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First aid kit

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You should make sure that you and your family are prepared to treat common symptoms, injuries, and emergencies. By planning ahead, you can create a well-stocked home first aid kit. Keep all of your supplies in one location so you know exactly where they are when you need them.

The following items are basic supplies. You can get most of them at a pharmacy or supermarket.

Bandages and dressings:

  • Adhesive bandages (Band-Aid or similar brand); assorted sizes
  • Aluminum finger splints
  • Elastic (ACE) bandage for wrapping wrist, ankle, knee, and elbow injuries
  • Eye shield, pads, and bandages
  • Latex or non-latex gloves to reduce contamination risk
  • Sterile gauze pads, non-stick (Adaptic-type, petrolatum or other) gauze and adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandage for wrapping injuries and making an arm sling

Home health equipment:

  • Blue "baby bulb" or "turkey baster" suction device
  • Disposable, instant ice bags
  • First-aid manual
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Latex or non-latex gloves to reduce contamination risk
  • Save-A-Tooth storage device in case a tooth is broken or knocked out; contains a travel case and salt solution
  • Sterile cotton balls
  • Sterile cotton-tipped swabs
  • Syringe, medicine cup, or medicine spoon for giving specific doses of medicine
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers, to remove ticks and small splinters

Medicine for cuts and injuries:

  • Antiseptic solution or wipes, such as hydrogen peroxide, povidone-iodine, or chlorhexidine
  • Antibiotic ointment, such as bacitracin, polysporin, or mupirocin
  • Sterile eyewash, such as contact lens saline solution
  • Calamine lotion for stings or poison ivy
  • Hydrocortisone cream, ointment, or lotion for itching

Be sure to check your kit regularly. Replace any supplies that are getting low or which have expired.

Other supplies may be included in a first aid kit. This depends on the area in which you plan to spend time.

References

Tonna, JE, Lewin, MR. Wilderness preparation, equipment, and medical supplies. In: Auerbach, PS. ed. Auerbach: Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2011:chap 91.

Review Date:1/13/2015
Reviewed By:Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, emergency medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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