Some First Aid on First Aid Kits

Parents have been asking for my aid – I guess you would say “First” aid – in regard to what they should keep in a first aid kit. Let me bandage up those concerns and provide some answers on this topic.
Each year, emergency departments see more than nine million minor injuries. Many of these can be handled at home with a first aid kit. So what goes into one of these kits?

Any first aid kit should have various sizes of bandages, adhesive tape, sterile gauze, a cold pack, alcohol-based wipes or hand rubs, soap and a pair of latex-free rubber gloves. A family will also want to have ibuprofen, acetaminophen, an antihistamine and hydrocortisone ointment for insect bites or itchy skin reactions – and perhaps some calamine lotion for drying up poison ivy.

An EpiPen contains adrenaline is essential for those who are predisposed to have a severe allergic reaction to particular foods or to insects. It can reduce the severity of allergic symptoms while emergency help is being called. Also, a thermometer, scissors, tweezers and a flashlight can be helpful.

There should be a list of emergency numbers inside or near the kit, including police, fire department and health care providers for all family members. It’s also a great idea to keep immunization records nearby, as well as a mini health history for the family, summarizing key medical problems. A CPR how-to guide is a good idea as well, though older children and adults should ideally be trained in CPR.

The kit should also contain health insurance information and information regarding prescription medications and who to call in case of an emergency.

Families should replace whatever they use in the kit and check it every few months for expired medications.

You can certainly find first aid kits available through the Red Cross or in some stores or you can talk to your health care provider and make the kit yourself.  For school age children, you may want to make a child-safe version that has no medications or sharp objects that can be easily accessed by children while they are also calling an adult for help. 

Hopefully tips like this will be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to putting a first aid kit together for your family.