The first step in treating a wound is cleaning it out, so a bottle of water will come in handy when there's no other water source nearby. Bonus: Essential for treating dehydration, too.
Use sanitizing wipes to clean your hands before attending to anyone else. Alcohol wipes can be used to clean first-aid instruments like tweezers when removing a splinter and for cleaning an affected area before administering first aid.
Someone always forgets their sunscreen, so pack a supply in your kit. Make sure you have products appropriate for children as well as adults and that they have an adequate SPF. Sunscreen expires, so check your supply often and restock as necessary.
In case you didn't get to pack sunscreen in your kit and you do get overexposed to the sun, aloe vera gel will help soothe a minor sunburn. If your sunburn is severe, though, seek medical attention before trying to administer treatment on your own. Some OTC medications like benzocaine or lidocaine can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
Essential for treating sprains, strains and muscle pulls, instant ice packs are available at any pharmacy and require no refrigeration. Also pack a cloth to put between the pack and your skin to avoid burns.
No one can make it through the summer without at least one splinter, making a pair of tweezers an essential for removing those annoying slivers of wood. Make sure and wipe your tweezers with an alcohol swab before using. A small magnifying glass can make your job easier, too.
An assortment of bandages is an important part of any first-aid kit. Include various sizes and types; some are better for fingers or flat areas and varieties are available for blisters and for water wear. Also include gauze and adhesive tape for larger wounds.
There are many different insect repellents on the market, so do research and find which one is the best for you. Consumer Reports says that products with 15 to 30 percent deet can provide long-lasting protection against mosquitoes and ticks. While traveling, there are other insects and diseases to consider, so consult this guide from the Centers For Disease Control (CDC).
ACE bandages are a great first-line treatment for minor sprains, but they also come in handy for keeping splints and ice packs in place and for holding bandages on large wounds. For those with latex allergies, check the package to make sure your product is latex-free.
If you or a family member have been diagnosed with having severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), ask your physician for a prescription for an EpiPen. Educate yourself and family members on how to recognize the signs of anaphylaxis and how to administer the medication.
Finger sprains are common during outdoor and summertime play, so have a few finger splints in your kit. Pre-made finger splints are available at any pharmacy and can safely hold a finger in place until it can be seen by a doctor.
Saline solution is essential for flushing out eyes. Reach for it when you're in pain from that sunblock seeping under your lids. Works great for rinsing out wounds, too. Check in the travel section of your pharmacy for small bottles that will fit in your kit.
Pack an assortment of OTC meds (in childproof containers). For example: Advil and Tylenol to treat pain, Dramamine for nausea, and Benadryl for insect bites, hives and other allergic reactions.
An antiseptic cream like Neosporin keeps minor scrapes, cuts and burns from getting infected and is essential for any first-aid kit. Some brands have varieties with pain relief properties. Make sure to clean the affected area before applying the cream.
A medium-sized towel will come in handy to use as a clean surface to provide first-aid care. You can also use it to stem bleeding on larger wounds or wet it and use as a cold compress for someone who has overheated.
A pair of small scissors can be used for trimming bandages and dressings to the right size, cutting medical tape, snipping hangnails, opening packages or cutting that bubblegum out of your kid's hair.
What good is a first-aid kit if you don't know how to use it? Find a good printable first-aid guide and slip it into your kit or download the Red Cross First Aid app to have expert advice for everyday emergencies right on your phone.
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