Every Home Needs A First Aid Kit.
When your aim is to level up your home’s emergency preparedness, a well-stocked first aid kit is a must. In this article, we’ll cover ten of the essential items you need in your home’s first aid kit. These might not be the only items to put in your first aid kit, but they’re some of the most important, without a doubt.
Gauze has a variety of purposes for dressing wounds. Gauze can be highly absorbent, helping to soak up blood from injuries and to stop further bleeding. In situations where someone has a more serious injury, and you need to keep them from losing blood until further medical help can be obtained, gauze is a must. In addition, gauze is sterile, meaning it can prevent a wound from getting infected.
Gauze patches come in multiple sizes for use in the treatment of different wounds. Before you dress a wound with gauze, make sure to always wash your hands or, if water is not available, use hand sanitizer. Then, disinfect the wound using an antiseptic wipe if possible. Next, wrap the wound in gauze, using medical tape to keep the gauze held in place. Using gauze can help to minimize bleeding and can be a lifesaver in emergencies. However, if someone gets seriously injured, dressing a wound with gauze may need to only be a temporary fix until professional medical help can be sought.
2. Antibiotic Ointment
Antibiotic ointment is extremely helpful in the treatment of cuts and other open wounds. This topical solution helps to prevent wounds from getting infected. If you’re treating a smaller cut, add a small amount of antibiotic ointment to the affected area before dressing the wound with a bandage.
Keeping band-aid style bandages in your first aid kit is a must for covering smaller injuries. Gauze is more fitting for larger wounds, but if someone gets a cut on a finger or a scrape on a knee, band-aids are a huge help.
To apply a band-aid to a cut, make sure you first clean your hands using soap and water or hand sanitizer. Disinfect the wound with an antiseptic solution and apply antibiotic ointment if possible. Next, gently affix the band-aid to the cut, covering the cut with the soft patch in the center of the band-aid. Press the adhesive sections of the band-aid gently into the surrounding skin and make sure it is stuck tight. After you’ve applied the band-aid, leave it alone and give your cut time to heal before taking it off.
4. Non-Prescription Painkillers
Ibuprofen, aspirin and similar medicines are important resources to store in your home’s first aid kit. These medicines can reduce fevers, bring down swelling, help with headaches, and reduce pain from injuries. If someone has been injured, giving them non-prescription painkillers can help with their recovery.
Some of the best options for over-the-counter painkillers are Motrin, ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, and Aleve and Tylenol. These medications all have similar functions, but some individuals might have allergic reactions to one and not to the other. Before giving someone an over-the-counter painkiller, make sure you know for absolute certain that they are not allergic to that specific medication.
5. Antiseptic Wipes
Antiseptic wipes are useful for cleaning up wounds before dressing them. These wipes usually contain rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, which help prevent wounds from getting infected.
Before treating a cut, it’s a good idea to dab it with an antiseptic wipe to sterilize it. If you don’t have antiseptic wipes, rubbing alcohol and cotton balls can serve the same function. Sterilizing a cut or other wound can hurt, but the disinfecting agent is working to sterilize the wound, so it’s well worth the discomfort.
6. Calamine Lotion Or Anti-Itch Cream
When someone gets a bug bite, poison ivy, or ends up in another uncomfortable, itchy situation, calamine lotion and anti-itch cream can help immensely. Calamine lotion is especially helpful in the treatment of poison ivy, while hydrocortisone-based anti-itch cream is an ideal option for reducing itches from bug bites.
If someone gets a serious bite or has a severe reaction to poison ivy, topical solutions might not be enough. In some situations, getting professional medical help for bits and persistent itches is necessary. If a bug bite has caused a rapidly spreading rash or if someone’s reaction to poison ivy appears to be violent, it is best to seek medical help if possible rather than attempting to treat the itchy issue yourself.
A multi-tool might not be found directly inside of your first aid kit, but it’s a must-have utility to keep handy when treating injuries. With numerous built-in tools rolled into one, your multi-tool can be used to cut segments of gauze, pull out splinters and other harmful debris with its tweezers, and more. Keep a multi-tool in your emergency preparedness kit so you can easily access it when you need it for first aid purposes.
If someone is experiencing a mild allergic reaction or dealing with seasonal allergies, antihistamines are a huge help. Keeping oral allergy medication like Benadryl in your first aid kit keeps you prepared for addressing minor allergic reactions, but you’ll need a more heavy-duty allergy remedy for more serious reactions. If a member of your household has serious allergies, make sure to keep an emergency epinephrine pen in your first aid kit.
9. Hand Sanitizer
Before treating a wound, you always want to make sure that your hands are clean. Hand sanitizer is often more reliable than soap and water, since you may not always have access to running water when someone gets injured. Dirty hands can end up exacerbating an injury and increasing the risk of infection. This is something you definitely want to avoid, so always make sure to clean your hands before treating a wound.
In case you forget how to use a certain item in your first aid kit, or if someone else needs to use it, it’s important to keep detailed instructions for each item in the kit. Your instructions should outline the uses for each item in the kit and a step-by-step guide for use.
If you have kids in your household, it’s a good idea to walk them through how to use each item in the first aid kit, demonstrating the use of the items and routinely running through practice scenarios. Every member of your family should know how to use the items in the first aid kit so that everyone can properly respond to medical emergencies when the others are unavailable or in need.
On top of the items listed above, there are many more components of a first aid kit that you’ll want to consider stocking in yours. If anyone in your family has a medical condition or even if you got hurt during hiking that requires specific attention, your at-home first aid kit should contain everything you need to take care of that family member. For example, if someone in your family has diabetes, keep a spare package of glucose tablets in your kit. If a family member has asthma, stash an extra inhaler. Your first aid kit can be custom-built to specifically fit the needs of your family. After you have the universal essentials such as the items on this list, take stock of any medical conditions present in your family that might need special attention.
If you have additional questions, send them our way!