you can’t do You will never have an accident at home, on the road, in the office or in nature. All you can do is make sure you are ready. Many commercial first aid kits are bulky, overpriced, and lack a lot of useful equipment. Build your own to take with you on hikes and hikes, keep handy in your car trunk, or store at work or home.
For many of the following consumables, you will end up buying more than you need to pack in your first aid kit, so split the cost with a couple of other friends as you pack your first aid kits together. While you’re thinking about being prepared, check out our other guides, including Hiking 101, Best Home Emergency Gear, and Emergency Vehicle Basics.
Equipment is good, but knowledge plus equipment is even better. Practice to know how and when to use everything in your first aid kit. Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes inexpensive and widely available. Skip the online classes and switch to the face-to-face class. If you want a more street-oriented option that addresses situations not found in regular home first aid courses, I personally recommend both options. NOLS First Aid Lessons in the Wild or their Wilderness Rapid Response Classeswhich can be found locally and which are very effective teaching aids.
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Divide your kit into three quart Zip-Loc bags, which you will fit in a large gallon Zip-Loc bag. Zip-Locs are waterproof, lightweight, compact and cheap. Plus, you can see what’s in them without opening them. For your quart-sized medicines, you must include these items.
Store several common over-the-counter medicines in a pill box. Some useful generic medications may include pain relievers, antidiarrheals, and antihistamines, as well as any other medications you usually take. Wrap the case with a rubber band so that it does not open during storage. Write the expiry date for each medicine (as shown on the original packaging) on the adhesive label to stick to the case. This way you know when it’s time to replace them.
This antihistamine-containing gel relieves stinging and biting insect stings. After Bite comes in a tube so you just pop it open and rub it on the affected area. It relieves pain from mosquitoes, fire ants, midges, bee stings, etc., as well as poison ivy. If you have an epinephrine pen (EpiPen) or need Instant Glucose ($30)add them to the medicine bag too.
In an emergency, your legs will probably be your vehicle. If you’re going on a long trip outdoors where you might get your feet wet, you should be prepared to deal with foot fungus. Not only can some fungi be very painful, but if left untreated, they can become chronic health problems and even damage nerves. A small tube of inexpensive cream can save you a lot of problems in the future.
To ensure the best, plan for the worst. Bandages are useful for stopping bleeding, dressing wounds, and stabilizing an injured body part. Depending on how much you decide to take with you, you may need to pack some of them in a larger than a gallon Zip-Loc separately. Store small items together in a 1-litre bag designed exclusively for safety equipment.
Compression bandages include an elastic material so you can pull them tight to stabilize your limbs and stop bleeding. Bring one 2 inch ace and one 3 inch ace ($14) so you have different sizes, and buy with velcro, not with metal clips that are inconvenient to use. Alternatively, you can replace the roll Koban ($5) instead of the 2″ Ace bandage. It lacks Velcro and instead clings to itself.
They are used to absorb blood and stop bleeding in medium to large wounds. Make sure you buy them in different sizes and individually wrapped. Don’t put the whole box in your first aid kit; just a few different sizes. Keep them in your wrappers. triangular, light ties ($10) also have many uses such as making slings for broken hands and soaking up blood. Steri-Strips ($6) will keep wounds and cuts closed, and a little Transpore Medical Tape ($5) keeps on gauze.
Burns can be incredibly painful, but these pads greatly reduce pain and keep the burned areas clean. Keeping burned areas moist is much more convenient than bandaging them dry, and when you finally need to remove the bandage, it will not stick to the burned flesh and tear it again.
This piece of gauze is impregnated with a hemostatic agent that promotes rapid blood clotting and stops heavy bleeding better than regular gauze. If you decide to take QuikClot gauze with you, you can replace it with one of the larger pieces of standard gauze. Alternatively, Celox ($30) it’s a hemostatic powder that does the same thing. Both can be life-saving in the event of life-threatening, extremely heavy bleeding. If you are hunting or possibly near firearms where accidental shots can cause deep canal wounds, pick up Celox Kit ($27) includes a plunger that allows Celox powder to be injected deep into the wound channel.
Stopping bleeding is only part of wound healing. Doing this in a hygienic way not only sets the patient up for success by minimizing the chances of infection later on, but also protects you, the caregiver, from contracting diseases from the patient.
You should put them on before treating someone’s wounds if you have time. You don’t want to contract any blood-borne pathogens while caring for a patient. Latex gloves are not used as much these days as many people are allergic to latex, so buy nitrile gloves instead to protect your hands from other people’s bodily fluids.
These transparent adhesive wound dressings are useful for keeping wounds watertight for days on end. When days can pass between injury and evacuation, you need to keep the wound and dressing dry, so applying Tegaderm to it is a surefire way to do this. They are needed for country trips, but not when you are closer to civilization. Pack a few; they weigh almost nothing.
Use sterile water from a water bottle to flush wounds with a syringe before dressing them. Do not rub open wounds! It doesn’t matter which one you have, straight or curved, the main thing is that it be a model with an engine capacity of 10 or 12 cc.
They are needed to prevent infection of the wound. Each package combines three types of topical antibiotic to be applied to wounds after they have been washed. Although they are crucial in remote area first aid kits, you should keep them in any first aid kit, even at home. It’s better to apply antibiotic ointment while you’re dressing the wound, rather than reminding yourself to try to buy it from the store later, when the infection might start to spread.
There are a few more little things that should be in the third Zip-Loc package. They don’t fit into any particular category, but that doesn’t make them any less useful or necessary. In this bag, put tweezers and a safety pin to dig out the pieces. If you plan on using your kit in the wilderness or on the job site, add a couple of finger splint popsicle sticks.
This is the best blister treatment I have ever used. I discovered Moleskine ($4) less effective than Hydro Seal on the ankles, but may be useful on body parts that are more awkwardly positioned or shaped, such as the toes.
You don’t want to drown or burn ticks. while they will separate, they will vomit on your skin first and potentially transfer nasty germs. Even though it’s obvious for trips out of town, keep it in all first aid kits. Even at home, you can go inside after mowing your lawn or walking your dog and find that a nasty bug has attached itself to your skin.
Dental injuries can be extremely painful. Ask anyone who has ever been to a dentist about something more than a simple cleaning. Orajel safely numbs pain. If you may be more than a couple of hours away from medical care, consider bringing dental wax ($6). Timely application of dental wax to implant a tooth in the socket can save it, not to mention protect sensitive nerve endings from injury.