Chances are, if an accident occurs within your immediate family, you won't have to bother with gloves. However it’s important to practice safety measures if you happen to help a stranger.
Adhesive bandages in an assortment of sizes for any punctures, cuts, or minor scrapes. Be sure to buy bandages that are sterile and come individually wrapped.
Sterile gauze pads that are individually wrapped may be useful for larger cuts, profuse bleeding, burns, and infections.
Scissors may be necessary to cut tape, clothing, or bandages in emergency situations. Surgical scissors will cut tape cleanly and quickly, but any good scissors will do in an emergency.
A roll of adhesive surgical tape will come in handy when using gauze pads. You will need the tape to secure the cotton pad to the laceration. First aid adhesive tape is great for wounds that need to be sealed from infection. Use Paper tape for individuals with sensitive skin, or if the dressings need to be frequently changed.
Elastic/Tensor bandages with clips may be used for sprains and twists
Tweezers for removing any foreign objects from a cut or for splinters. Although needles are only good for splinters, they can sometimes get out a small foreign object better. So keep one on hand in your first aid cabinet.
Sterile cotton balls for applying ointments and antiseptics, as well as a sterile cloth for washing and dressing cuts and abrasions.
Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean utensils in your first aid kit, and it very effectively cleans cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds. Antibacterial antiseptic lotions and ointments should be added to your homemade kit as well.
Matches can be a useful addition to your medicine cabinet's first aid section. In an emergency, a flame will sterilize needles and tweezers. Just make sure you keep the pack out of the reach of tiny curious hands!
Oral and rectal thermometers are important (and petroleum jelly for the rectal thermometer). Fever can be a sign of shock, poisoning, or infection. It's always good to gauge a sick person's temperature to know how to proceed.
Antihistamine tablets are good to have handy in case of an allergic reaction, an attack of the sneezes and sniffles, a sinus problem, or a migraine headache (all signs of allergic reactions to pollen or dust). Benadryl is a good antihistamine, and it even comes in a cream to treat superficial allergic reactions, such as rashes and hives.
Syrup of Ipecac, which will induce vomiting in case of poisoning. Available in any drugstore, Syrup of Ipecac’s sole purpose is for inducing the vomiting.
An ice pack to reduce swelling, to cool a victim, or to reduce fever. (Many companies now make “instant” ice packs that do not need to be chilled. Chemicals keep them cold so you can store them in a first aid kit.)
A bar of soap or a container of antibacterial liquid soap to clean wounds and your own hands. Sealed “wet naps” also work well.
Be sure to check the flashlight batteries frequently. Flares need to be kept in the car or boat to alert passers-by of an emergency condition. Flares not only prevent unforeseen collisions in the dark, they force other drivers to slow down (and someone might just offer help or the emergency phone call you desperately need).
Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil) tablets to relieve pain and reduce fever. Remember that some people are allergic to aspirin, and some have bleeding or stomach problems that aspirin can make worse. When in doubt, opt for the Tylenol or Advil.
Medicine such as Pepto-Bismol, Immodium AD, or Mylanta to ease diarrhea and reduce dehydration.
Large, triangular pieces of cloth (scarves) for makeshift slings, splints, and tourniquets.
And, no matter what type of kit you have, make sure you place a list of emergency phone numbers inside the lid. Include numbers for your doctor, the local hospital, poison control center, and more.
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