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2020 Health Challenge Month 9: Build an Emergency Kit

September 03, 2020

Injuries can happen anytime and anywhere. First aid kits are a must-have for every home so that you can treat ailments and injuries easily when they occur. Easy access to a first aid kit can help reduce the risk of infection or the severity of the injury.

A well-stocked first-aid kit can include a variety of items that help treat cuts, scrapes, injuries including sprains, burns, and supplies for a variety of common ailments. Keep at least one first aid kit in your home and one in your car, and make sure it is easy for everyone to open. First aid kits should be stored out of children’s reach but where adults can easily get them, including babysitters and other caregivers. 

You can either buy a prepared first aid kit or you can prepare your own. A store-bought kit comes with a small selection of the essentials such as adhesive bandages, antibiotic cream and antiseptic wipes. Store-bought kits are great for keeping in your desk at work or in the glove compartment of your car. 

Make sure to read the entire first aid manual to understand how to use the contents of your first aid kit. If your kids are old enough to understand, review the main points with them. Consider taking a first aid course through the American Red Cross, which offers many helpful resources, including classes designed to help children understand and use first aid techniques as well as a list of items to include in your kit

Making your first aid kit allows you to include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your healthcare provider may suggest. If you make your own, use containers that are roomy, sturdy, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes or containers for storing art supplies are ideal because they’re lightweight, have handles and offer a lot of space and separate sections. 

Items to place in your first aid kit:

  • Adhesive bandages – for simple cuts and scrapes, in various sizes
  • Butterfly bandages – used to hold the edges of a cut together to allow it to heal
  • Individually wrapped gauze packages – to control bleeding and prevent contamination
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape – to hold a dressing or splint in place
  • Chemical ice packs – ones that can be broken and have instant cold relief
  • First aid handbook – in the event you aren’t sure how to treat an injury

You can also have medications in your first aid kit that can help with injuries that aren’t topical:

  • Pain reliever – such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium which can be used for relief of headaches, muscle aches and joint pain
  • Fever reducer – acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Decongestant or cough medicine
  • Stomach medication – these can be used to treat or prevent indigestion, heartburn or upset stomach
  • Antihistamine – For allergic reactions and itching
  • Anti-diarrheal
  • Eye drops

Other items to include:

  • Emergency phone numbers, including contact information for your family doctor and pediatrician, local emergency services, emergency road service providers, and the poison helpline which is  800-222-1222.
  • Medical consent forms for each family member
  • Medical history forms for each family member
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent

Check your first aid kit regularly so you can replace missing items or anything that has expired. A well-stocked first aid kit, kept within easy reach, is a necessity in every home. Having the right supplies ahead of time will help you handle an emergency at a moment’s notice. For all other injuries that require more than a first aid kit to heal, call your doctor immediately. NEED A PROVIDER? FIND ONE HERE.