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first aid kit

What to have in your first aid kit at home

A first aid kit is a good decision for every home, but there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to these kits. There are certain factors to take into account when building your own home kit.

When deciding what to include in your first aid kit, consider the level of medical and first aid training you and the people who will have access to this kit have, or are willing and able to get. For example, most first aid kits contain a triangular bandage, but someone without first aid training would probably not know what to do with it.

Other potential problems with medicines included in kits are allergic reactions, overdosing and interactions between different medicines. You should know what your household can and cannot take and tailor your kit to your family. You know your family’s health conditions, so consider how you can best cater for them.

Where you live and whether there is a doctor or pharmacy nearby are also factors to take into consideration. You’re less likely to need a big, wide-ranging first aid kit if you live in the city as opposed to far from doctors and pharmacies.

If you’re unsure why you’d need a first aid kit, it can be used in many situations such as minor cuts, scrapes, allergic reactions and burns, splinters, non-life-threatening insect bites and stings, blisters, rashes, sprains and strains, something stuck in the eye, hypoglycaemia, aches and pain, and digestive system problems (nausea, indigestion/heartburn, diarrhoea or constipation). If you stay in rural/ countryside areas, you may need a kit in situations like farming accidents, snake bites, broken bones and heat stroke.

“Accidents can happen at any time,” Shalen Ramduth, Principal of the Netcare 911 School of Emergency Critical Care (SECC), says. First aid kits “can serve as an interim resource until more qualified help arrives and can often make a real difference in an emergency situation. The kit will also assist you to deal with minor injuries that do not require the intervention of trained paramedic personnel.”

You should also ensure that your home first aid kit contains a comprehensive first aid booklet, outlining how to correctly use the contents of the first aid supplies on hand and how to respond to various emergencies.

This is a list of basic supplies your kit should contain, according to Discovery.

Medicines to consider including in your kit:

  • Sore throat soothers
  • Antacids for indigestion
  • Painkillers and fever-reducing medicine like paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin. Remember that aspirin can make bleeding worse, so don’t give it to someone with a bleeding disorder or open wounds.
  • Oral rehydration sachets containing electrolytes
  • Medicine for the relief of nausea and vomiting
  • Medicine for an upset stomach to stop diarrhoea and cramps
  • A laxative for constipation
  • Antihistamine tablets to relieve allergies and a topical cream for insect bites and stings
  • Decongestant for a stuffy nose
  • Saline eye drops for dry or itchy eyes

Equipment:

  • A thermometer
  • Plasters of different sizes
  • Antiseptic ointment to prevent infection in minor cuts and abrasions
  • Gauze
  • Disinfectant
  • Bandages
  • A topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory gel, cream or spray
  • Products for burn care
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Wound-closing strips
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