12 Supplies for Your First Aid Kit
Even with the right precautions, accidents can happen. Cooking dinner can inadvertently lead to a burn, taking a spin out on your bicycle can lead to a scrape, and walking through the woods can cause a case of poison ivy. The risk shouldn’t stop you, but it should encourage you to be prepared. In any case, a first aid kit is your best preventive measure for when accidents do happen. A simple toolkit with a few supplies can help you mitigate minor injuries and prevent any unnecessary damage in the process. So, whether you’re planning a weekend trip to the great outdoors, or simply adding on to your home supply, consider stocking up on a few key products 一 all of which can be found at your local community pharmacy.
Your pharmacy is well-stocked with all of the tools you need to stay safe, no matter where your adventures take you. In addition to prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, your pharmacy has a variety of medical supplies for sale. Next time you take a trip inside, then, don’t forget to stop and survey the shelves. Chances are, you can find everything you need to create a comprehensive first aid kit.
Here are a few products you don’t want to skip out on:
Just the Necessities: 12 Items for Your Checklist
- Adhesive bandages 一 Of all the common first aid items, bandages are a no-brainer. A quick strip-and-stick bandage can stop bleeding from minor cuts and prevent bacteria from entering the wound. In your first aid kit, keep a variety of adhesive bandages in different shapes and sizes so that you can easily cover any kind of wound.
- Gauze pads 一 In the event of a larger cut, gauze pads can be helpful to safely dress the wound and encourage faster healing. Gauze pads are typically made out of cotton, which wicks away blood and fluids while forming a protective barrier over the skin. Unlike adhesive bandages, gauze pads don’t run the risk of sticking to a wound. They can be secured with medical tape or self-adhesive wraps. In addition to gauze pads, consider looking into rolled gauze bandages.
- Self-adherent wraps 一 To secure gauze, keep a few rolls of self-adherent wrap on hand. In addition to their adhesive properties, they can be used for compression to prevent any unnecessary blood loss; and, in other cases, to treat sore muscles or sprains. Their versatility makes them a staple to have on hand.
- Antiseptic wipes 一 To prevent infection in any minor scrape, cut, or burn, keep a handful of antiseptic wipes in your kit. Antiseptic wipes sterilize the affected area of the skin and keep bacteria out. Benzalkonium chloride (BZK) wipes are a popular option among healthcare professionals, as they are effective against bacteria but won’t dry out the skin (like traditional alcohol wipes).Other disinfectants include povidone iodine solution and alcohol swabs.
- Antibiotic ointment 一 In addition to antiseptic wipes, add a few tubes of antibiotic ointment to your kit. For minor cuts, buy a triple-antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin. Neosporin contains several different bacteria-fighting agents (neomycin, bacitracin, and polymyxin) that treat small wounds. For skin irritation 一 like bug bites, poison oak or ivy, or rash 一 try a hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone, which is the topical version of the hormone cortisone, can soothe irritation and reduce pain in mild skin conditions.
- Thermometer 一 As cold and flu season approaches, it’s important to be on the lookout for one of the most telling signs of sickness: fever. A temperature of more than 100.4°F is considered a fever in adults, and a temperature of more than 99.5°F is a fever for kids (when measured orally). To get an accurate temperature check, keep a thermometer in your first aid kit. There are a number of options available 一 including children’s thermometers, speed-read thermometers, and disposable thermometers 一 so head to your community pharmacy to find out what their availability is like.
- Tweezers 一 Tweezers are a handy tool to have, especially for a family on-the-go. A reliable pair of tweezers can effectively remove debris from the skin, from dirt to splinters to glass, and prevent infection.
- Scissors 一 Like tweezers, scissors are another staple. Keep a pair on hand to effectively cut bandages, gauze, and other dressings for wound care.
- Splint 一 In the event of a bad slip or fall, you may fracture a bone. In a pinch, it’s best to be prepared with a splint. Splints are protective devices that can immobilize a limb and prevent bone damage while you seek out further medical attention. DIY splints can work in an emergency, but having one in your first aid kit can save valuable time in a serious situation.
- Instant cold packs 一 Whether you strain a muscle while playing sports or sprain an ankle while walking the dog, instant cold packs can help reduce swelling and minimize pain. Rather than using a traditional ice pack, keep an instant cold pack in your first aid kit for faster use.
- CPR mask 一 CPR is a lifesaving procedure, and if you aren’t already CPR-certified, you should be. It’s one thing to give CPR to a family member, but it’s another to give it to a stranger, whose medical history you don’t know. In this case, it’s best to use protective gear like a CPR mask to prevent transmission of saliva or other bodily fluids and reduce the risk of disease. Most emergency responders use CPR masks, but you can keep one in your own first aid kit.
- Common medications 一 In addition to first aid supplies, it’s a good idea to keep a few bottles of common medications that you may need in your kit. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and antihistamines are just a few staples, but for a full list, look to our blog, The Top 10 Medications to Keep in Your Cabinet.
The First Step to First Aid
Your local community pharmacy probably stocks each of these products (and many more). This makes it the perfect place to get all of the supplies you need to set up your own first aid kit 一 so grab a basket and get to shopping. And don’t forget: while you’re there, pick up a prescription, get a vaccine, and get to know a friendly face.
You’ll be glad you did.
Don’t have a home pharmacy, or looking to find a new one? Check out our Pharmacy Finder to find the best facility and prepare for any accident that comes your way.