Whether you live on the West Coast with its wildfires, the Plains States with the seasonal threat of tornadoes, or on the East Coast with the late summer hurricanes, the need for a basic home first aid kit and supplies is essential. When access to basic emergency medical services are unavailable due to lack of power or local flooding, you will need to deal with everything from a simple cut to a broken arm – or worse. The first line of defense against a bad medical situation becoming worse is the basic first aid kit.
The first thing to remember about what a “basic” kit depends on the particular needs of the individual or family. Large families need bigger kits and more supplies. People or families who have specific needs, such as people who are diabetic or have another type of chronic illness need to ensure their medication is part of the kit. Individuals with high blood pressure need to have a monitor in the kit. Antibiotic cream is a must, as the infection is the number one concern after bleeding is stopped. This applies to small cuts and large ones.
Then comes the usual assortment of recommended items: gauze, a thermometer, bandages, scissors, tweezers, disposable gloves, and aspirin or other general pain relievers. Even if the situation is not an emergency where medical assistance is not available, you will find this list useful on a day to day basis. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to get these first aid essentials in the early morning hours. The alternative is a hospital visit, which costs far more than keeping the home first aid kit stocked.
Pre-assembled First Aid Kits
There are first aid kits that you can buy in the store and advertise they have the basics for what you need. In many cases, this is true because many families don’t have anyone who has a specific medical condition that requires special attention. However, you need to exercise some money sense because you may be buying items in the kit that you will never use. Some first aid kit items such as pain relievers or antibiotic ointments have expiration dates. These dates may not result in the medication being completely ineffective, but it can lose some of its effectiveness. It’s better to check to make sure the items in the kit will be used prior to their expiration dates.
Assembling Your Own Kit
More than a few organizations, including the American Red Cross, encourage families to create their own first aid kits based on their needs. Families with young children are more likely to have to deal with scrapes and cuts and the 100 minor injuries children are prone to be involved in. Homes with teenagers present are likely to have to deal with fewer incidents, but they tend to be more serious when they do occur.
Finally, don’t mistake what’s in your medicine cabinet with a home First Aid kit and supplies. It’s best to keep them separate in your mind and in their location in the home. You will be more likely to have what you need when you need it if you create a separate space for the kit because you’ll notice what items you’re running short on.