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First-Aid Kit Essentials That Every Family Should Have

May 29, 2019

first-aid kit for families

When it comes to your family’s health, there are certain pieces of a first-aid kit that are essential to have for any and all family outings, regardless of your medical skills and capabilities. Having adequate supplies is not at all to say you should take it upon yourself to provide comprehensive medical care for your family, but having basic supplies for an acute response can certainly help produce better outcomes or assist with minor issues.

First of all, it is recommended that all people go through basic CPR and first-aid classes through the American Red Cross or your local hospital. These courses, when taught properly, can help individuals know how to respond in a medical emergency, potentially performing life-saving measures in response to cardiac emergencies and incidents of choking.

In addition to basic knowledge and training, here’s a list of first-aid essentials that every family should have in their kit:

Must-Have Basics

  • Antibiotic Ointment: While many believe that hydrogen peroxide is needed to clean out cuts, simply having triple antibiotic ointment is an effective standard for killing potentially harmful bacteria in wounds. When possible, the wound should first be debrided with direct pressure from the water to ensure foreign debris is removed.
  • Band-Aids or Non-adherent Pads: These should be applied over an open wound to prevent foreign debris from entering and causing infection. The wound dressing should be secured with either an elastic bandage or surgical tape to ensure that it does not slip.
  • Tweezers: In the event a foreign material, such as a splinter, gets stuck in the skin, having tweezers is beneficial for removal prior to dressing the wound. It should be noted that if the object is lodged deep in the skin or body, removal should be avoided in order to ensure that excessive blood loss does not occur in a non-controlled environment.
  • Thermometer: A thermometer is always a necessity to rule in or out fever in the event an individual begins feeling ill. Being able to distinguish if a fever is present may help one understand if the response is natural to a dietary interaction or if the body is responding to a more systemic issue, requiring medical attention.
  • Antihistamine: In terms of medications, Benadryl is recommended if an individual has an unexpected allergic reaction. If an allergy is known to cause anaphylaxis, an epi-pen should be kept close by in case of an episode of anaphylaxis.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever: Additionally, ibuprofen and acetaminophen should be kept in the kit for the purpose of pain relief and inflammation management. Before the administration of any medication, it should be noted whether or not an individual has an allergy to it or any other secondary adverse reactions.

Essentials for Emergencies

  • Tourniquet: A tourniquet is extremely valuable for any first aid kit, especially if the family is engaging in outdoor activities or work around the house that may be dangerous and hold risk for injury. The ability to stop bleeding from a major artery with the application of a tourniquet may help provide damage control necessary until the proper medical professionals arrive.
  • Splint: In the event a fracture is suspected, immobilizing the body part with a splint and an ace wrap may help prevent displacement of the fracture, limiting the amount of damage and potential complications that can occur following injury.
  • Sling: You may also consider adding a sling and swathe to your first aid kit in order to help immobilize the shoulder following a suspected injury. As there is such a great amount of range of motion at the shoulder, limiting movement may help prevent secondary or lasting damage from occurring.

When to Seek Help

The contents of a first-aid kit are not meant to supplement professional medical care, Instead, they are only there to help respond in dire medical emergencies or help care for extremely minor medical issues, such as abrasions and small lacerations.

If your child has suffered a non-emergent illness or injury, call Holly Springs Pediatrics at (919) 249-4700 to schedule an appointment. If you feel their condition is life-threatening, call 911 immediately.