The Benefits of Keeping a First Aid Kit
They always say that accidents happen within a few miles of home, right? As humans we feel so invincible, from the time we take our first steps nearly until our last breaths. We see bad things happen to other people and we think to ourselves, "That will never be me. That will never happen to me." You have no idea. In the blink of an eye, everything you know and everything you take for granted can be changed forever. There's something to be said for being prepared. From bandaging a paper cut to saving someone's life, first aid is a must—and you will need supplies to make the healing happen.
First aid is the provision of emergency care for an illness or injury until actual medical treatment can be accessed if needed. First aid can range from kissing a boo-boo to treating a gunshot wound.
A first aid kit is a box or bag that contains the necessary items for providing emergency care.
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is the providing of rescue breathing and chest compressions to maintain a heart beat during an extreme emergency. Training is provided by the American Red Cross. CPR doesn't require any gear unless by preference. Mouth guards are available for purchase to protect you from fluid exchange during rescue breathing.
AED stands for automatic external defibrillator. These are relatively new rescue devices that allow the layperson with little to no training to shock a heart back to a healthy beat.
Reasons to keep a first aid kit:
- Prevent infection
- Prevent excessive blood loss
- Prevent scarring
- Prevent an acute injury from becoming a chronic problem
- Prevent death
- First-Aid Guide - MayoClinic.com
Learn how to give first aid in emergency situations; more than 50 topics covered.
- First Aid & Safety
Keeping your child safe is your top priority. Learn how to protect your child inside the house and out, what to do in an emergency, how to stock a first-aid kit, where to call for help, and more.
What You Need
- Antiseptic wash
- Gauze squares
- Gauze rolls
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
- Neosporin or other triple antibiotic ointment or cream
- Medical tape (plastic or paper)
- ACE wrap (2-inch and 4-inch)
- Hot/Cold pack
- Small scissors
- Alcohol wipes
- Bee sting kit
- A selection of bandages (flexible, waterproof, sport, etc.)
- Sterile gloves
- Sterile water
- Self-adhesive tape
- Arm sling
- Nail Clippers
- Sunburn treatment (aloe product)
- Steroid cream
- Eye wash
- Small flashlight
- Assembling a first aid kit
A list of items to be assembled in a basic or advanced medical first aid kit.
Places to Keep a First Aid Kit
Kits can contain as much or as little as you deem necessary for the place/time. Take a small kit with you when you travel. A mini-kit can be made up to fit in a purse with select items, or a slightly larger and more comprehensive kit can be stored in a suitcase during extensive travel. Kits can be kept in anything as small as a Ziploc snack bag for portability.
Basic Wound Care
Cuts and scrapes cause a break in the skin and sometimes a penetration to muscle tissue. Other wounds include: punctures, bites, broken blisters, burns.
- Stop the bleeding. Apply pressure with a clean gauze square.
- You may want to allow the wound to bleed for a moment - bleeding helps to clean out possible debris in the wound.
- Wash out the wound. If there is debris in the wound, run water from the faucet. If you cannot clear the debris on your own, you may need to visit the hospital to have it debrided.
Apply an ointment and a clean bandage. Keeping wounds covered and moist helps them to heal faster and prevents some scarring.
- Change your bandage daily. If you notice any increase in redness, discharge, swelling or pain, see your doctor.
- If your dressing (be it a bandage or gauze) sticks to your wound when you remove it, moisten it with water first and the slowly peel it back. Tearing dry dressing from a wound can remove some of the good, healing tissues that the wound needs.
When You Need a Doctor
- When the bleeding won't stop
- When an infection starts
- When you've hit your head
- When the cut is deep and needs stitches
- When the cut is over a tendon and you cannot move a joint as a result
- When the pain gets worse
- When moving something hurts
- When you are going to need a tetanus shot
- When you are bitten and the skin is broken
- When there is a severe burn
- When there is an allergic reaction to a sting
First Aid Training
The American Red Cross provides community courses for:
- First Aid/CPR/AED for Schools and the Community
- First Aid and Preparedness
- CPR - Adult
- CPR - Child and Infant
- AED - Adult and Child
- Sport Safety Training
- Babysitter's Training
- First Aid for Children
- Pet First Aid
They also provide coursework for professional rescuers:
- Emergency Response
- CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer
- Administering Emergency Oxygen
- Preventing Disease Transmission
What If The Wound Won't Heal?
Talk to your doctor about wound-healing approaches. There are techniques that can be applied by your physician, a nurse practitioner or a therapist. There are also wound clinics that specialize in healing those difficult wounds. Things like diabetes and vascular diseases can cause wound healing to be slow. Seek medical attention immediately if you think the wound is healing too slowly or not at all.