (for cutting tape and removing fabric from around a wound), tweezers, a breathing barrier, and even medical gloves. In addition, a thermometer, a cold compress, absorbent towels, some safety pins, and a bottle of water round out this list of supplies; you never know what you’ll need, so it’s better to have these things in your kit than to need them and not have them.
4) An eye bath or eye wash kit
Both of these items are designed to clean your eyes should something end up in them. The eye wash is usually in a squeeze bottle. It’s opened over an injured eye in order to flush out any contaminants. You should also have an eye bandage or dressing in your kit for the next step –protection after the eye is cleaned.
5) Allergy medications
If you have a known allergy to bee stings, it makes sense to have an EpiPen stashed in every one of your first aid kits. Even if you don’t have this type of severe allergy, you should be prepared with medications for other common allergy conditions. These include Benadryl or another type of antihistamine allergy pill, like Chlor-Trimeton, as well as an anti-itch ointment. Also, anti-itch wipes are good to have on hand, just in case, the ointment doesn’t do the trick.
6) Items for extreme emergencies
File this one in the “just in case” bin. If you’re out in the woods (or in the garage) and need urgent medical attention, then it’s good to have a tourniquet and several other items on hand. A collapsible crutch is useful should you accidentally break your leg or sprain your ankle. Medical wraps for joints and limbs — not the kind that staunch blood flow, but instead the kind that is stretchy and supports sprains or holds splints in place, are good to have. Speaking of splints, your first aid kit should have at least one.
On top of everything else, your first-aid kit needs to have some general medications. These include over the counter painkillers, like acetaminophen and aspirin. A rash cream is also a good idea to have, just in case you brush up against some poison ivy or even up with heat rash. A cough medicine rounds out this category.
8) A first aid booklet
None of the items listed above (except for the obvious ones, like the band-aids) will be of much use if you don’t know how to use them. A good first aid booklet contains instructions on how and when to use an eye wash, how a tourniquet works, and even how to temporarily splint a broken bone. These booklets sometimes come in first aid kits, if you purchase the ready-made kind. Otherwise, you can easily get your hands on one.