Stocking Up On First Aid Essentials

Every household should have a fully stocked and readily available first aid kit. Accidents, injuries, and burns are inevitable, and most families will need at-home emergency supplies at some point. Many first aid products can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) from a pharmacy and stored in the kit for years until needed.

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1. Bandages to the rescue

Scrapes and cuts are unavoidable, and most people will experience a few each year. Taking care of the wound is essential to staying healthy. Adhesive bandages can stop bleeding, protect the cut from bacteria and further damage, and encourage healing.

2. Antibiotic ointment

As cuts heal, antibiotic ointment can help. When applied to the affected area, the product works to slow or stop the growth of bacteria and promote faster healing. Check the kit every few years to ensure the ointment isn’t expired for maximum efficacy.

3. Pain medication

Headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, and sports-related injuries can all be treated with OTC pain medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a great option known to effectively reduce pain and decrease inflammation. Analgesics are another choice many people use to relieve pain and reduce fever.

4. Gauze

Larger wounds may require gauze to stop the bleeding. Burns can also benefit from a gauze pad, which provides a semi-permeable barrier as the site heals.

5. Disposable gloves

Gloves can help keep the person treating the injury and the injured party safe when handling an at-home emergency. Proper use of gloves can help avoid the introduction of foreign bacteria when applying topical antibiotic ointment or bandages to the injury site.

6. Tweezers

A rouge splinter or tiny piece of glass may look harmless, but pain can ensue when the object becomes lodged in the body. Tweezers are essential to any first aid kit, allowing people to remove foreign objects at home. After a bee sting, tweezers can also help remove the stinger.

7. Cold compress

Ice is known to decrease inflammation and numb pain. After an injury, an ice pack is an essential item to have on hand. Some ice packs should be stored in the freezer, while instant cold packs can be stored with first aid supplies and then snapped to start working.

8. Emergency blanket

An emergency blanket can be a lifesaver if the power goes out in the winter. These blankets don’t take up much space but can retain up to 90% of a person’s body heat.

9. Thermometer

A thermometer is essential to determine whether an individual has a fever. Multiple options exist nowadays. Some people prefer a traditional thermometer that goes under the tongue or armpit, while others prefer forehead thermometers, which simply scan the head. Remember to keep extra batteries in the first aid kit if the thermometer is battery-operated.

10. Urgent numbers

Families should add a list of emergency numbers to round out a first aid kid. Poison control is a great resource to keep on hand, especially if little kids are in the home. Having essential medical providers and emergency contacts listed can also provide peace of mind.

Stay prepared

The best way to stay on top of an injury is to always be prepared. With a fully stocked first aid kit, people can rest assured that many of the supplies needed in the event of an emergency are just a few steps away. Check the kit yearly to make sure nothing needs to be replaced.

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