I have most of the items in a typical first aid kit, but they are not stored in a box. I put them in few drawers. If I cut myself, I have to dig through those drawers to find the stuff I want. Then, I realized that it is time to get a proper first aid kit. I had two choices, either build my own by purchasing the items or buy a ready kit. Based on my experience, to help you decide, here are the few considerations:
Should you build the kit yourself or buy a pre-packaged kit?
- If you build your own, you must know what you need exactly. If you are a newbie, you may want to spend more time to find out what you need. Otherwise, off the shelf prepackaged kit may suit you better.
- If you are building your own, it can be difficult to buy everything in small enough size that keep your first aid kit light and compact. Prepackaged kit normally comes in specially design compartments.
- Normally, prepackaged kit costs less because the manufacturers are able to keep the cost low with mass bulk purchase and mass production.
- When you are shopping for a first aid kit, be aware that the kit for home use or for travel are slightly different. Some kits are designed for specific activities such as hiking, camping or kayaking.
Tips In Maintaining Your First Aid Kit
- Keep your first aid kit in an easily accessible place and everyone in the family knows about it.
- If you buy a prepackaged kit, make sure you take everything out of it and then put it back yourself so that you are familiar with all of the components. Spend some time to understand what each item is for so that you are prepared during emergency.
- If you use any item in the kit, restock it. Keep it current. Also, check expiry dates on swabs, creams and medications in your kit. Replace any out-of-date contents. If you have flashlight, make sure the batteries are still working.
- If you are bringing your first aid kit out for outdoor activities, you must know your trip duration and group size. In fact, you must stock it with supplies to treat wider range of injuries or illnesses. Some people may tell you to bring ice packs, but I personally believe that they are too heavy. Moreover, they just provide 15 minutes of cold therapy.
Here is the list of items you should have in your first aid kit for home use:
- Bandages (preferably assorted size)
- Cloth tape
- Antibiotic ointment packets
- Antiseptic wipe packet
- Small bottle acetaminophen for pain and fever
- Small bottle ibuprofen for inflammation, muscle aches, pain and fever
- Nonlatex gloves
- Rust resistant scissors
- Sterile gauze pads
- Oral thermometer
- Safety pins
- First aid instruction booklets
- A list of emergency contacts (hospitals, doctors and local police or fire department phone numbers)
Other items which you should consider in first aid kit for outdoor activities:
- Insect repellent
- Aloe Vera for sunburn
- Water purification tablets
- Disposable hand towels or tissues
- One pencil and notepad
- Sealable plastic bags, about 150 x 200mm, for carrying water or making ice packs
- Sting relief treatment
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Mouthpiece for administering CPR
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