This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
I always recommend everyone keep a first aid kit at home and in the car. I know some families don’t have a first aid kit at all and they end up scrambling when someone gets sick.
What does a basic first aid kit contain?
If you are starting out, a basic first aid kit should contain at least the following (at the minimum) according to a list provided by the Red Cross,:
· 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
· 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
· 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
· 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
· 5 antiseptic wipe packets
· 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
· 1 emergency blanket
· 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
· 1 instant cold compress, also found within our First Aid Kit
· 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
· 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each) (Similar item found within the Be Red Cross Ready First Aid Kit)
· 1 3 in. gauze roll (roller) bandage
· 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
· 5 3 in. x 3 in. sterile gauze pads
· 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
· Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
· 2 triangular bandages
· First aid guide
Of course the above list is very basic. I would add more items such as antacids, diarrhea medicine, allergy medicine, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, etc. I personally like The College Student first aid kit that was created by a nurse practitioner. I’m not a college student; I originally gave one as a gift and ended up buying another one for myself. It had everything I needed during the lockdown.
If you or anyone in your family has some chronic health conditions, you need to have have at least a month’s worth of prescriptions and any special equipment (blood pressure monitor, diabetes supplies in your first aid kit.
I’m not a medical professional but I can share what has worked in the past. Let’s look at some non-standard items you can add to supplement your first aid kit.
10 Unusual Items You Should Add to Your First Aid Kit
Here is a list of unusual items you should add to your first aid kit (in no particular order):
Right after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the streets were flooded for days. We had to walk to the grocery store several blocks away, since the roads were impassable.
Foot care is important especially in a disaster. Supplement your first aid kit with moleskin pads to avoid blisters.
With the recent spread of COVID-19, masks are now essential and are required in many areas.
Getting sunburned causes a lot of misery, and aloe vera is very helpful in easing sunburn pain.
You’ll need rubbing alcohol to disinfect items and many other uses such as itch and nausea relief.
If you lose a filling in the middle of a disaster such as a hurricane, you will be unable to see a dentist until everything reopens. A dental kit can help tide you oven until you can make an appointment with the dentist.
Duct tape can be used as a makeshift sling, tape bones and joints together, to cover up a blister or to help remove a tick.
Liquid bandage is a good item to have in a first aid kit for some cuts such as small lacerations according the the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It works by creating a protective shell that binds to the skin. You should be aware that liquid bandage does not work for all types of wounds. According to WebMD, some people may have an allergy to it. Also, it may not work for someone who tends to have slow healing wounds such as diabetics. On the plus side, liquid bandage benefits include:
· fast drying
· stays in place
· keeps air and dirt out of the wound
· less scarring
· lower rates of infection.
Vet wrap is a porous, self-adhesive bandage that was originally designed for horse, however, it started to gain popularity for people as well. It can support limbs, and is an excellent way to put pressure on a wound to prevent blood loss. I know of someone who got a very deep gash in his hand, so his friends wrapped the wound with vet wrap then headed straight to the hospital emergency room. The wound required stitches but the ER doc thought it was good they used the vet wrap for first aid.
Hemostatic agent stops bleeding faster by causing the blood to clot. A brand we added to our first aid kit is called Quik Clot.
Other similar brands are called Celox and Hemcon.
I once saw a Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last where the main character was navigating the end of the world. When he finally has peace and quiet and time to read, he breaks his only pair of glasses. I have never forgotten that. Lesson learned: keep a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses in your first aid kit. Whenever you get a new set of glasses or contacts, keep the old pair in the first aid kit. If you wear contacts you should include saline solution and comfort drops in the kit as well.
This list is not comprehensive; I am sure others have their own favorites. If you have any unusual items in your first aid kit, please feel free to share in the comments below.
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About the author:
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.
super glue for cuts. hydrogen peroxide. scissors. benadryl.
Thanks for these additions Susan. I appreciate the comment.