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First Aid Kits (cont.)

What to Put in Your Household Kit

You can buy all items for your first aid kits at a well-stocked drug store. Ask the pharmacist for help in selecting items.

Home kit: A household first aid kit should include these items:

  • Adhesive tape
  • Anesthetic spray (Bactine) or lotion (Calamine, Campho-Phenique) - for itching rashes and insect bites
  • 4" x 4" sterile gauze pads - for covering and cleaning wounds, as a soft eye patch
  • 2", 3", and 4" Ace bandages - for wrapping sprained or strained joints, for wrapping gauze on to wounds, for wrapping on splints
  • Adhesive bandages (all sizes)
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) - oral antihistamine for allergic reactions, itching rashes. Avoid topical antihistamine creams because they may worsen the rash in some people.
  • Exam gloves - for infection protection, and can be made into ice packs if filled with water and frozen
  • Polysporin antibiotic cream - to apply to simple wounds
  • Nonadhesive pads (Telfa) - for covering wounds and burns
  • Pocket mask for CPR
  • Resealable oven bag - as a container for contaminated articles, can become an ice pack
  • Safety pins (large and small) - for splinter removal and for securing triangular bandage sling
  • Scissors
  • Triangular bandage - as a sling, towel, tourniquet
  • Tweezers - for splinter or stinger or tick removal
  • In case of a medical or trauma related emergency, a list of family member's medical history, medications, doctors, insurance company, and contact persons should be readily available.

What to Put in Your Travel Kit

Travel kit: A travel first aid kit may contain these items:

  • Adhesive tape
  • 4" x 4" sterile gauze pads
  • Antacid - for indigestion
  • Antidiarrheal (Imodium, Pepto-Bismol, for example)
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Antiseptic agent (small bottle liquid soap) - for cleaning wounds and hands
  • Aspirin - for mild pain, heart attack
  • Adhesive bandages (all sizes)
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) - oral antihistamine
  • Book on first aid
  • Cigarette lighter - to sterilize instruments and to be able to start a fire in the wilderness (to keep warm and to make smoke to signal for help, for examples)
  • Cough medication
  • Dental kit - for broken teeth, loss of crown or filling
  • Exam gloves
  • Small flashlight
  • Ibuprofen (Advil is one brand name); another good choice is naprosyn (Aleve is a brand name)
  • Insect repellant
  • Knife (small Swiss Army-type)
  • Moleskin - to apply to blisters or hot spots
  • Nasal spray decongestant - for nasal congestion from colds or allergies
  • Nonadhesive wound pads (Telfa)
  • Polysporin antibiotic ointment
  • Oral decongestant
  • Personal medications (enough for the trip duration and perhaps a couple of extra in case of delays) and items (for example, a cane or knee braces if needed)
  • Phone card with at least 60 minutes of time (and not a close expiration date) plus at least 10 quarters for pay phones and a list of important people to reach in an emergency; cell phone with charger (cell service is not available in may areas, especially remote areas)
  • Plastic resealable bags (oven and sandwich)
  • Pocket mask for CPR (although now, CPR does not have to be mouth to mouth)
  • Safety pins (large and small)
  • Scissors
  • Sunscreen
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • A list of yours and other family member's medical history, medications, doctors, insurance company, and emergency contact persons (this can be accomplished easily with a flash drive; see for example, www.erinfocard.com

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCES:

1. American Red Cross. Learn About CPR and AEDs. Learn About CPR and AEDs.

2. American Red Cross. Workplace Training: Standard First Aid. Workplace Training: Standard First Aid.

3. Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine: Management of Wilderness & Environmental Emergencies. Mosby-Year Book; 2000.

4. Donner H. Wilderness Medical Society: What's in a good medical kit? 1996. Wilderness Medical Society: What's in a good medical kit? 1996.

5. Forgey WW, ed. Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines for Wilderness Emergency Care. Globe Pequot Press; 1995.

6. International Society of Travel Medicine. The Newsletter of the International Society of Travel Medicine. 2001. The Newsletter of the International Society of Travel Medicine. 2001.

7. Slapper D. Wilderness and Travel Medicine. eMedicine Journal [serial online]. 2001. Wilderness and Travel Medicine. eMedicine Journal [serial online]. 2001.

8. Weiss EA, ed. A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine. 2nd ed. Adventure Medical Kits; 1998.

9. Wilderness Medicine Institute. Buck's Article Archive. Buck's Article Archive.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2016
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