Take a second to think about your medicine cabinet at home. Other than a general sense that you need a trip to the home organization store, most of us don’t have a great sense of what we actually have on hand in the way of medical supplies. Bandaids, antibacterial cream, and the remainders of the cold medicine from that time you were sick last winter generally clutter the cabinet underneath half-full bottles of nail polish remover and cough syrup. Given just a little bit of time, however, every family can and should establish a well-stocked first aid kit.
The purpose of a first aid kit is to provide the supplies necessary to treat minor scrapes, cuts, burns, bites, and other injuries. Anything severe should always be seen and treated by a medical professional. You certainly don’t want to be driving to the local drug store if you have nicked your thumb slicing carrots for dinner and have bloodied your hand.
The first category of first aid supplies you should have on hand are cleaning supplies. To prevent infection, cuts and scrapes should always be cleaned thoroughly before any other treatment is pursued. You should flush the wound with cold water first to clear away any blood, dirt, or other contaminants. Next, you should use an antibacterial wipe to make sure the wound and the skin around it is disinfected. These wipes should be in individually-wrapped packages to ensure that they stay clean.
The next item on your list should be antiseptics. There are a wide variety of brands available, usually as a spray or a cream. These are typically applied to the wound after cleaning and further protect the area from infection. Many formulas often contain components that help prevent scarring as well.
Bandages are the one item that most people tend to have on hand, because they are used the most often, especially if you have children in the home. It’s a good idea to have a variety of bandages available for different kinds of injuries. Adhesive bandages that are extra-durable are great for cuts on your hands, and brightly-colored bandages are great to dry the tears of a little one with a scrape. Keep some cloth bandages on hand as well for more serious wounds that need coverage along with treatment by a doctor.
Treatment for insect bites, splints, and eye care products are some of the specialty items that you may not find yourself using very often, but you still want to have on hand. After all, emergencies don’t happen often but it’s important to be prepared for them.
First aid kits are often sold fully assembled, or you can create your own, maybe adding in a few extras of the products you think you use a lot. For example, if you have a family member with a serious allergy, you absolutely want to have an EPIpen on hand for emergencies. Keep everything together in a central location. Make sure everyone in the home knows where it is. You may not be home when it is needed, or you may be the one needed first aid!
This is a great project to help get children involved with. It can be educational, as they learn the purposes of the different first aid items. Just make sure that the kit, especially any pills or liquid medications, are kept well away from the reach of small children.
*The information contained in this blog is NOT to be considered professional medical advice.