First aid kits are a critical piece of equipment to have in the home, the car, at school, and in the workplace. These kits are important because they contain the necessary items to help treat minor ailments and reduce the gravity of major injuries or infections.
During a large-scale emergency or natural disaster, medical personnel and first responders may be overwhelmed and unable to attend to all the medical emergencies in a timely manner. Having a fully-stocked and updated first aid kit will not just give you peace of mind but it may become life-saving in times of crisis.
What should be in a home first aid kit?
This comprehensive list highlights items that may be essential in taking care of your loved ones when their health is compromised. Find the printable checklist at the end of the article.
- Adhesive bandages in varying sizes — if you’re allergic to latex, get latex-free
- Ace wrap
- Moleskin — for blisters
- Butterfly bandages
- Elastic bandages — either self-adhesive or with clips
- Triangular bandages
- Liquid bandage
- Israeli compression bandage
- Non-adhesive gauze pads — these are great for stopping the bleeding and covering wounds
- Surgical tape
- Super glue — rated for medical use
For cleaning and sanitation:
- Hand soap
- Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol)
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda — read about its multiple uses during emergency scenarios LINK TO ARTICLE
- Tea tree essential oil
- Antiseptic liquid and/or wipes
- Alcohol pads or disinfecting hand wipes
- Antibiotic gel/ ointment
- Anti-rash cream — such as calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream
- Aloe vera burn cream
- Antibacterial wipes or cream
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Eye wash liquid
- Eye drops
- Oral analgesic gel or clove oil
- Saline solution
- Petroleum jelly — such as Vaseline. Dip cotton balls in petroleum jelly to use as tinder.
- Snake bite kit
Over the counter medication and immune boosters:
- Pain relievers — these include but are not limited to Tylenol, Acetaminophen, Benadryl, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen
- Anti-allergy medication
- Antidiarrheal medication — such as loperamide
- Cold medication — Grape seed extract is a great natural option
- Cough suppressants — such as cough drops
- Decongestant — such as Vicks VapoRub (may be harmful for children under 2 years old)
- Activated charcoal pills
- Emergen-C packets
- Multivitamins and supplements — such as zinc, garlic pills, vitamins C, D, and E
- Potassium iodide tablets — if you live near a nuclear power plant
- Lip balm with SPF
- Bug repellent
- Instant hot/cold packs
- Baby powder — use for chaffing and foot care
- Salt packets — these are great for electrolytes and water retention
Tools and extras:
- Dental floss
- Duct tape
- Sewing kit that includes needles and thread
- Safety pins
- Trauma shears or scissors
- Medicine cup or spoon with measurements
- Nail clippers
- Large medical gloves — get latex-free if you’re allergic
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Small hand and face towel
- First-aid booklet or guide
- Download the First Aid app by the American Red Cross
- Personal over the counter medication
- Prescription medication, the dosage, and the doctor’s signed notes. Update these when new prescriptions are given.
- A list of any medical conditions and allergies.
- Copy of your medical insurance and the insurance’s contact information.
- Medical devices (if applicable)
- Backup batteries for medical devices (if applicable)
- Knowledge of how to use all of the items in your first aid kit and how to treat basic wounds. Check with your local fire department for first aid and CPR classes.
- List of all the contents which includes their expiration and rotation dates
- Kit container — you will need a container large enough to fit all the contents of your kit
Be sure to include any other items that you feel may be necessary even if they are not mentioned above.
Making your own first aid kit versus buying one: what’s better?
When it comes to purchasing a kit or making your own, the choice is yours. There are pros and cons to both.
The main benefit of making your own first aid kit is that you have control of what you put in it, especially if you prefer to use certain brands or products. If you purchase a kit, you don’t have the option to choose the brand of the items that are included nor the ability to customize its contents.
The main benefit of buying a first aid kit is that it’s easy and generally the cheaper option. Having to buy bandages, gauze pads, wipes, and all the other 60+ items in your kit can be overwhelming and expensive. Buying a pre-made kit solves that problem for you!
Most people find it convenient to buy a pre-fabricated first aid kit and personalize it by adding a few of their own items in order to meet their specific needs. Our 175-piece first aid kit is a great option as a basic kit to which you can freely customize by including any of the items listed above!
How often do first aid supplies need to be replaced?
Your first aid kit needs to be inspected periodically to ensure that all of its contents are in optimal condition on the day you need to use them. Go through your kit every six months and check for signs of deterioration. This includes, but is not limited to: items that have expired or are due to expire, a product that looks damaged, discolored or is opened, wet items that appear to be dry (such as wipes), dry items that appear to be wet (due to condensation), rust, and cracks.
When inspecting your first aid supplies, you should also make sure that your medical insurance information, primary doctor’s information, and health record is up to date.
A first aid kit makes a great addition to any bug out bag, bug in bag, get home bag, and vehicle emergency kit! We hope you’ll find it of great benefit. Lastly, as promised, click here to download the checklist. 🙂
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