I was recently asked to write a post about how to have a useful first aid kit. The hard part of that request is the term “useful.” Items are only useful if you have the knowledge of how to use them. The most important first aid item is knowledge. Knowing what to do when someone bumps their head or has a fever may save you a trip to the ER and a lot of money. Remember you are only providing first aid. Any bandage or wrap that you put on will be taken off when you are seen in the Emergency Room.
PERSONAL CARRY KIT
I carry emergency supplies with me almost every where I go. In my back pack I have a small pouch where I keep a ziplock bag containing, a barrier breathing device for CPR, glucose tablets for diabetics, Benedryl for allergic reactions, baby aspirin for heart attacks, butterfly bandage strips for severe cuts, small LED flashlight, pocket knife, a glow stick, a compass, and a lighter. The last few are the boy scout in me, but the rest are what I consider my duty because of my knowledge. All chiropractors go through first aid and emergency courses for health care professionals, and should be able to respond in an emergency. If you don’t know how or why to use emergency items then it doesn’t help to carry them. I recommend everyone be willing to do their best in emergencies, nothing more is required. If you want to learn more I highly recommend it, but remember “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Your first aid kit should be readily accessible, out of sight of children and the only place that you keep medical items. If you have things all over they are difficult to keep track of, and hard to direct people to in an emergency. My home kit is more of a closet. I have my doc bag with stethoscope, etc. and then a plastic drawer set organized and full.
Most home kits should include: bandages of all sizes (band-aids all the way up to large abdominal pads), surgical tape to hold the bandages in place, wrapping bandages such as rolls and triangle bandages for wrapping or immobilizing, glucose tablets or hard candy for diabetics, self contained burn dressings, antibiotic ointment to reduce infection risk, baby aspirin for a heart attack, emergency blanket, CPR breathing barrier, instant cold compress, non-latex gloves, Benadryl for allergies, scissors, tweezers, a thermometer and any other essential personal health care items that family members may require such as an EpiPen, inhaler, or other prescription medications.
Some extra items that people like to keep in their home kit are: Essential oils, vitamins, an AED, UV-C sterilizer, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, duct tape, superglue, saline/eye solution and water. There are many more things that you can keep and my closet has most of them. Any extra items usually require extra knowledge, but it is easy to acquire and often free. The Red Cross is a great place to start, but many companies, communities and colleges have educational courses that you can also take. Most modern kits that you purchase come with a first aid instruction booklet that can help you use the kit, but you don’t want to wait until an emergency happens to read the book.