We’ve probably all got a first aid kit kicking around somewhere – either in the kitchen cupboard or the glove-box of the car. But have you looked in it recently to see what it actually contains?
A first aid kit is one of the most important things any home (or vehicle) can have and provides that valuable first line of defence until medical help arrives.
But a kit with nothing in it but a few old bandages and some rusty safety pins is simply no use to anyone.
So do yourself a favour. Go and find your medical kit in that kitchen cupboard or in the back of the car and check that it contains these items – you might just be glad that you did.
Probably the most obvious one on the list and a staple of any emergency supply, but you’d be surprised how many first aid kits don’t contain them; usually because no one thinks to replace the trusty old plaster. So next time you use a band-aid; make sure you replenish your stock.
Scissors are a vital part of any medical kit. They can be used for trimming bandages to size or even cutting away clothing from an injury. Make sure the blades are sharp and free from rust and metal fatigue; as this could cause infection.
Ideal for wrapping a dressing, applying a splint or supporting a sprained joint; the bandage can perform a number of roles and should never be left out of your “starting eleven.”
Not a life-saver, but some antiseptic ointment or cream can quickly clean a wound and prevent it from becoming infected before a dressing is applied.
When dealing with any kind of medical emergency; preventing infection is a top priority. If you’re attending to someone who has cut themselves badly while at work or when handling machinery for example; you will need something to ensure your hands and the area you are treating, are sterile and germ-free.
Perfect for dressing cuts, wounds and burns; gauze can be cut to size (assuming you have remembered to pack your scissors) to fit those awkward areas of the body that can be difficult to cover.
Any form of tape (even duct tape) is a very useful addition to your emergency kit. It can be used to secure dressings, apply pressure to bleeding wounds or even add support to a sprain or strain. So make sure there’s room for this key-player; you won’t be sorry you did.
Very useful for pretty much any medical emergency, the pain killer can cure a multitude of ailments. Be sure to pack standard paracetamol or aspirin though, as some people can be allergic to Ibuprofen and other stronger pain relievers.
Eye Wash Solution
If someone has something in their eye – trying to remove it with your fingers can lead to a scratched cornea or infection. So make sure you keep saline on hand to flush out the affected area. This solution can also be used to wash out wounds or be gargled with to treat sore throats.
The safest way to ensure you and the person you are treating remain free from infection is to use latex gloves when administering treatment. Hand sanitizer can only do so much and can’t protect small cuts or grazes you may have on your fingers becoming exposed or coming into contact with someone else’s blood.
Seeing as safety pins only really have two functions (the other being keeping trousers up when the zip has broken) a first aid box wouldn’t be the same without any. So keep a few of these first aid favourites to hand, they are ideal for making temporary slings or just tidying up those hastily tied bandages.
Written by journalist and blogger Matthew Crist on behalf of Liverpool based solicitors Canter, Levin and Berg – accident claims specialists.