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First Aid Kits

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Being First Aid Kit Ready!

Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. It is important to have the right emergency medicines and supplies and a step in that direction is to start with a simple first- aid kit. Whether you or your family are traveling or at home, a well-stocked first aid kit is essential in keeping you safe and healthy. A first aid kit usually contains supplies and equipment used in administering first aid and can be purchased at a store or assembled by an individual. There is a wide variation in the contents of first aid kits based on the knowledge and experience of those putting it together or different first aid emergencies. A first aid kit may be customized for home, industry, travel or sports requirements. A well- stocked first aid kit can help you respond effectively to common injuries and emergencies, reduce recovery time, prevent temporary or lifelong disability and even save lives.

What is a first aid kit?

A first aid kit is a collection of emergency medicine supplies and equipment used in a medical emergency situation until some expert medical care arrives (if the need arises). In a medical context, a first aid is the kind of emergency care given to an injured or ill person with the help of a first aid kit before treatment by specifically trained medical personnel becomes available. This makes it all the more necessary to have a first aid kit handy and provide treatment during critical times. Most first aid kits contain adhesive bandages for controlling bleeding, protective equipment such as gloves, a barrier for performing rescue breathing and CPR, regular strength pain medications and sometimes instructions on how to perform first aid.

Types of First Aid Kits

First aid kits come in many shapes and sizes and some kits are designed for specific activities, such as outdoors, sports and industries.  First Aid kits can be assembled in any type of container and this is usually determined whether the product is commercially produced or assembled at home. Standard kits are often available in durable plastic boxes, portable pouches and wall mounted medicine cabinets. The type of container varies in size depending on its utility and number of people who may need it.

The different types of first aid kits usually include pocket first aid kits; office and industry first aid kits; vehicle or travel first aid kits; sports first aid kits and home first aid kits. These are usually commercially produced and have multiple items in them. Many countries make it mandatory for all job sites and workplaces to have a first aid kit available on the office site to respond to any medical emergencies. The contents of these first aid kits vary depending on the type of industry, number of employees and potential hazards present at the workplace. There are also specific first aid kits for developing countries or tropical areas due to the nature of terrain and general presence of diseases like malaria and water borne diseases. Such kits usually contain extra items like sterile emergency medical equipment suture kits, malaria medication and water purification tablets. Travel first aid kits usually depend on where you are going and a longer trip might require more supplies than a shorter one. Small-size first aid kits are recommended to fit easily into the luggage.

Besides regular use in first aid, many first aid items can also be used during survival situations. For example, petroleum jelly and alcohol pads, may be used to start a fire in a wilderness or emergency situation.

Contents of a First Aid Kit

A well- stocked first- aid kit with the basic essentials is indispensable. Basic supplies in a first aid kit generally are : Adhesive tape; antibiotic ointment, antiseptic solution or towelettes, bandages, including a roll of elastic wrap and bandage strips (Band-Aid) in assorted sizes; instant cold packs, cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs; disposable latex or synthetic gloves; duct tape, gauze pads in assorted sizes; first-aid manual; petroleum jelly; plastic bags for the disposal of contaminated materials; safety pins in assorted sizes; scissors and tweezers; soap or instant hand sanitizer; saline solution; thermometer; triangular bandage; bulb suction device for flushing out wounds and flashlights.

Medications usually include: aspirin and pain relievers, calamine lotion, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, personal medications that do not need to be refrigerated, anti- diarrhea medication, oral antihistamine, medicine cup or spoon.

Precautions

Whether you purchase a first aid kit or put together one yourself, make sure your first aid kit has all the items you may need.

  • Updating your first aid kit every six months is important to ensure that all supplies are in a working condition and all expired or contaminated items are replaced.
  • One should keep in mind that all drugs have a 'use by' date and should be disposed off correctly after they have expired.
  • All first aid items should be clearly labelled and organized for easier access when using the first aid kit.
  • Include any personal medications and emergency number of your health care provider. Check in with your family physician for any specific medications and first aid supplies you or your family may need during emergency in addition to the ones that are already available in your first aid kit.
  • Most importantly, more than two people should know the location of the first aid kit during emergency.

So having a first aid kit in your home or workplace is a wise idea. You will be at ease whether you are at home or outdoors, knowing that a first aid kit is available for use when accidents happen to you or your family. Plus, it will allow you to have all the medical supplies that you need in a central location! So instead of rummaging through all drawers looking for a small little band aid box, simply look for the first aid kit that has all of your supplies. Of course, it is always better to stay safe at all times by taking necessary precautions.