Essential items for your First Aid Kit

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Not having a good first aid kit can turn a minor problem into a worst case scenario quicker than you think. So if you're wanting to build a first aid kit there are 10 essential items that I recommend you include in your kit.

essential band aids

1. Bandages

I highly suggest you have some type of bandages available in your kit. These are a big part of our 10 essential items because they help keep dirt and grime out of open wounds and allow the body to heal the wound without getting infected. There are loads of different types of bandages I would stick with your standard band-aids and add some larger adhesive bandages as well to take care of any larger cuts you might encounter. Also adding some gauze rolls (if you have a way to cut them) or gauze pads are great for trying to stop bleeding and protect the area as well.

essential gloves

2. Gloves

You should always have a few pairs of rubber or latex gloves handy in your kit. These are one of my 10 essential items because they help in preventing blood borne pathogens from spreading by minimizing the contact with the blood. It's always better to be safe than sorry because you don't always know if a person has some type of blood borne pathogen or not. You can find these cheaply at any retail store and come in large quantities.

3. Aspirin and Non-Aspirin Pain Relievers

There are three types we're going to talk about here because each has their own ups and downs. Aspirin works well for a lot of minor aches and pains and will also help to reduce inflammation. The downside to aspirin is that it thins the blood which can be beneficial for the heart but at the same time can be harmful to anyone who has hemophilia. On the non-aspirin side you have two main types Ibuprofen and acetaminophen (Tylenol)  both of these are great for different reasons. Ibuprofen also works well to help with minor aches and pains as well as reduces swelling and fevers. Ibuprofen is also better on the stomach than aspirin and does not thin blood. Acetaminophen like ibuprofen will reduce fevers and aches and pains. It is also much easier on the stomach than ibuprofen and aspirin and can be taken on an empty stomach. The cons to using acetaminophen are that is does not reduce swelling and can damage the liver in large doses. Choose a combination of these and keep them separate from each other so you don't get them mixed up.

4. Insect Bite Relief

Insect bites are a common problem you might have depending on your location and time of year. It's an essential part of any first aid kit and luckily there are loads of options to choose from. Find one that will cover your needs depending on the type of insect bites you might encounter in your area. Most of these will come in a small tube which works great when you're trying to conserve space in your kit.

5. Lip Balm

Having lip balm or chap stick in your first aid kit is great. The more obvious reason would be to protect your lips. This can be important when you're on a hike, camping or maybe even in a survival situation. While it may not seem like a real threat chapped lips can lead to cracking and if not protected could lead to more serious complications down the road. Aside from protecting your lips chap stick also has many other unconventional uses. It can be used as fire starter as most lip balms will contain petroleum. Another use is to water proof things like matches the petroleum will work to repel water.

6. Burn Cream

Another one of my 10 essential items is burn cream again there are loads of products available. Try finding one that come in a small packet or tube for space conservation. Some main attributes you want to look for in a burn cream would include an external analgesic to help reduce the pain in that area. Another thing to consider is the product should have antiseptic qualities to fight off infection where the burn occurs. Something that has been used for centuries to treat burns is the aloe vera plant. I have a plant that I grow myself inside my home and might write about it later in another post. You can find the juice of this plant in many burn creams and gels and it works great.

scrape

7. Antiseptic Wipes

This one is really important for anyone who is prone to scraps or cuts of any kind. If you're in a survival situation even a minor cut can turn into a huge problem if not treated properly. You should always have some kind of antiseptic wipes to apply on a cut to reduce the risk of infection. After you do this you'll want to keep the area covered with some sort of bandage to further protect the injury.

8. Cold Compress

​Cold compresses are a great addition to any basic first aid kit. If you're a hiker these can really come in handy for several reasons. You can use a cold compress to help reduce the swelling and ease the pain of a sprained ankle which could be huge to get you out of a scenario where walking or running is required. In addition to sprains they can also help relieve sore muscles and aching joints to help you push on.

9. Antibiotic Ointment

​This is another essential item for your first aid kit and can be used in conjunction with some other items to help further reduce risks. Antibiotic creams can be used on cuts after an antiseptic has been applied. They will help speed up the healing process and further reduce the risk of infection. Antibiotics can also be applied to burns as well for the same reasons. Neosporin is a well known antibiotic and is a great choice to have in your first aid kit.

10. Poisonous Plant Cleanser

Depending on the area you live in you might have several poisonous plants such as poison ivy, sumac, and oak. A lot of hikers again are at risk here but if you have some sort of poisonous plant cleanser in your kit you'll greatly reduce the effects of that plant. They work by removing the poisonous oils that irritate your skin. Based on where you live you may or may not need to include this item but it should still be taken into consideration.

When you're making your first aid hopefully you'll gain from this article and use the 10 essential items I've listed. You can continue to grow your kit to fit your needs. Stay safe and thanks for reading.

-Brady

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