Introduction – First-Aid Kit
Chances are you have a small first aid kit around somewhere. Perhaps you picked it up when you were in the pharmacy, thinking it would be handy to have around. But have you ever looked to see what’s inside that first-aid kit? If it’s like most pre-made kits, it really isn’t going to be much help for anything more serious than a scraped knee.
A good first-aid kit is a critical piece of equipment to have around for emergency situations. During any emergency, medical services are overwhelmed. Even if you can get to the hospital or can get an ambulance to your home, you may have to wait for hours to get the service you need.
Having a well-stocked first-aid kit can literally mean the difference between life and death; especially in a crisis situation where medical services are overwhelmed. The ability to take care of minor injuries in your own home is something every family needs.
- Assorted Adhesive Bandages. This is probably the most basic first-aid supply. Adhesive bandages are helpful for all types of minor cuts and scrapes. The fabric type are much better as they are more flexible and stick to your skin better. While more expensive, they are worth it.
- Large Bandages. Some injuries require more than a simple adhesive strip. If you are going to be prepared, then be prepared for large injuries as well, such as gunshot wounds or wounds caused by power tools. Sanitary napkins make excellent bandages for large wounds and can be less expensive than the big gauze pads.
- Blood Clotting Agent. People can bleed to death from serious injuries. A blood clotting agent, such as Celox, will help the wound to clot faster, reducing the total blood loss.
- Medical Tape. Most large bandages do not come with adhesive strips on them so they must be held in place with medical tape. There are many types of medical tape available, but the best are the cohesive bandages made of a stretchy material that sticks to itself. It’ multi-functional and causes no pain when removing the dressing.
- Antiseptic. Before bandaging, it is necessary to clean out the wound and apply something to kill any bacteria that might have entered through the broken skin. Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are used for cleaning, and then antiseptic should be applied.
- Adhesive Sutures. A large cut needs to be closed up for healing, as well as being bandaged. If you were to go to the hospital, they would close that wound with stitches. Unless you have been trained in how to do that, you’re better off using adhesive sutures. Just make sure that the skin is clean and dry where the suture will be attached.
- CPR Mask. Modern CPR techniques use a mask between the unconscious person and the one who is trying to revive them. The purpose of this is to avoid direct contact with bodily fluids (mostly saliva), which is the fastest way of transmitting a virus.
- Glucosameter. Used by diabetics everywhere, these small electronic devices measure the blood sugar level. While most diabetics have high blood sugar, which causes long-term problems, low blood sugar can cause several short-term problems. Loss of strength, dizziness, loss of mental clarity and even unconsciousness can be caused by low blood sugar.
- Blood Pressure Cuff. High and low blood pressure can cause a number of problems as well. This is one of the key vital signs that medical personnel use to determine a patient’s overall medical condition.
- Ear Thermometer. Another vital sign that medical personnel look for is temperature. While an oral thermometer works, an in-the-ear model is both faster and more accurate.
- Aluminum Splint. Broken bones need to be immobilized. While just about anything can be used to splint them, aluminum splint material is universal. This is an aluminum strip coated with a layer of foam rubber on one side. It can be formed to the necessary size and configuration by hand, making it very quick and convenient to use.
- Elastic Bandage. When it is necessary to support a joint due to a sprain, an elastic bandage is used. They are also useful for holding an aluminum splint in place. These come in a variety of widths to accommodate different sized joints. Keep a variety of sizes on hand, from 2 inches through 6 inches.
- Tweezers and a Magnifying Glass. Splinters can be painful and get infected. With a pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass, they can be easily removed.
- Eye Cup and Saline. The best way to get something out of the eye, such as chemicals or dust, is to flush it with water. This is done by using an eye cup filled with saline solution.
- Syrup of Ipecac. If something that is potentially poisonous is swallowed, the best thing to do is induce vomiting. Syrup of Ipecac is used specifically for this purpose, especially for children.
- Instant Cold Pack. In the case of many injuries, such as a twisted ankle or a sprained wrist, putting something cold on it can reduce the swelling and associated pain. However, this must be done quickly before it has a chance to swell. Cold packs are the perfect way of doing this, especially when ice isn’t available.
- Rubber Gloves. Just like the CPR mask is designed to protect the care giver from becoming infected by air, rubber gloves are needed as well to protect picking up bacteria and viruses through touch.
- Pain Reliever. Maybe aspirin seems a bit obvious for this list, but it is an important ingredient in any first-aid kit. Most of the time that someone is injured, a few pain relievers are necessary. They also work to prevent swelling, which is important for many types of injuries.
The Bottom Line
Of course, having all that stuff in your first-aid kit doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know how to use it. While pretty much everyone knows how to apply an adhesive bandage, most people don’t really know how to do much more than that when treating injuries. Take the time to learn.
There are lots of excellent videos online about basic first-aid care. Take the time to view instructional videos and even to practice using the things in your kit. While not always so, there are times when mere seconds count. Knowing how to use what you have could make all the difference in the world for someone close to you.