first aid kit

Building a First Aid Kit

One of the most important things to keep in your home is an emergency first aid kit. Whether you live in an apartment or a single-family home, have small children or no children, live alone or have a large family, there is always a need for an emergency kit. The question remains, what do I need in my emergency first aid kit? For the most part, the answer is simple. However, there are some circumstances that may require you to have additional first aid supplies. Following these guidelines will ensure you have all things essential in an emergency kit.

Essential Emergency First Aid Kit Supplies

Medical supplies. There are a number of medical supplies to include, such as various sized bandages, a roll of gauze, alcohol wipes and hydrogen peroxide.

Essential medicines. Keeping oral medicines including pain medicine (such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen), stomach medicine (such as Tums or Pepto Bismol), cold medicine and allergy medicine (such as Benadryl) on hand will make it easier to address a variety of needs. Also keep topical medicines and creams such as aloe vera, hydrocortisone, antibiotic ointment and rash ointment to address other first aid and skin needs. 

Cleaning and sanitation supplies. These supplies include non-sterile latex gloves, paper towels, hand sanitizer, disposable bags and non-medical grade disposable masks.

Optional Items to Consider Including in Your First Aid Kit

Emergency medications. If you or someone in your household needs on-hand emergency medications such as an inhaler, EpiPen or insulin shot, be sure to include that in your first aid kit.

Braces and slings. These are considered optional, but may be suitable for you or your family. Having a variety of braces and slings to help heal minor injuries could save you a trip to the drug store or doctor. It’s important to note that not all injuries can be healed with a brace or sling. If you or someone in your household have suffered from a fall (or like incident) be sure to consult with your doctor as you may need further medical examination. 

Food and water. Depending on how complete you want your emergency first aid to be, you may want to consider having water bottles and snacks included. Water can be essential for your kit in a number of ways including to help with dehydration, washing your hands or even to rinse wounds. Snacks such as granola bars and nuts are always good to have on hand, especially if you or someone in your house is diabetic and may need help in managing their sugar levels. 

Keep your emergency kit in an easily accessible and well-known location. Make sure everyone living in your home (and those who spend a lot of time in your home, such as babysitters, nannies, parents and grandparents) know where the emergency first aid kit is located. 

Emergency kits are there for emergencies and thus may not also be used on a regular basis. Be sure to update your kit frequently by replacing any perishable food items, expired medication, and other items. 

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