If someone in your household gets a minor injury or illness, do you have the necessary supplies on hand to help them? A well-stocked first-aid kit is essential for every home and can save you time, worry, and trips to the store when someone doesn’t feel well. While a first-aid kit should never replace professional medical consultation, having the right products on hand can help you treat those situations that don’t require visits to the doctor or clinic. Each home’s first-aid kit should be tailored to the individual needs and health concerns of your household. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be sure to always keep first-aid kits and all medicines out of the reach of children. Keep products, medications, and supplies in their original, tamper-resistant containers and make sure each item is properly labeled to reflect the exact contents and recommendations for use.
- You don’t have to purchase a special first-aid kit to get started. Tackle boxes, toolboxes, and even lunch boxes can serve as containers for your first-aid supplies. A plastic container with a well-fitting lid can also suffice, with supplies organized in zippered plastic bags. Just make sure that the container you choose is big enough to hold everything you need, closes securely, and is labeled so that it can be easily located when you need it.
- Inside the container, put a list of any allergies that members of your household have, particularly medicine allergies. Also include emergency numbers, physician numbers, and after-hours contact information, as well as poison control contact information.
- Include items for wound care, such as various bandage sizes, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic, and antibacterial ointment.
- It’s a good idea to have a few different types of pain relief and fever-reducing medications, as well as a thermometer.
- Include over-the-counter medications for stomach ailments, including antacids and treatments for vomiting and diarrhea.
- You may also want to have an over-the-counter cold, cough, and flu medications on hand, such as decongestants, expectorants, and cough suppressants.
- Allergy medicines, either prescription or over-the-counter, and antihistamines are also a good idea. If anyone in your household has severe allergic reactions, be sure to stock extra epinephrine autoinjectors. Cortisone and other topical creams can be helpful for rashes and bug bites.
After you’ve put together your home’s first-aid kit, it’s a good idea to take pictures of the contents (or make a list) and ask your doctor, pediatrician, or another trusted medical professional to review what you have and to make suggestions for additions or revisions.
Check your kit periodically to see if products have expired or what supplies need to be replenished or replaced.