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Essentials of a First Aid Kit

Updated on September 7, 2014

First aid kit

First Aid you need it!
First Aid you need it! | Source

Who really needs a First Aid Kit?

So, who needs a first aid kit?

Normally, when I think of a first aid kit, it stimulates visions of children falling down screaming, blood gushing everywhere, and nothing being where it's needed, when it's needed! But in reality, first aid kits are not just for kids. Minor injuries do not need to result in panic or chaos and with the right supplies within reach, a few minutes can sometimes mean a matter of life or death!

Accessibility to first aid can benefit all.

You need a first aid kit, your family does, your pets do, and everyone around you can benefit from having one nearby should a situation arise.

I'll cover the essential contents and leave elaboration and packaging up to you.

When do you know if you need one?

Are you going on a road trip? Camping perhaps? spending a considerable amount of time out riding bikes? Swimming? Spending a day at the beach or on a picnic? Hiking? Even lounging around at home? Kids dorming in college? Going fishing? Taking the dog for a hike? The situations are endless.

You need one and it's time to create your first aid kit, or adjust the one you already have.

Life is a funny thing, and you just never know what will be thrown at you or when. Be prepared, so you can stop worrying and get back to enjoying your life, making great memories and enjoying all the hobbies you love.


First thing to consider is how portable your kit will need to be. The more portable the better! It's not much to consider really, portability is great for when you are hiking, fishing, riding bikes, taking a walk, you name it.

So, think small zippered pouch, or a waterproof/floating container with a good sealing lid.

If making it super portable is just not easy or do-able, leave a small portable pouch in the kit that can have items transferred to it when you're on the move.


How many should you have? Here are my suggestions for quantities.

1 in each car

1 in the house

That's really all you need.


  • various size latex free bandages
  • medical grade latex free gloves
  • 1-2 rolls of medical tape
  • tweezers
  • alcohol wipes / but preferably a small bottle of peroxide
  • styptic pencil
  • 1 container of liquid skin
  • All purpose ointment
  • ibuprofen tablets
  • electrolite tablets
  • a small bag of baking soda
  • Activated Charcoal tablets (universal poison absorber, effective for drug over-dose as well)
  • EpiPenĀ®
  • LED keychain flashlight
  • a few bottles of water


  • A prepaid cell phone, packed in a waterproof bag (great for long road trips, or hiking, especially in remote areas).
  • A large garbage bag or tarp
  • Thermal blanket
  • Jumper cables (car only, obviously)
  • Flares or a fold-able SOS sign -for when you are lost on a mountain and need air assistance!
  • Matches or other fire starter
  • Heavy duty rubber bands -think make shift tourniquet

A little more info on activated charcoal tablets

Activated charcoal has been used for years to neutralize poison, and save people from drug overdoses. Charcoal decreases absorption of nutrients and medications. Because of this, frequent use is not advised. Activated charcoal may also cause abdominal pain. If this occurs, contact appropriate medical assistance, since this could mean there is intestinal bleeding or blockage.

Other uses;

  • Colon cleanse: binds to intestinal toxins and helps the body excrete them.
  • Gets rid of diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
  • Neutralizes food poisoning.
  • Neutralizes venomous bites (for instance the brown recluse spider bite)
  • Stops toothache pain - make it into a paste and slather around offending tooth.

Use what you have!

Always keep your eyes open for the items at your immediate disposal. Stung by a bee? Don't tweeze out the stinger, potentially breaking more venom into your skin. Scrape the stinger out with a flat credit card, rub it with baking soda, and pop an Ibuprofen. The baking soda can help breakdown the venom and relieve itching. Save the tweezers for splinters.

When you're hiking and your mate tumbles down a hill breaking a leg, sticks and medical tape can act as a splint in a pinch. This is especially important for bone breaks and sprains. The idea is to set the bone back to it's original place as soon as possible. For compound fractures however, don't try this. Keep the injured comfortable and get immediate medical help.

Wrapping yourself in plastic retains heat, and moisture, if you are stranded in a very cold area, get close to a pal and wrap in plastic (garbage bags and tarps work just fine) when possible to stay dry and warm.

Making your kit

Making a First Aid Kit is rather simple. As you prepare or adjust it keep these points in mind

  • Where will it be used? Keep in mind climate conditions, and traveling when creating your kit.
  • Who will primarily use it? (Kids, adults, pets?) this affects what you should put in the kit
  • When would it most likely be needed?
  • Make sure supplies are updated and in working order. A good reminder can be to do this when you set the clocks forward or backward each year, or when you replace smoke alarm batteries. Add this to the "To Do" list when you do those chores as well, and your kit will always be ready when you need it.

Ā© 2013 Rebecca


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    • profile image


      5 years ago


    • Bishop55 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      thank you both of you for your great comments.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I agree that keeping one in the car and home is the best place to have a kit. I have had to use them on occasion. Great ideas for making one, especially like the "use what you have on hand" idea.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful and informative hub! A First aid kit is a must in every household. And you have rightly pointed out, it must be carried in cars or during travel.

      Very well written hub! Thanks for sharing!


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