First Aid Kits

First aid kits are an essential item to have as a first line of treatment for injuries or illnesses that occur at home or at work. It is recommended that a basic first aid kit contain the following items (list not complete, but just a suggested starting list):

  • Assorted sizes of adhesive bandages, 10-25 in total
  • 2 doses of aspirin, 81mg each (for use by adults only; children should never be given aspirin)
  • Non-aspirin pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Anti-itch cream (Campho-Phenique, Calamine lotion, diphenhydramine creams, for example)
  • Pocket mask with disposable one-way valve, or single-use disposable breathing barrier
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Non-latex gloves (for a work or travel kit, at least two pair of each size medium, large, and small; for a home kit, at least two pair of the sizes that fits the family members)
  • Re-closable plastic bags (can be used to hold ice, or for disposing of soiled gloves and other items)
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive tape
  • 2-3 rolls of gauze
  • 2-3 Elastic bandages, such as ACE or Coban
  • 3-5 sterile gauze pads of sizes 2×2 inches, 4×4 inches, and 5×9 inches
  • 1-2 triangle bandages
  • 3-5 antiseptic wipes or towelettes
  • Emergency phone numbers (including the number to Poison Control, 1-800-222-1222)
  • First Aid manual

If you are making a home kit, or a family kit for your car, boat, or other vehicle, also include any prescription medications such as an Epi-Pen or Twinject, as well.

When deciding which kit to stock or purchase, think about where it will be stored and what the purpose of the kit is: is it a small kit just for your family, kept in the home? Are you putting together a kit for your workplace, and expecting to keep the kit at the receptionist desk? When deciding how large the kit will be, consider how many people are in the area; a home kit, for example, can be smaller and more portable when it’s just three or four or five family members, but a first aid kit for a company of 50 needs a larger kit with more of each item, and you may want to consider adding other items based on what kind of workplace injuries you might see.

Finally, once you have your kit stocked, it is important to inspect the kit at least quarterly, and preferably monthly, and to discard and replace any expired items. Also, ensure that everyone who is expected to have access to the kit be aware that used items must be replaced as soon as feasible.

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