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First-Aid Items That Every Family Should Have on Hand

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A medical emergency can strike at any time. This is why it is important to be prepared with a first aid kit and other essentials in your own home. Not only should you keep a kit at home, but it is also a good idea to keep one in your vehicle. Here are the first aid items that every family should have on hand to deal with unexpected emergencies.

Essential Tools

No first aid kit is complete without the essential tools needed to treat cuts, bruises, and wounds. The first thing that you need to make sure that you have is a thermometer. You do not want to be caught away from home with a child with a fever and not be able to tell if you need to seek medical attention. Other essential tools to keep on hand would be tweezers, scissors, and a splint.

Bandages in Various Sizes

The cornerstone of any first aid kit is a variety of bandages and other wound dressing materials. In addition to standard bandages, you also want to have plenty of smaller and larger sizes. This is particularly important if you have small children in your family. Circular and triangular bandages can come in handy when treating cuts and wounds that are an odd size or located on the joints. You also need to make sure that your kit has sterile gauze pads in different sizes. A roll of adhesive cloth tape will be invaluable in helping you to affix the gauze onto the wounds.

Medications

Your kit should also include a bevy of medications used to treat common illnesses. These items are especially important for a travel first aid kit. The most important medications to keep in your kit are pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. An antihistamine such as diphenhydramine will prove helpful if somebody suffers a minor allergic reaction. If you have a family member with life-threatening allergies, it is imperative that you have a current EpiPen in your travel first aid kit. Antacids, anti-diarrhea medications, and laxatives are needed for bowel or gastrointestinal issues. You should also keep your kit stocked with a variety of cold and cough medications. Make sure that you have these medications available for every age group in your family.

Sprays and Ointments

It is important to have the appropriate sprays and ointments to treat the injuries before you wrap them up. Failing to treat the wounds and cuts with the right medications may lead to painful and dangerous infections. Start your kit with plenty of hydrocortisone ointment packets. This topical treatment is effective in dealing with varying degrees of skin redness, swelling, and itching. A bottle of pain spray will alleviate the discomfort associated with minor aches and pains immediately on contact. An antiseptic solution, such as hydrogen peroxide, will sterilize the wound and guard it against possible infection. You also need to ensure that your kit has an abundance of antibiotic ointments to prevent further contamination. Lastly, a bottle of aloe vera gel or burn ointment may come in handy when treating sunburns. If you need to dive into this supply at any time, it is important to make sure that you replenish your stockpile so that you are not caught without the necessary sprays and ointments.

Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the obvious medications and tools, there are a variety of miscellaneous items that may be invaluable in a medical emergency. Other essentials to keep in your emergency supply include a flashlight with fully charged batteries, a blanket, a whistle, hand warmers, a fire extinguisher, and copies of family medical documents and health insurance. It is also a good idea to have a first aid emergency guide to help you to know how to use all of these essentials if the need arises.

You can never fully prevent an accident or illness. However, you can take steps to ensure that your family is ready to handle these inconveniences. By having a stocked first aid kit, you will have the confidence that comes with knowing that you can deal with a variety of medical issues in your own home or on the road.

Tim Esterdahl

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