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First aid kit

Information

You should make sure that you and your family are prepared to treat common symptoms, injuries, and emergencies. By planning ahead, you can create a well-stocked home first aid kit. Keep all of your supplies in one location so you know exactly where they are when you need them.

The following items are basic supplies. You can get most of them at a pharmacy or supermarket.

Bandages and dressings:

  • Adhesive bandages (Band-Aid or similar brand); assorted sizes
  • Aluminum finger splints
  • Elastic (ACE) bandage for wrapping wrist, ankle, knee, and elbow injuries
  • Eye shield, pads, and bandages
  • Latex or non-latex gloves to reduce contamination risk
  • Sterile gauze pads and adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandage for wrapping injuries and making an arm sling

Home health equipment:

  • Blue "baby bulb" or "turkey baster" suction device
  • Disposable, instant ice bags
  • First-aid manual
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Latex or non-latex gloves to reduce contamination risk
  • Save-A-Tooth storage device in case a tooth is broken or knocked out; contains a travel case and salt solution
  • Sterile cotton balls
  • Sterile cotton-tipped swabs
  • Syringe, medicine cup, or medicine spoon for giving specific doses of medicine
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers, to remove ticks and small splinters

Medicine for cuts and injuries:

  • Antiseptic solution or wipes, such as hydrogen peroxide, povidone-iodine, or chlorhexidine
  • Antibiotic ointment, such as bacitracin, polysporin, or mupirocin
  • Sterile eyewash, such as contact lens saline solution
  • Calamine lotion for stings or poison ivy
  • Hydrocortisone cream, ointment, or lotion for itching

Be sure to check your kit regularly. Replace any supplies that are getting low or which have expired.

Other supplies may be included in a first aid kit. This depends on the area in which you plan to spend time.

References

Tonna, JE, Lewin, MR. Wilderness Preparation, Equipment, and Medical Supplies. In: Auerbach, PS. ed. Auerbach: Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Mosby Elsevier;2011: chap 91.

Updated: 1/1/2013

Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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