The Importance of having a First Aid Kit

One such item that is always either taken for granted or usually is never a part of one’s everyday life is a First Aid Kit. In all my travels and living away from home, a well equipped first aid kit has come handy, not only for myself but for my friends and family too.

Often, I have noticed the lack of knowledge and apathy most people have towards a first aid kit. Most of the times we don’t realize the importance and value of having a good first aid kit, at home, office or in the car as it can be a life saving tool. “For instance, if you have a cut injury and are bleeding profusely, a simple application of pressure to stop the bleeding with the help of sterile pads and tying with a roller gauze can be life saving until you reach the doctor”, says Dr. Shabana Saleem, MBBS, DNB (Family Medicine). So, before creating a first aid kit, it is always advisable to cross check with your family physician and take his/ her advice what you can keep in it.

Dr. Shabana gives us some valuable inputs on the importance of having a first aid kit, “First-aid kits are an absolute necessity for every home as it comprises of emergency medicines for unexpected minor illnesses or accidents.” She further adds, “It’s very important to have a first aid kit, so that you are able to take care of minor injuries and illnesses until you reach a doctor, to prevent them from getting aggravated.”

What should a First Aid kit contain?
First- aid kits are of  various kinds depending upon where it is being used, for example at home, in the car or while going on a picnic. Some of the points one should keep in mind while making a first aid kit are…

  • A first aid kit should be easy and convenient to carry.
  • A first aid kit should be kept within easy reach (but out of reach of children)
  • Check the kit regularly to replace any used items and also to check the expiry date.
  • It is always better to buy items of emergency kit in small packages, so that it occupies less space and that also be used before the expiry date and can be replaced at regular intervals.
  • Always read the label before using any medicine.
  • Adult medicine may not be suitable for infants/ children, check with your doctor before giving it to them.

Items to be kept in the first-aid kit

  • Absorbent (sterile ) cotton
  • Small roll of Sterile gauze or pads
  • Band aids
  • Antiseptic solution (Povidine \ Iodine)
  • Thermometer (oral\digital)
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive tape
  • Latex gloves(sterile)
  • Tourniquet
  • Crepe bandage
  • Tweezers

Medicines to be kept

Dr. Shabana provides a list of medication that can be safely kept in one’s first aid kit.

  • Anti pyretic: Paracetamol (Crocin\ Calpol 500mg) – used for fever ,syrups can be used for  children and rectal suppositories for infants .
  • Analgesic : Ibubrufen (brufen200 mg) or Diclofenac sodium (Voveran) for minor aches and pains and syrup Ibubruffen for children.
  • Anti-diarrhoel : Loperamide (Imodium) for loose stools.
  • Antihistamine : Cetrizine (Levocet)-for cold or any kind of minor allergy or insect bites.
  • Antacids: Pantarazole(pan 40mg) and liquid mucaine gel (syrup Digene) for acidity and gastritis.
  • Anti spasmodic: Dicyclomine(  Cyclopam) – for pain abdomen or Dymenorrhoea (pain during periods)
  • Antibiotic ointment (Soframycin ointment) for minor cuts and bruises. First clean with sterile cotton or gauze and apply antiseptic solution.
  • Anti-fungal cream: Co-Trimoxazole (Candid Cream) for fungal infection.
  • Cough syrup and lozenges-for cough and sore throat.
  • Anti emetic: Ondensterone (Zofer\ Ondem 4mg) for vomiting including motion sickness, for children syrup can be given.
  • Minor Burns: Silver Sulphadiazine ointment (Burnol) or Aloe Vera lotion for minor burns (first wash it with cold water and then apply).
  • Laxatives: Dulcolax tablets or suppositories for constipation.
  • Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) – to avoid dehydration after loose stools and or vomiting.
  • Calamine lotion – for minor allergy rash or insect bite, it provides as a soothing lotion.
  • Nasal drops (Otrivin adult\pediatric) – for blocked nose.
  • Eye drops (Ciplox eye drops) – for any eye infection.

Before creating your first aid kit, it is advisable that you check with your family physician who knows you and your entire family health history and will be able to guide you, just in case you are allergic to any kind of medication.

First Aid Kit for Infants

For Infants most of the same drugs with pediatric dosages can be used in the syrup form or in the form of rectal suppositories. Dr. Shabana mentions that there are some changes that you may have to make in your first aid kit, if you have an infant at home.

  • Thermometer preferable a rectal or an aural (one which is kept in the ear can be used).
  • Cold packs to reduce the swelling from bumps and bruises and also can be used during fever to reduce the body temperature.
  • Oral rehydration solution available for babies.
  • Aspirin should not be given in children.
  • Febrile convulsions (seizures during fever) are most commonly seen in toddlers and one should not panic at this time. Keep the babies airway and breathing clear, turn the face to one side and watch the baby carefully( your doctor may want you to explain the type and duration of the seizures)
  • A baby falling from the bed is another common accident which occurs when the baby is especially crawling. Check for any bleeding from mouth or the nose, watch for vomiting and detioration in the level of consciousness and visit a doctor in case there is any doubt.

With inputs from Dr. Shabana Saleem, MBBS, DNB (Family Medicine).

One thought on “The Importance of having a First Aid Kit

  • July 28, 2011 at 11:12 am

    excellent info !


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