First aid kits are just that, the first response kit when someone is injured. Every household, vehicle, and workplace should have some form of a first aid kit, and if you are engaging in activities away from these establishments, you should consider carrying one on you. The size and contents of the kit will vary based on what it is meant to treat and where it will be stored. Some factors to consider is what is the most likely injury it will treat, how quick can emergency medical technicians get to the location, and what population it is meant to serve. For instance, a first aid kit in an office should have all the normal pieces that could be found in a school nurse’s office or a home aid closet including all the things to fix minor wounds and some simple medications for headaches and upset stomach. However, a kit that a hiker carries should be much smaller, more durable, and should focus on bone breaks and bleeds.
In today’s post, we will offer a few suggestions on items that should be in every first aid kit, regardless of how big it is, where it is kept, or what size it is.
No good medical kit, for any task, is complete without tape! While it could be argued which kind of tape you include in your first aid kit, most everyone will agree, you need some form of it. A roll of standard two-inch tape is great for securing things, creating bandages, and other non-medical uses. For a first aid kit, steer away from paper tape as it is not good for adhering to skin that has hair, blood, or sweat. Standard medical surgical tape or Transpore® are great options. If you’ve got the room, include both! And, when all else fails, a roll of duct tape can make all the difference.
Gloves are pretty necessary for a situation where medical treatment is being provided to another person. The risk of infectious disease is not worth it — for you or for them. Gloves are great for preventing blood or body fluid from coming into contact with you as well as prevents your dirty hands from touching the wound of another person. It is recommended that non-latex nitrile surgical gloves be included in your first aid kit. Durable, pre-rolled gloves are available from outdoor adventure companies or you can use tiny ziplock bags to store individual pairs. Gloves should not be left to flop around the inside of your kit as this can cause nicks and tears and leave them a little less clean that you would prefer.
Every first aid kit needs some sort of cutting implement. Preferably a durable pair of multi-purpose trauma shears, but a handy pocket knife or a pair of regular scissors will do just fine as well. Scissors are useful for cutting of clothing in an emergency or for sizing down tape or bandages without using your teeth. Trauma shears are excellent because they have sharp blades, but a rounded, thicker tip to prevent accidental stabbing.
Alcohol wipes are another multi-purpose tool and a first aid kit must-have. Alcohol wipes can be used to clean the skin, wounds, and instruments used. They help prevent against infection and can really make a difference in the outcome of even the most simple wounds. Alcohol wipes come in several forms, but the most convenient and the most compact are the two-by-two inch individual wipe packets.
You can never have too much gauze! Whatever your first aid kit can accommodate, use it! Gause is great for wiping injuries clean and creating bandages out of. It is wise to pack individual use packets of gauze as opposed to the long sleeves of sheets of gauze that can become contaminated and are hard to contain in a panic situation. For a first aid kit, it is important to not get overwhelmed with the wide variety of products available on the market and just stick to plain non-stick two-by-two or four-by-four gauze pads.
Bandaids are the perfect cover for any small wound. Generally, a band-aid is meant for those small wounds that just need to be covered to prevent more insult, prevent blood spillage, or hold ointment to the skin. A pack of multi-sized bandaids is always a solid choice to have on hand. Tegaderm bandages are also a great idea as they offer a larger, clear option to a bandaid, and can function as a second skin without adding mass to areas where friction is causing skin breakdown.
Surgical lubricant is a handy thing to keep in a first aid kit for a variety of reasons. If you need to insert a device, such as a nasopharyngeal airway, you’ll need lubrication. Surgilube® Surgical Lubricant is available in single-use foil packets that are compact and convenient — a must-have in every first aid kit!
Other things to consider include:
- Cravat (bandana-type pieces of cloth) to use as bandages, slings, ties, or tourniquet;
- Commercial tourniquets;
- Super glue;
- Triple antibiotic ointment;
- Safety pins;
- Hand sanitizer;
- Ace bandage wrap;
A well-stocked first aid kit can make all the difference and potentially save lives. Arm yourself and those around you with the tools necessary to provide the first care while you await emergency medical services, or fix minor wounds to reduce lost time and discomfort. At HR Pharmaceuticals, we have all the supplies you need to stock your aid kit. Browse our entire line of products online today!