You see that?
That bag has a permanent home on the top shelf of my pantry. Inside of it are all of the basic necessities to treat all sorts of minor injuries that don’t require professional medical attention.
You know, like the time I accidentally touched a hot stove element?
Or when I tried to take my fingertip off with the mandolin?
Or when I tried to take my knuckle off with the cheese grater?
Okay…maybe I need to be a little more careful in the kitchen, but having a well-stocked first aid kit is key to building your resilience towards the bad things that can happen in your life any day (or every day if you’re accident prone).
But what should you have in your kit?
The truth is that this will change depending on your training and skill, and your level of comfort with the equipment. For years, I had a well-stocked trauma bag that I kept with me almost all the time. I was a volunteer firefighter and first responder, so it was just another tool of the trade for me.
Now that I’m not running out to emergencies all the time, I’ve downgraded to a simple first aid kit, one that is suitable for any house. Here’s what I keep around:
- Bandaids, lots of bandaids. I keep a wide variety of styles and sizes of bandaids, including some specialty bandaids for those hard to bandage places like toes, knuckles, and fingertips. I also keep a regular supply of “fun” bandaids for when my six year-old needs something a little extra.
- Alcohol or Benzalkonium wipes. It is incredibly important to clean and disinfect a wound, or it could get infected and lead to serious complications like septic shock. Alcohol and Benzalkonium (BZK) work basically the same way, but BZK doesn’t have the “sting” that is associated with rubbing alcohol. I don’t recommend using hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound because it can actually damage or kill tissue.
- Gauze Pads. I keep a stockpile of both sterile and non-sterile gauze pads to use when something is bleeding significantly, or when the wound is too big for a bandaid. The sterile gauze should go directly on the wound, and the non-sterile gauze can be used if the first piece of gauze starts to soak through.
- First Aid Tape. There’s lots of different varieties, but for most people I would recommend keeping some basic white tape in a spool, along with some specialty tape for sensitive skin.
- Ice packs and Hot Packs. There are both single-use and reusable varieties available, which one you should use depends on whether you’re close to your house, or out and about.
- Nitrile Gloves. Nitrile is hypo-allergenic, so it won’t affect people with latex allergies. Gloves are important to prevent you from coming into contact with bodily fluids.
- Tensor Bandages and Triangular Bandages. These both help to immobilize an injured extremity, and can be very useful for strains, sprains, and even fractures until you can get the patient to a medical professional. They can also be used in a wide variety of other ways to help someone who has been injured.
There are lots of other things you can include in your kit, and most standard kits will include many useful items, but these are your core products that will help you with most basic injuries.
Come and visit our First Aid Products store, and find a kit that works for you. Until the end of September, all of our first aid kits are 10% off with coupon code HOME19.