Monday, March 25, 2013

Ask Us Anything: What Should A First Aid Kit Include?

"I want to put together a first aid kit in case of emergencies. What should it include?"

Beth Nicastro, Corporate Nurse Educator, Responds:

To be prepared for emergencies, keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car. Check the kit regularly. Make sure that the flashlight batteries work, and check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.

Include any personal items, such as medications and emergency phone numbers. 

The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:
  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

– Beth Nicastro  

Ginny Lyons, RN, Adds: 

You may also want to include hand sanitizer, Q-tips, a small pen light, a CPR mask (with guidelines) and safety pins.

Keep a small bottle of water in your kit, along with a small bottle of sterile water.

You can add smelling salts, insect wipes, dry ice and small slings.

Instead of starting from scratch, you can purchase kits already filled and add items as needed.

Good luck! It's a good idea to always be prepared. 

– Ginny Lyons

About Our Experts

Beth Nicastro, PNP-BC

Beth Nicastro, PNP-BC, is a women's health community coordinator/educator. She also sees patients as a nurse practitioner at East Aurora Pediatrics.

Ginny Lyons, RN

Ginny Lyons, RN is a coordinator for Catholic Health's women's service line, WomenCare, a nurse clinician in Women's Health, a community health educator and a public health speaker for Catholic Health on wellness and prevention seminars.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

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