Here is an article I wrote for FAWCO on how to put together.
Note: Adrianne is not a medical professional; these are ideas for you to consider in researching and putting together your own kit. The American Red Cross has a useful list.
Not all medical needs are big emergencies. Having your own first aid kit at home can keep you prepared to treat cuts, stings, scrapes and bites as well as bigger emergencies. Please note that no matter what size your first aid kit is, there may still be situations that require professional medical assistance.
You have probably seen a first aid kit at some point in your life. Did you know that Robert Wood Johnson of Johnson & Johnson fame is credited with inventing the first aid kit? Johnson boarded a Colorado-bound Denver & Rio Grande Railway train for a vacation in 1888 and learned during a conversation with the chief surgeon for the railroad how difficult it was to get injured workers to a doctor quickly. This gave Johnson the idea to pack essential items, such as bandages, gauze and dressings, in protective metal boxes that the railroad company could store close to where injuries occurred (Source).
If you don’t have a first aid kit at home, consider putting one together yourself. Here are some ideas you can adapt to your family size and needs. If you can’t purchase one online, look around to see what you have on hand and substitute where possible. Here is a guide to using a first aid kit.
- Bandages and dressings – a few adhesive bandages and gauze dressings to cover wounds
(substitute: Scotch tape, tissue or an old t-shirt, sock, etc.
and optional antiseptic cream)
- Antibiotic cream – check the expiration date
(substitute: non-antibiotic cream: white petrolatum)
- Scissors to cut dressings, clothing, etc.
- Needle-nose tweezers to pull out splinters, ticks, glass, etc.
- Gloves to protect yourself from blood and other body fluids
- First aid manual – The manual will help you know how to treat wounds, sprains, bites and other common health issues. The guide should be studied before a crisis arises, and everyone with access to the kit should know the basics of first aid.
- Tweezers (see above)
- Alcohol swabs – Alcohol swabs are used to clean the infected or wounded area before antibiotic ointment or bandages are placed on the area. Alcohol swabs may also be used in conjunction with anesthetic swabs and can be used to sterilize tweezers if needed.
(Substitute: hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar)
- Antibiotic ointment (see above)
- Bandages (see above)
- Gauze pads – Adhesive bandages aren’t always large enough to cover a wound, which is why it’s crucial to have gauze pads in a first aid kit.
(Substitute: panty liners)
- Medical tape – Medical tape is used to secure gauze pads or wraps when they are being used as a bandage.
- Elastic bandages – Elastic bandages help keep a sprained joint immobile and reduce swelling.
(Substitute: t-shirt strips)
- Pain relievers – Aspirin-based and non-aspirin pain relievers should be included in the kit at all times.
- Instant cold pack – Can be used to prevent swelling.
(Substitute: frozen towel, frozen wet sponge, frozen bag of peas)
Our first aid kit is in a huge storage box and stored in the upstairs bathroom. Where will you keep yours? There is little doubt that empowerment through education will ease some of the stress that comes along with social isolation and staying indoors all day with loved ones who usually have outside activities. Remember you can use this time for the family to learn and prepare for medical emergencies that could arise at any time.
Stay safe and healthy!
Heart2Heart CPR – First Aid 4 Real (YouTube channel)