Written by: Dr. James Kelley
As an emergency physician, I am a bit of a critic on the idea of a store bought first aid kit. I have reviewed a number of these kits and can honestly say that in most cases more money went into the design of the case than the contents of the kit. In most cases, too, the contents represent a pathetic attempt at emergency preparedness. However, with a little thought and planning you can design a first aid kit that is both generally effective and meets the specific needs of your family and friends.
The contents of any kit should consider a few factors: General preparedness, situations you might encounter and the specific needs of your family or friends. A kit should allow for general preparedness, reflect your lifestyle and the situations in which you are most likely to use its contents. Case and point: If you are an asthmatic or have an asthmatic in the family you should probably be prepared for an asthma attack. If you have a family member or friend with severe allergies then you should anticipate that such a problem could surface at some point during your time together. Additionally, your kit should provide for some level of general preparedness with certain indispensable staple items such as tape, scissors, and gauze. I have assembled a list of both general and specific items to include and have indicated the rationale for each below.
First Aid Kit
•Bandages - 4×4 inch Gauze pads and 2×2 inch gauze pads. (Control of bleeding requires direct pressure and lots of gauze )
•Gloves - non latex variety. (For your safety, a barrier to blood and body fluids)
•Adhesive Cloth Tape - 1 inch wide. (The universal bandaid. Can hold wound edges together like stitches and hold gauze in place)
•Scissors - (a pair of trauma shears can cut through clothing, shoes, etc. easily)
•Emergency Thermal Blanket - (Nice to have when environmental conditions are poor or the patient is wet.)
•Large Zip Lock Bags - (Can act as an ice pack and serve to contain the contents of the first aid kit.)
•Small Flashlight - (Adequate lighting is always a must)