First Aid Kit - What You Need

The following are important items to have in your Family Health First Aid Kit:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes - for simple cuts or abrasions
  • Butterfly bandages and narrow adhesive strips - to hold the edges of a cut together to allow it to heal
  • Individually wrapped, sterile gauze pads (2" and 4") - to control bleeding or secretions and prevent contamination
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape - to hold a dressing or splint in place
  • Roll of absorbent cotton - as padding for a splint
  • Sterile roller bandages (2" and 3"), at least 3 rolls - to lend support to sprained or sore muscles
  • Cotton-tipped swabs
  • Thermometer
  • Anti-itch lotion or cream - for relief of insect bites, itching and minor skin irritations
  • Eye drops
  • Syrup of ipecac - to induce vomiting only if instructed by a poison control center, emergency personnel or doctor; keep a one-ounce bottle on hand for each child under age five
  • Antiseptic ointment, spray or towelettes - for cleansing wounds
  • Antibiotic ointment - to prevent infection of minor wounds
  • Bottled water - to rinse wounds or to drink
  • Face mask - to protect against smoke, dust or allergens
  • Latex gloves - for protection when providing emergency help to an injured individual
  • Clean towel - for a pillow or as a wrap for ice
  • Chemical ice packs
  • Emergency phone numbers - doctor, pharmacy, poison control, etc.
  • First aid handbook

It is also important to have some basic medicines on hand in your family's medicine cabinet. Remember to check the cabinet each year and dispose of expired medicines.

  • Pain reliever - such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen or naproxen sodium - for relief of headaches, muscle aches and joint pain
  • Fever reducer, such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Decongestant and cough medicine
  • Stomach remedies - to prevent or treat indigestion, heartburn or upset stomach
  • Antihistamine - for allergic reactions and itching
  • Antidiarrheal
  • Eye drops

When taking medicines, read the label...EVERY TIME. Always remember to check the proper dose of medicine, especially when dosing children. Pay special attention to the usage directions and warnings. Don't buy or use any medicine from a package that shows cuts, tears, slices or other imperfections. Report anything suspicious to the pharmacist or store manager. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.



The above information was provided, in part, with the kind permission of the Council on Family Health (www.cfhinfo.org)


Last Editorial Review: 7/17/2002



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