It’s a good idea for any responsible adult to keep a first aid kit in their car or at home (or both). Whether you frequently spend time outdoors on hikes or you just like to know where all of your supplies are for accidents at home or on the road, a good first aid kit can save the day.
Building a first aid kit is easy, but they’re all different. If yours is going to be small, you need to be more careful about what you put in. Base the contents on your needs.
Not sure how to get started? You don’t have to get a pre-made non-personalized kit at the store. We’re here to help you make your own with a few common first aid kit supplies.
Keep reading for our first aid kit checklist.
Some of the most important things that you’ll keep in your first aid kit are hygiene items. They may not seem as important as the “aid” items, but if you’re tending to injuries, you want to keep yourself clean.
You should have some method of cleaning your hands. The easiest and most eco-friendly option is a small bottle of hand sanitizer. You can also get a packet of individually-wrapped wipes for easy use. These things aren’t only good for cleaning up before attending to wounds, but they’re also good for any kind of daily use.
You should also have a pack of disposable latex or nitrile gloves. If you end up having to attend to a wound, these will keep you and your “patient” safe.
Most minor wounds are easily handled by a good first aid kit. Even moderate wounds can be managed until you’re able to seek more serious medical aid.
You want to get a package of bandages in a variety of sizes, from the ones that are small enough for a fingertip to the ones that are large enough for a knee. These are affordable and readily available at most pharmacies.
Beyond this, you’re going to want to get some gauze and some adhesive to make sure that it stays in place.
Before you cover the wound, make sure that you have things in your kit for cleaning the wound. You can get alcohol wipes at most pharmacies, but if you can find a small bottle of alcohol or peroxide that will fit into your kit, that’s a better option.
Bring along some antibiotic ointment to prevent any potential infection.
It’s never a bad idea to include superglue in your first aid kit. While this may be considered an extra item and it serves purposes outside of wound care, it can also be used to close up wounds in a pinch.
First aid kits aren’t limited to wounds! What happens if there’s an unexpected sickness on the road?
The first thing that you need, illness wise, is any medication that someone in the household needs. If you have a spare inhaler or epi-pen, this is where they need to go.
Beyond that, keep a few common over the counter medications with you. Anti-inflammatory medications are good for headaches and the pain associated with small wounds. Allergy medication will keep you protected in the event of minor allergic reactions (or moderate ones so you have time to get to a doctor).
It’s also a good idea to keep an antacid.
If you have room, we suggest keeping a thermometer that doesn’t have to go in the mouth (like this Ankovo thermometer) in your kit to get a quick read on anyone who’s feeling unwell.
For Other Injuries
So what about more serious injuries? While you’ll need to see a doctor as soon as possible if you’re injured, you should still keep supplies on hand to hold you over in the meantime.
There are plenty of braces available over the counter at pharmacies and sports stores. Wrist, knee, and ankle braces are all great for a large first aid kit. They’ll add support to the hurting area so that you can make it to a doctor.
It’s also a good idea to have fabric bandages. These ones come in a roll and often have velcro adhesive or a small hook to hold them together. They’re good for wrapping sore areas for more support and less unnecessary movement. If you have enough, you can even make a makeshift brace.
Some things that need to go into first aid kits aren’t about first aid at all, at least not on the surface.
Include a flashlight in your first aid kit. It will help you provide aid in dark circumstances, but it’s also necessary to have it on hand any time in the event of a power outage or if you’re stranded at night.
Keep sunscreen in your first aid kit. Anytime you’re outdoors, you should be wearing sunscreen. When you keep it in the kit you know you’re never going to forget it.
On that note, a small bottle of aloe or sunburn spray also makes a great addition to the kit.
You should also bring food with you in your kit. Items that last a long time, like protein bars and trail mix, are great as “just in case” foods. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water as well.
Building a First Aid Kit? No Problem
When you’re building a first aid kit for your home or car, put in the things that make the most sense for you. These suggestions are only a starting point, but they should give you a good idea of how you should be breaking down your kit into categories.
Some people will need larger kits while others are content with a packet of bandages and anti-inflammatories. Choose what fits right for you.
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