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Information: types of first aid kits

The basic first aid kit is a collection of supplies and equipment for use in giving first aid. First aid kits may be made up of different contents, knowing what to put in a first aid kit varies according to purpose. Some kits are designed for specific activities, such as hiking, camping or boating. There are many different kinds of first aid kits available. They range from pocket sized travel kits to large industrial first aid kits that contain enough supplies to treat hundreds of people. For family use, a general purpose or personal non-unitized first aid kit is most common.

  • A personal first aid kit contains the supplies needed to treat minor scrapes and cuts, minor injuries and insect bites for a small number of people.
  • General purpose or non-unitized first aid kits are made up of components that are loosely contained within the kits container rather than individual boxes items.

What to put in your first aid kit

A well-stocked first aid kit, kept within easy reach, is a handy item to have. Every home should have a well stocked first aid kit. It is also a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your car. Having supplies gathered ahead of time will help you handle an emergency at a moment's notice. You can easily purchase a readymade first aid kit, but you may also make your own. Before you purchase items for your first aid kit, you need to know what to put in a first aid kit.

The basic first aid kit should contain:

  • two pairs of sterile gloves
  • sterile dressings to stop bleeding
  • cleansing agent/soap
  • antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
  • burn ointment to prevent infection
  • adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • adhesive tape
  • eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
  • thermometer
  • first aid manual

Additional contents to include in your kit:

  • elastic bandage
  • hydrocortisone cream (1%)
  • acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • tweezers
  • sharp scissors
  • safety pins
  • disposable instant cold packs
  • calamine lotion
  • alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • mouthpiece for administering CPR (can be obtained from your local Red Cross)list of emergency phone numbers
  • blanket (stored nearby)
  • aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • anti-diarrhea medication
  • antacid (for upset stomach)
  • laxative
  • prescription medications
  • prescribed medical supplies

Additional items that you may want to include:

  • cell phone with charger
  • petroleum jelly or other lubricant

Choose containers for your kits that are roomy, durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Common container types are constructed of plastic, metal and soft-side bags. Store first-aid kits in places that are out of small children's reach but easily accessible for others in the family. Check your kit regularly and make sure to replace missing items or items that have an expired date.

First aid manual

Every first aid kit should contain a first aid manual or reference book. It is important for you to read this material so that you are familiar with the contents of your kit. It is a good idea to review the manual with children who are old enough to understand. For additional information about first aid techniques and procedures consider attending a first aid class.