Accidents and injuries are unpredictable. Every year, millions of visits to hospitals, urgent cares, and doctors’ offices are caused by unintentional injuries. However, unplanned minor injuries and accidents don’t always have to result in a trip to the doctor if you are properly prepared. In fact, having just a few medical essentials in a first aid kit at home can help prevent costly trips to medical offices.
First aid kits aren’t really given much thought anymore, but they still can be beneficial when injuries and accidents occur, and they could even end up saving a life! First aid kits can be found and purchased at many department stores as well as online. If you prefer, though, you can easily put together your own DIY first aid kit, personalizing it to you and your family’s needs. While what goes into your own first aid kit is entirely up to you, it is important to make sure you have the following necessary items so that you are prepared when an emergency or injury occurs.
Containers or Bags
A DIY first aid kit should start with a water-resistant bag or container to hold all the items. Get bags or containers that have multiple storage compartments so that your kit stays organized, allowing you to find what you need quickly. There are multiple options for storing first aid items, like pouches, backpacks, plastic containers — really whatever fits your lifestyle and preference.
Wraps and Bandages
When it comes to first aid kits, whether store-bought or DIY, an assortment of bandages and wraps are essential as they can help with minor burns, cuts, sprains, and more. Instead of spending money on a trip to the doctors for minor injuries, they can effectively be treated with the proper bandaging. Check out what types of bandages are necessary for your first aid kit and what injuries they treat:
Gauze wraps and pads can be used to treat medium to large cuts and scrapes. Gauze will help prevent further bleeding and the formation of scabs. It can also protect a wound from bacteria and dirt, making it heal faster and reducing the risk of infection.
Adhesive bandages come in an assortment of different shapes and sizes. They are perfect for dressing small injuries. An adhesive bandage will protect a cut or wound from any friction, contact, and bacteria.
Medical tape is commonly used by doctors, athletic trainers, and emergency medical technicians. Medical tape has many purposes, from holding bandages in place to supporting a sports injury by protecting vulnerable joints.
When it comes to scapes, wounds, and bites, the affected area should immediately be cleaned to protect against skin irritations and infections. Antiseptic products, like hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial soap, and an ointment for pain relief should be readily accessible so that your are prepared when an accident happens. Before treating a wound it should be cleaned using hydrogen peroxide. Once the wound is clean, applying pain relief ointment may help reduce the amount of pain experienced.
Having pain relievers can come in handy when someone is experiencing a headache or back pain and are a necessity for reducing pain that is caused by an injury or sickness. There are three common types of pain relievers that can be an asset for first aid kits.
Acetaminophen – An anti-inflammatory that is commonly used to treat symptoms like headache, muscle aches, toothaches, backaches, colds, and fevers
Ibuprofen – A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory that works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain throughout the body. It can be used to reduce fevers and treat pain related to arthritis, back pain, menstrual cramps, and minor injuries.
Aspirin – A salicylate that works by minimizing substances within the body that cause fever, pain, and inflammation. Aspirin can be used to reduce fevers and treat pain, as well as for preventing strokes, heart attacks, and chest pain.
Over the counter medicine
Like injuries, you can never predict when you will catch the flu, get food poisoning, get an upset stomach, or even have an allergic reaction. Because of this, it’s a great idea to keep over-the-counter medications that can help reduce certain symptoms that are being experienced. Keep antacid medicine in your DIY first aid kit so you can be prepared when indigestion, heartburn, or nausea strikes.
Medical Tools and Supplies
Although this is often overlooked, a first aid kit should have a few basic medical tools. Bandage shear scissors are essential for cutting bandages and gauze quickly and having a thermometer will be beneficial in monitoring temperature, which can be a deciding factor on whether or not professional medical help is needed. Instant cold compresses can be found in many stores, too, which provide fast pain relief.
Ointment and Cream
A well-prepared first aid kit should have several ointments and creams. Aloe vera gel is great for soothing and treating burns, even sunburn, as it moisturizes the skin and reduces itching. Petroleum jelly will help protect small cuts, burns, and scrapes and helps your skin heal faster. An anti-itch cream may also be beneficial as it reduces itching caused by bug bites while reducing inflammation caused by rashes.
Although it may not ever be needed, it’s always a good idea to keep emergency information in a first aid kit. This information can consist of phone numbers for doctors offices, hospitals, emergency family contacts, and more. If you or someone in your family takes medication, keeping a few doses in your kit could end up being life-saving. It is recommended that prescription drugs stay separated in their original containers so that you have access to all admissible information, like warnings, doses, and pharmacy contact information.
Once you have assembled your DIY first aid kit, it is important to maintain it, keeping it adequately supplied and updated. Having a first aid kit with essential items will have you prepared for when unplanned injuries and accidents happen, allowing you to immediately treat injuries.
Although having a first aid kit is a step in the right direction, nothing prepares you more for emergency situations and injuries like Links4Life. At Links4Life, we make first aid training and CPR certification quick and convenient for you. Our in-home courses are simple and straightforward and are led by a certified American Heart Association instructor with over 30 years of experience under his belt. Our certification classes require little to no waiting and are scheduled for your convenience. Whether you are renewing your certification or are interested in becoming first aid and CPR certified, check out our website or contact us!