Accidents and injuries occur without warning and they can occur anywhere, even in your own home. Especially if you have young children; injuries, cuts, bruises can be a common affair and being prepared for the same is essential. Having a first aid kit at home without essential first aid items can help you respond promptly and effectively to common injuries and emergencies that occur in the household. Having a first aid kit at home with essential first aid items ensures that you are able to help your family members at time of an emergency, before you receive professional help. One does not need any special certification to provide first aid. All you need to know is the things to have in a first aid kit and their uses. You can choose to either buy first aid kits from a medical store or you can assemble your own.
Following are the components of a first aid kit and their uses:
An antiseptic – An antiseptic is used to remove dirt or debris from an injury. Applying an antiseptic is very important to prevent an infection after a minor injury.
Adhesive bandage – Bandages can prove to be useful in various situations – whether it’s a shoe bite, a cut or a small injury. Using a bandage will make sure that your wound remains dry and that it does not rub against your clothes. It can also be useful to stock up bandages of different shapes and sizes like the square ones or round ones for areas that cannot be covered well with the big, rectangular bandage.
Gauze dressing – Gauze dressing is used on infected wounds or wounds which are draining or require packing. Gauze dressing can be used on all types of wounds and it’s a must have in your list of essential first aid items.
Crêpe bandages – Crêpe bandages are used when you have a sprain. The bandage supports strains and joints in muscles and it also provides moderate compression when you have swelling in the knee, ankle or in any other relevant injuries.
Safety pins – Safety pins are required if your crêpe bandage breaks. They are also useful in keeping the bandage in place.
Tweezers – Tweezers are used to remove debris such as glass, dirt, or splinters from a wound. You should avoid using a safety pin for the same and use tweezers instead.
Cotton balls and Swabs – Cotton balls and swabs are used to apply medicine on a wound, clean a wound, to apply ointment and to prep wound sites. Make sure to never reuse these and always throw them immediately after use since they have many germs.
Thermometer – A thermometer is a must have for when you have fever and it is one of the most important things to have in a first aid kit.
Antiseptic cream – This is for wounds that do not need a bandage. Applying antiseptic cream is important to ensure that the wound does not get infected.
Painkillers, Pain Reliever Spray – You should have both spray and appropriate medicine painkiller as a part of your essential first aid items. Spray can prove to be very useful in muscle pain, back pain and so on, and can make you feel better instantly.
Antihistamines – These are medicines that can help with symptoms of allergies such as hay fever, hives, conjunctivitis and incase of reactions to insect bites or stings. They can sometimes also be used to prevent motion sickness.
Paracetamol – Paracetamol is a known painkiller, but it can also be used to bring down the temperature when you have a fever. If you have children, you could also stock up on baby paracetamol.
Antacid – Antacid helps relieve indigestion and heartburn and it is a must have in the list of things to have in a first aid kit. You can stock up antacids in the form of tablets, syrup or sachets.
Eyewash or artificial tears – Having an eyewash as a part of the essential first aid items can help on a day when your eyes feel dry or gritty. If you’ve been sitting in front of the computer all day or if you have been in polluted air, an eye wash can help with cleaning your eyes and making you feel more at ease.
Gel for ulcers and toothache – A gel for ulcers and toothache can also come in very handy as part of a first aid kit.
Disposable latex gloves – Having two pairs of disposable latex gloves are useful when you need to clean a wound or dress it. It can help in preventing an infection and in avoiding contamination.
Oral rehydration salts – Having sachets of powdered oral rehydration salts is very important to prevent dehydration during diarrhea and it is a must have in your list of essential first aid items.
Calamine lotion – Incase you need to soothe insect bites & minor skin rashes, calamine lotion is the easiest and best remedy for the same.
Burn ointment – Incase of burns, you should apply burn ointment to prevent infection of burns.
Glucometer – If someone in your family has diabetes, this is a must have in your essential first aid items. A glucometer is a small, portable device that can be used to check your blood sugar levels at home. It’s simple to use and within seconds it can tell you if your blood sugar level is high, low or normal.
BP Machine – As the name suggests, the BP machine is again a portable device that you can have at your home to check your blood pressure regularly
Customizing Your First Aid Kit
Now that you know about the different components of the first aid kit and their uses, it is important to also know about how to customize your own first aid kit for you and your family based on your own personal needs, requirements and health conditions.
Here are some examples of how you can customize your first aid kit, over and above having the essential first aid items:
- Incase you have elderly members in the family and if they have fragile skin, you can include a roll of paper tape that can help in protecting delicate and soft skin.
- If a family member has diabetes, you can include a juice box, glucose tablets or emergency glucagon injection kit among the things to have in a first aid kit.
- If someone in the family has coronary artery disease, you can have baby aspirin as a part of essential first aid items.
Simply having a first aid kit isn’t enough. Everyone in your family, even the kids should be aware of where the first aid kit is placed in the house, so that one can find it easily incase of an emergency. In the first aid kit, you can also include notes or instructions for how to use the essential first aid items in the box. Knowing the components of first aid and their uses can help ensure that you are always prepared for minor injuries and accidents in your home.