Home Medical Tips: First Aid Kit Essentials
When thinking of putting together the perfect first aid kit, what comes to mind? A bold red crash cart complete with oxygen, AED and an array of medications to bring you back from the brink? Possibly but not necessary. For life’s little emergencies at home, all that’s really needed is a well-put together first aid kit. Of course you can purchase one online or in a store but it’s just as easy to throw together yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started. Find a container for your supplies. A medium-sized bag or a tackle box with handles is best. Use the list of supplies provided below as a basic guide. Make sure everyone in the home knows where the kit will be kept and run through how to use some of the supplies. There are also a few simple home medical aid tips that follow. If you’re not sure what to do in a given situation, seek medical attention immediately.
Home First Aid Kit Supplies
|Alcohol wipes (sanitize instruments & skin)Bandages (assorted sizes)Bandage scissorsCoban or wide stretch bandage|
Hot/cold pack x 2
Mole skin (for blisters)
Sterile gauze (small 4-inch squares and large squares)
|Aloe Vera gel(for sunburns)Antiseptic Spray (tea-tree oil based) or antiseptic washArnica Gel/cream (for aches and bruises)Benadryl (for use if allergic reaction is suspected)|
Chamomile tea or some Rescue Remedy
Epsom Salts (for soaking sore muscles and stubbed toes)
Lavender oil (for burns)
Normal Saline/eye solution
Pain/fever reducer of your choice
Tea tree Oil (natural antibacterial)
Abrasions, Cuts and Insect bites
For abrasions or insect bites, wash the area with soap and water, pat dry and spray with an antiseptic. Try one that’s tea-tree oil based as it has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. A good antiseptic spray can be used on everything from cuts and scrapes to stings and insect bites. For a suspected allergic reaction, it’s a good idea to have Benadryl on hand.
Control the bleeding by elevating the area. Place a large gauze pad (or a few if needed) over the wound and apply firm pressure until the bleeding is halted. If there is breakthrough bleeding, reinforce the dressing that’s already in place with more gauze. Tape gauze down or wrap in bandage to apply pressure.
Bumps, Bruises and Cramps
For bumps and bruises, aches and sprains, apply ice. It’s always handy to have a cold pack in the freezer for immediate use and another that can be heated up for cramps and achy muscles. Apply ice to injuries for 15-20 minutes at a time, breaking for an hour in between applications.
Obviously, any severe burn requires immediate medical attention. But if it’s just a first degree or surface burn, run the affected area under cold water to stop the burning process. Apply lavender oil to the area and cover with a non-adherent dressing. Lavender oil not only has calming effects, but the ability to soothe and heal burns quickly.
After a cool shower, apply aloe vera gel to sunburns. Continue to moisturize well after a sunburn to prevent peeling. You’ll need to drink plenty of water too.
Foreign Bodies in the Eye
The worst thing you can do is rub your eye if there’s something in it. This can lead to corneal abrasions. Instead, grab an eggcup or a shot glass, if you have one, and fill with contact solution or normal saline. Place the cup over the eye, tilt your head back, and rinse your eye. If the foreign body is still present, seek medical attention.
For suspected fractures, seek medical attention. Never, ever move anyone if you think they may have a spinal or pelvic fracture. If you must move someone (with a suspected fracture to one of their extremities only), improvise a splint. Grab a sturdy piece of board, sticks, rulers or whatever you can find, and with stretchy bandage, immobilize the joints above and below the fracture. Take care not to cut off circulation.
Heatstroke can be life threatening. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible. In the meantime, take the affected person out of the heat and remove any excessive clothing. Try laying the person under a fan or applying cool compresses to the underarms, groin and neck. Help them to sip on some cool liquids.
Splinters, stubbed toes and Ingrown toenails
Use an alcohol pad to sanitize your tweezers. For a better look at the splinter, use the magnifying glass in your first aid kit. Before you go digging for the splinter, disinfect the area with an alcohol pad.
For stubbed toes and ingrown toenails, soak in a tub of warm water and Epsom salts for 20 minutes once a day.
As with any incident, you might feel a bit shaken up. But a soothing cup of chamomile tea or a few drops of rescue remedy will calm the nerves.
All the medical supplies you need to get your home first aid kit started can be found at Medshop Australia (www.medshop.com.au).