A First aid kit available at an arm’s reach during any emergency faced at home, office, travel and just about anywhere can be truly a comforting as well as potentially lifesaving fact. Almost all emergency situations dealt in first aid training; ranging from a simple cut, bruise or a burn to a major injury resulting in shock and perhaps cardiac arrest, require some form of basic equipment or medications for the effective delivery of first aid maneuvers/management to the patient.
Though there are vast varieties of first aid kits available at the market, all of those may not be ideally equipped to cater the needs frequently arise in the setting which you belong. For an example, places where there are children around needs more equipment to attend minor injuries, while there may be places where atopic individuals live, therefore requiring more anti-allergic medication. For this reason, as a competent first aid care provider, it is mandatory to have a personal first aid kit to address common emergencies faced regularly. Also it is a must in a house with children and must be carried with whenever going to stay away from house (e.g. vacation).
Here are some tips to make an ideal first aid kit;
1. To store first aid items, choose a plastic, roomy, lightweight, easy to carry and easy to open container. Choosing a one that has partitioned interior would be ideal as different classes of items can be stored in ordered fashion. Otherwise one may have to empty the whole container to find the needed item in the jumble, consuming valuable time in an emergency.
2. Add the following items and their quantities according to your requirements as stated above.
• A copy of first aid manual: to refer about various scenarios whenever necessary.
• Anti-septic solution – (hydrogen peroxide or ethyl alcohol)
• Sterile gauze pads of different sizes.
• A pack of sterile cotton wool.
• Adhesive tapes. (You may need anti-allergenic type for sensitive individuals).
• Elastic bandage.
• Sharp scissors.
• Tweezers (blunt and sharp ended).
• A splint for fractures.
• Antibiotic ointment.
• Acetaminophen and ibuprofen tablets (for adults) or syrup (for children).
• Hydrocortisone cream (1%).
• Safety pins.
• Disposable instant cold packs.
• Few pairs of disposable gloves.
• A pack of glucose.
• Few sachets of oral rehydration solution.
• Flashlight with extra batteries.
• List of emergency phone numbers.
• Other important medications as needed (e.g. epinephrine injector – if prescribed, diphenhydramine, antacids etc.)
• A small notebook and a pen to keep records if necessary.
• A mouthpiece for administering mouth to mouth breathing.
• Analgesic gel/ointment tube.
• Blanket (stored nearby).
3. Store the first aid box in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Keep all medicine out of children’s reach.
4. Read the first-aid manual and clarify any questions from qualified personnel.
5. Practice the procedures during first aid training. (e.g. wound cleaning, wound dressing, splinting etc.)
6. Add additional items as new requirements arise.
7. Update the contents regularly. Check the expiration dates of medications, antiseptics and sterile cotton/gauze; replace with new items as soon as possible when existing items nearing their expiration.
8. Check the status of the batteries and replace as necessary.
9. Educate and prepare other family members and older children for first aid.