Essential Items to Put in Your First-aid Kit

First Aid Kit Essentials

In preparation for emergencies or even natural disasters, a well-stocked first aid kit should be kept within easy reach for every household, both inside the home and in your vehicle. A first aid kit is defined as a box, bag, or pack that holds supplies used in treating minor injuries. Meanwhile, an advanced first aid kit can include survival equipment, life-saving emergency supplies, and convenience items, such as cold & flu medicine or bug sting wipes.

What is First-aid?

First aid refers to medical attention administered immediately after an injury occurs at the location where it occurred. This usually consists of a one-time and short-term treatment that requires minimal training and technology. It can include cleaning minor cuts or scratches, minor burn treatments, application of bandages and dressings, non-prescription medicine, draining blisters, removing debris, massage, and drinking fluids to relieve pain or stress.

Essential Items to Put in Your First-aid Kit

Having the right supplies ahead of time will be at your advantage when an emergency suddenly arises. You can buy a basic first aid kit at your local drugstore or make one of your own. Try to be resourceful when it comes to the container but make sure that it has enough room, easy to carry, sturdy, and simple to open. For instance, tackle boxes, often used for art supplies storage, is an ideal option since they are handy, lightweight, spacious, and has separate sections.

Whether you buy or build one yourself, here are some items you should keep in mind for your home’s first aid kit:

  • Adhesive tape, adhesive/elastic bandages – To cover, keep dressings in place, and protect cuts or wounds.
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes – To soothe and clean wounds and cuts prior to dressing, helping to prevent infection.
  • Alcohol swabs – To clean and disinfect skin to prevent infections caused by bacteria.
  • Antiseptic cream or solution – To clean and prevent infection by killing germs promptly in minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.
  • Burn ointment – To prevent infection and provides temporary relief of pain and itching associated with minor burns.
  • Cotton balls – To wash and clean wounds or apply creams and ointments to minor injuries.
  • Crêpe rolled bandages – They are commonly made of cotton that is woven and elasticated to support the healing of sprains/strains by providing good compression.
  • Disposable latex gloves – To reduce the risk of infection and cross-contamination.
  • Distilled water – To clean wounds.
  • Eye wash solution – To irrigate the eye and for general wound washing applications.
  • Plasters/adhesive dressings – To cover light cuts, abrasions, and lightly bleeding wounds.
  • Safety pins – To secure a wrap or bandage applied to a wound.
  • Scissors & tweezers – To cut gauze and bandages and remove foreign materials.
  • Sodium chloride – To clean wounds, general irrigation, and rinse or soak surgical dressings and instruments.
  • Sterile dressings/gauze – To dress and clean wounds.
  • Triangular bandage – To support an injured arm as a sling or as a pad to control bleeding.

A first aid manual or instruction booklet could also be useful to keep in your kit. The contents of your kit will also vary depending on the needs of the people in your home. Pharmacists can also assist you in selecting the right supplies you should add. You may also wish to include the following supplies and medication for common ailments.

  • Activated charcoal – For diarrhea and emergency treatment of poisoning.
  • Antiseptic handwash – To wash hands
  • Antihistamine cream or tablets – To provide comfort and relief from upper respiratory allergy and common cold symptoms.
  • Hot/cold pack – To increase blood flow, help restore movement, and reduce joint stiffness and pain for muscle aches and sprains.
  • Insect bite creams or spray (e.g. calamine lotion, baking soda paste) – To help reduce pain and swelling to the area of the bite or sting.
  • Medicated oil – To relieve minor muscle and joint pains, nasal congestion, and dizziness byspeeding up the healing.
  • Oral rehydration salts – To prevent dehydration due to diarrhea.
  • Painkillers (e.g. paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen) – This includes over-the-counter pain relievers that can also ease swelling and discomfort.
  • Skin rash cream (e.g. hydrocortisone or calendula) – To relieve redness, swelling, itching of skin rashes, and irritations.
  • Thermometer (preferably digital) – To monitor a patient’s temperature.

You can also get hold of supplies for getting through national calamities, such as power outages, typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Here is a supply list you might need:

  • Emergency/Space Blankets – Having a blanket on hand can provide warmth and helps trap body heat in case you lose power in colder months.
  • Emergency Contacts – Even if you can store numbers on your phone, you might not have the number for your local police department or fire station. You might also want to take note of the numbers of your family healthcare provider and other local emergency services.
  • Flashlight – When you lose power at night, an LED flashlight and extra batteries will help you locate around your house.
  • Power Bank – Your mobile phone and a fully charged portable charger are essential in checking the news, contacting friends and family, and getting in touch with emergency services if necessary.
  • Radio – Power outages are usually the scenario during severe typhoons, especially in the Philippines. It is important to stay tuned to local news for updates and alerts through a battery-powered AM/FM radio. 
  • Water and Non-Perishable Food Items – Easy to prepare meals and bottled water would be beneficial for emergency situations without electricity.

Read Also: 10 Tips to Prepare for Strong Typhoons

After you have stocked up your kits to the brim, read the first aid manual to understand what items are in your kit and check them from time to time to see if it is up to date. If applicable, you can also prepare children for medical emergencies in an age-appropriate way. Babysitters and caregivers should also know where the kit is and how to properly use it.

To be extra careful, your first aid kit should be kept in a cool, dry place out of reach of children but where adults can grab them easily. Make sure that you check medicines regularly if they are still within their use-by dates. Replace missing items, remove expired supplies, and check if your flashlight is working. For traveling, pack the kit in your checked luggage if not permitted in carry-on bags. When possible, it is always best to seek medical attention for serious injuries.

Check out Bria Homes official website and Facebook page for more informative contents.

Written by Gianne D. Inumerable