The Benefits of Keeping a First Aid Kit

Updated on February 6, 2017
Kat07 profile image

I have a degree in occupational therapy. My studies have also covered massage therapy and healthcare administration.

First Aid

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

What You Need

The Basics:

  • 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
  • Tweezers
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Aspirin
  • Bee sting kit
  • Thermometer
  • A selection of bandages (flexible, waterproof, sport, etc.)

The Extras:

  • Betadyne
  • Sterile gloves
  • Sterile water
  • Self-adhesive tape
  • Arm sling
  • Nail Clippers
  • Sunburn treatment (aloe product)
  • Benadryl
  • Steroid cream
  • Eye wash
  • Small flashlight

Places to Keep a First Aid Kit

  • Home
  • Office
  • Camper
  • Car/Truck
  • Boat

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Apply an ointment and a clean bandage. Keeping wounds covered and moist helps them to heal faster and prevents some scarring.

  4. 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.


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    • profile image

      Ranjima 3 years ago

      Really love it ,so informative and thanks

    • profile image

      RIKSHITA 4 years ago


    • profile image

      MUSKAN 5 years ago


    • profile image

      secret 5 years ago


    • profile image

      akshat 5 years ago

      good information

    • profile image

      swathi 5 years ago

      gud job

    • profile image

      kunal 6 years ago

      this is a good job

    • profile image

      shraddha123 6 years ago

      it is really use full v.v..... good

    • profile image

      taruna grover 7 years ago


    • ncuxapa_ profile image

      ncuxapa_ 7 years ago

      Nice. I will always bring my first- aid box but I did not see Adrenaline there..or I missed it?

    • bmtphoenix profile image

      bmtphoenix 7 years ago from Austin, TX

      Good job putting so much useful information in one place.

    • profile image

      esha 7 years ago


    • profile image

      esha 7 years ago

      excrlleny matter and helps a lot

    • profile image

      HIMANSHU MOHARE 8 years ago


    • profile image

      himanshu 8 years ago


    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      Very informative hub. I love it! There is really no substitute to being prepared.

    • Kat07 profile image

      Kat07 9 years ago from Tampa

      We just had a baby, and the American Red Cross makes first aid kits for babies - we bought ours at Target. It's got some handy devices included!

    • profile image

      Suresha Keerthirathne 9 years ago

      Yes, It’s true. everyone should be considered about the word "first Aid" and to keep a first aid kit everywhere you go & stay. It saves everyone’s form a dangerous situation until doctor comes or not. We cannot say exactly where the victims and when it is going to be happened. So better to keep a first aid box and to have a knowledge of it. You will really know how it is important.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

      It took a day was not the expensive and we can make a difference.

    • Kat07 profile image

      Kat07 10 years ago from Tampa

      Bob, I think it's wonderful that you 2 are certified. If only more people would be so proactive and go get the training . . .

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 10 years ago from New Brunswick

      My wife and I have certified training as first aid providers and have several kits, i always have a few items, gloves, bandages etc, in my backpack.

    • Kat07 profile image

      Kat07 10 years ago from Tampa

      Oh, I agree completely - if you spend a lot of time outdoors, a first aid kit is a must-have. Especially if you are out in the wilderness alone or with a few people and away from civilization and immediate help. Then things like thermal blankets, bottled water, etc. become part of your first aid kit too. I'm amazed at the number of people I know that don't carry anything with them.

    • profile image

      Woodwose 10 years ago

      A first aid kit and knowledge about what it is used for and how to use it is of utmost priority, especially if you're in the areas that I am often finding myself in.. I carry one in my backpack and over the years have added to it as I have to be my own doctor when out in the wilderness. Having a first aid kit is actually a no brainer no matter where you travel to. Good information here, Thanks.

    • Kat07 profile image

      Kat07 10 years ago from Tampa

      Good point, Stacie. Especially if you are going to care for someone you don't know, gloves are a must-have. But treating family members for cuts and scrapes might not necessitate them. I think you just have to decide how prepared you want to be!

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 10 years ago from Seattle

      Good info, but I don't think gloves should be considered an extra. They are very important to use when treating another person. I even carry them in my car - just in case. I've heard too many stories about rescuers being infected with different viruses not to understand the importance of avoiding blood to blood contact.

      However, if someone needed help, I wouldn't let the absence of gloves stop me from helping.