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First Aid Kits

First Aid Kits

How can I make a first aid kit?

A well-stocked first aid kit is an essential item for your family at home or on the road. You may have different versions of the first aid kit: a larger one for your home or car and a smaller one for your purse or backpack. You can buy an already assembled first aid kit at your local pharmacy or you can put one together yourself. (16)


What are the essentials of a first aid kit?

  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Alcohol pads
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Cold pack
  • Gauze pads and rolled gauze in assorted sizes and thicknesses
  • Stretch fabric bandages for sprains
  • Adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disposable gloves (16)


What types of emergency kits may be important?

  • Emergency epinephrine kit for those allergic to bee stings (16)
  • Glucagon emergency kit for people with diabetes who are prone to low blood glucose (17)


10 Common First Aid Mistakes

In case of:

What not to do:

What to do:

1. A burn

Do not put butter on burns. The butter makes it easier for burned skin to get infected.

Run cold water over the burn, and put a loose, clean bandage on top of the burn. If you see blisters, contact your healthcare provider.

2. A child swallows poison

Do not give your child Ipecac syrup to make him or her throw up, or anything else to eat or drink.

Call your healthcare provider or Poison Control at (800) 222-1222. They will tell you the next steps to take.

3. A sprain or broken bone

Do not apply heat to the injury, as it will not lessen the pain.

Apply a cooling pack of ice (wrap the ice in a towel to protect the skin). It will help make the painful swelling go down.

4. A person who is injured in a car accident

Do not move someone who has just been in a car accident. The bones in the person’s spine may have broken, and moving the person can cause paralysis.

Call for medical help immediately. Only move the person if the scene of the accident becomes unsafe (for example, if a car is on fire), or if the person needs to be moved to a flat surface for CPR.

5. A serious bleeding wound in the arm or leg

Do not tie a string or bandage tightly around the arm or leg, above the wound. The tight string, also called a tourniquet, stops blood flow from getting to the rest of the arm or leg.

Put a clean cloth or gauze on the wound and bandage it firmly. Then apply pressure. If the bleeding doesn’t stop and the person is at risk of losing too much blood, only then should you use the tourniquet. Call for medical help if the bleeding is really bad, if the wound is dirty, or if it was cause by an animal or human bite.

6. A minor cut

Do not cover the cut with cream and a bandage. To heal, a cut needs fresh air.

Wash the cut with soap and cool water. Keep it dry-no creams. Change the bandage twice a day to keep the cut clean. The bandage should be looser at night, and a little tighter during the day.

7. Allergic reaction to a bee sting

Do not treat at home. This can be very dangerous.

Go to the Emergency Room immediately if you have any of the following symptoms: trouble breathing, at tight throat, or swollen tongue. Talk to your healthcare provider about an EpiPen, a self-injection kit that contains medicine called epinephrine. Having an EpiPen on hand can save a life.

8. A frozen arm or leg

Do not run very hot water over a frozen arm or leg. Our bodies can’t handle extreme changes in temperature.

Instead, run lukewarm water over the arm or leg to warm it slowly.

9. High fever

Do not treat fever by rubbing alcohol on the skin. Even if your mom did this in the past, it is actually dangerous. The skin can absorb the alcohol and can cause poisoning (especially in young children).

Give the person a medicine like Tylenol or Motrin. If the fever lasts more than a few days, contact your healthcare provider.

10. Dirt in the eye

Do not rub the eye. Rubbing can cause you to scratch your eye.

Rinse the eye with water or ask your pharmacist about a special eyewash liquid. (18)



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