When preparing your first aid kit, always bear in mind that it should be suitable for the family. Depending on the degree of injuries expected, you must also include wraps and splints for broken bones or sprains. It also puts some individuals in a standstill whether to include medications or not.
Should I include medications or not?
Most of us forget about medications when preparing a first aid kit, even though there are several drugs found in the medicine cabinet.
Remember that just because there are medications in the cabinet does not mean that they should also be included in the kit. Whether or not you want to include drugs in the kit depend on how they are going to be used.
Maintaining a first aid kit
Placing medications in a first aid kit requires maintenance. Take note that medications have expiration dates. If the drugs are not checked regularly and those that are expired are not replaced, there is a risk for a drug not to work properly if needed.
Always check the kit when replacing batteries on other devices. The ideal rule of thumb is to perform both when changing batteries at least 2 times in a year.
When stocking a kit or medicine cabinet, avoid adding combination drugs. Remember that if a drug is labeled to treat more than one symptom, it usually contains more than one active ingredient. Carefully read the labels and check for drugs that only contain a single active ingredient.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
These class of medications include aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. All these are available over-the-counter and can relieve pain and reduce fever. Just remember that these are known to trigger stomach upset in some individuals.
Ibuprofen is the safest to be given to all ages which works by relieving muscle pain and reduces fever. As for naproxen, it is strong on the stomach but a potent pain medication that lasts for up to 12 hours. As for aspirin, it thins out the blood and cause bleeding issues. It is not suitable for children due to its link to Reye’s syndrome.
This medication works by reducing fever and pain without minimizing the inflammation. It simply means that it does not actually help with the redness or swelling from an injury. Additionally, acetaminophen is known to be hard on the liver.
Lidocaine or benzocaine
The topical anesthetics such as lidocaine or benzocaine are directly applied on the skin surface or mucous membranes to provide a numbing effect as well as minimize the pain. They are useful as quick treatment for toothaches, minor scrapes and insect bites.
Diphenhydramine is a commonly used allergy medication that provides relief for all types of reactions. This must be included in a first aid kit. One side effect of this medication is drowsiness. Loratidine is an allergy medication that can be used by those who do not want to end up drowsy.
This is one of the latest nausea medications that is available over-the-counter. It is useful for non-medical causes of motion sickness.
When it comes to digestive issues, it is important to include diarrhea medications in your first aid kit. An active ingredient in most diarrhea medications in the market is loperamide.