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Home First Aid Kit: A Must Have!

May 26, 2008
A first aid kit is not just a set of items that you store in your washroom and contains only band-aids, alcohol and analgesics, it is something more. There are various types of First Aid Kits, the most common is the one stored inside the house.

What do we mean if we have a complete set of first aid kit? What is that for and how or when to use it? What comprises each first aid kit? These are the questions we ask ourselves when we consider buying one for our home.

A first aid kit is a set of supplies and equipments for giving first aid, hence the name. A variety of equipments are in it like:

* Bandages - to control bleeding
* Regular strength pain medications
* Gauze
* Disinfectants - like alcohol and Povidone iodine
* Personal protective equipments - like gloves
* Breathing apparatus - to protect you from performing the expired air resuscitation, EAR and cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR

Moreover, the typical contents and most commonly used are the dressings which should be sterile. This comes in different types like sterile eye pads; adherent or non-adherent pads and burn dressings. These are sterile pad soaked in a cool gel. Bandages can be non-adhesive; examples are gauze roller, which should absorbent, breathable. The elastic type are the ones usually used for sprains and pressure bandages. Adhesive elastic roller types are very effective when it comes to applying pressure. They are also very durable and waterproof. Triangular bandages are commonly taught in Basic First Aid Course that was used as slings, tourniquets and to tie splints. Adhesive bandages are the straight adhesive type such as band-aids, sticking plasters. Butterfly bandage types are actually the two common examples as well.

Instruments that should be present in your First Aid bag are the hypoallergenic tape because you don't want the patient to develop "Urticaria" or itchiness with reddish skin markings. Trauma shears can basically be used for cutting clothing and general use. An irrigation syringe can be used for cleaning wounds. Rubber suction bulbs are good for clearing the airways and can be applied to an unconscious patient.

Equipments like Personal protective Equipments or PPE are important. This is especially in emergency cases where in hazardous materials can even hurt the rescuer. An example would be in organophosphate or insecticide poisoning. Eyecups, gloves, CPR mask or a face shield, sterile eyewash, emergency blanket, thermometer, penlight and even instant acting cold packs.

Certain medications should be in your bag like antimicrobials. This would include antibiotic ointments and anti itch ointments. Examples would include Hydrocortisone cream, Antihistamine cream such as Benadryl and Calamine lotion among others. You also need pain killers or analgesics. These are essential for the fever to disappear. Examples are Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory drug, which is most of the time more valuable than the latter drug. Aspirin, for some, is also applicable. Diphenhydramine, which is anti-histamine, can lessen the allergic reaction seen in few patients. Aloe Vera gel can be used for a variety of injuries like burns, sunburns and dry skin.

Burn gels are water based gels, which acts as a cooling agent and often has mild anaesthetic components. A good example is Lidocaine with antiseptics components like that of tea tree oil. Epinephrine auto-injector is also commonly included in this first aid kit, especially if you are in wild nature trips such as summer camps. This epinephrine injector is used for anaphylactic shock, which is commonly known as severe allergic attacks. Thus, activated charcoal and syrup of ipecac are electively placed in first aid kits because it is for poison treatment. A haemostatic agent that is called QuikClot is sometimes included especially in military kits; this is mainly to control severe and profuse bleeding.

If ever you are trapped somewhere and you do not have anything else but your first aid kit you and you are wondering what you can do. Well, the first thing to do with your first aid kit would be to call help. It would also be helpful if you have a basic first aid manual, which can guide you in any type of situation. This is really necessary because in emergency cases, we get to panic easily. When this happens we cannot think straight. A manual will be able to help us go through it. It would also be advisable to list down the pages for specific cases. Just take note of the more possible accidents.

Moreover, keep a number of your family and friends, as well as emergency hotlines on your mobile or near your landline. Make sure the numbers are visible to your children as well. Just let them know the importance of these numbers and when to place a call to these numbers.

Thus, there are also some things you should know about the contents of your first aid kit. For an instance alcohol pads as well as ointments that are "petroleum-jelly based" can be utilized as a type of fire starter in an alarming emergency situation. It can also be utilized as a lubricant for adhesive tapes. Aside from this, for particular mechanical devices and bandages, it can also be utilized for repairs. These alternative uses of these things can help set your mind on the items you need and can only be used in the wilderness.

First Aid Kits are important in every household. There are also first aid kits for pets, children, travel, disaster and soft sided situations among others. Having one doesn't mean that you are waiting for an accident to happen. Accidents are a fact of life, so whether we like it or not, it is always best to be prepared.
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