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Emergencies are never warned, which is why it is so important to always be prepared for any illness or injury. First aid kits are the first line of defense in the event of moderately severe injuries or illnesses. Whether you twist your ankle on your annual family outing or get a nasty cut at the office, you should always be prepared.
Andy Bernstein, MD, an Illinois pediatrician who has been practicing for 19 years, tells Get Meds Info that the best place to keep a first aid kit is where you can easily remember where it is and access it. It also says that basic needs can be divided into those that help with injury and those that help with illness. For physical injuries, dressings, gauze, tape, ACE wrap, dressings, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointment may help. Items that can help with the condition include: an antihistamine such as Benadryl , a nausea medication such as Dramamine, antipyretics and pain relievers such as ibuprofen or Tylenol , hydrocortisone cream, thermometer , bottle of water, and a bottle of electrolyte replacement solution.
We research dozens of first aid kits and rate them based on reviews, items included, size, prices, ideal use, and return policy. Each of the kits selected in this article was rated the best of these factors.
Whether you're looking for a minor cuts and scrapes remedy or a complete injury kit, here are the best first aid kits for all your needs.
The most important thing to consider when buying a first aid kit is, of course, the products it contains. If you are looking for a well-designed kit to help you deal with a host of injuries and ailments, you will need physical wound care products and a variety of medications. The great thing about commercial first aid kits is that they offer a wide variety of products, making it more cost-effective to buy than to make your own.
If you're looking for something compact, easy to fold, and have a well-thought-out list of items, you can't go wrong with the Johnson & Johnson All-in-One First Aid Kit (check out Walgreens ). It is ideal for home use and is ideal for treating minor injuries. If you are looking for something a bit more extensive for hiking or trekking, it is highly recommended that you use a dedicated Red Cross first aid kit ( see on Amazon ).
What to look for in a first aid kit
It is not just about the physical materials and medicines that are used to treat diseases, but also about the tools that can help in this process. It may help to include tweezers, small scissors , a thermometer, scales, and ice packs in your medicine cabinet. "If you have high blood pressure , an accurate automatic blood pressure cuff will help," says Mattan Schuchman, MD, medical director of Johns Hopkins Home-based Medicine. "If you have lung disease, a pulse oximeter can help ." The great thing about these tools is that you probably won't have to replace them for years if you store your first aid kit in a temperature controlled room .
According to David Cutler, MD, a family medicine physician at Providence St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, you should consider your immediate surroundings when evaluating items in a medicine cabinet.
"For example, if you are in a particularly remote area, survival equipment, such as a fire-lighting device, water, food, and an emergency blanket, may be the most important thing," he tells Get Meds Info . 'When walking, trauma treatment materials, such as splints and bandages, may take priority. Recent wildfires and the ongoing pandemic increase the likelihood that masks will be needed. And exposure to food or water that causes diarrhea will require the use of oral rehydration formulas. In addition, there is always the risk that wounds require cleaning agents, dressings, antibiotic ointments and even tourniquets to stop the bleeding ”.
When it comes to choosing a size, it is also important to consider the peculiarities of using a first aid kit. "The giant kit is probably not practical for the walk, and you probably won't need an emergency blanket for your home kit," says Michael Richardson, MD, MD at One Medical. "Try to find a kit that is suitable for the activity you plan to do, or make your own kit and adapt it to your needs."
What you will need for a home first aid kit will be different from what you will need in this first aid kit compared to what you will carry for an active activity like hiking. If you are looking for a kit to take with you during outdoor activities, Dr. Schuchman recommends adding a sling to your kit to support an arm or shoulder injury . "You shouldn't wear a bandage for more than a day without consulting your doctor," he adds.
Additionally, Dr. Cutler emphasizes the importance of stocking the kit with first aid supplies, depending on the problems you may encounter. "Sunburn and jellyfish stings are unlikely on a trip to Alaska," he explains. 'Snake bites and poison ivy are unlikely in a tropical beach resort. So the first questions to ask yourself when planning a first aid kit are where it will be, what it will do, and what resources are already available. "
Frequently asked questions
If you have a home kit that you rarely use, Richards says it's a good idea to check it annually and replace any expired items. "However, if you have a kit that you are using for a specific activity (hiking, sports training, etc.), it is worth taking a look at it before heading to your event," he explains. "It's better to double check and make sure you have what you need than to face an emergency and find out you don't have bandages."
If you or a loved one is experiencing a severe allergic reaction that may require the use of the EpiPen, then Dr. Richardson says it is important to have it on hand. "However, unless you have severe allergies, you probably don't need an EpiPen for your regular first aid kit," he adds. If you're concerned about non-life-threatening allergic reactions, Dr. Cutler recommends including antihistamines along with a hydrocortisone cream for the itchy rash.
Dr. Richardson says that the three most important items in a first aid kit really depend on what you do and who you'll be with. 'For me, the first three are bandages (bandages, bandages, liquid bandages, etc.), hand sanitizer and stickers, ”he explains. "I have two girls and we love to go on adventures, so this kit is designed to make every slip, scratch and fall a fun part of the journey."
While Dr. Cutler can't narrow it down to three, here is what Dr. Cutler considers the most important first aid kit:
- Disposable gloves
- Simple dressings
- Benadryl for allergic reactions
- Eye wash solution
- Copies of all your written prescriptions
Ultimately, Dr. Cutler says that in addition to these items, you can add other supplies and medications that are unique to your situation and needs. "Keep in mind that most small problems can wait until you get the materials you need," he explains. 'And any serious problem will require the help of healthcare professionals. So first aid essentials are the items that will help you avoid going to the emergency room. "
What the experts say
'Everyone loves having a first aid kit on hand. But there is simply no better answer to the question of what to put in it. This is because the number of common, serious and treatable medical injuries, illnesses and crises is so high and diverse that you will need a hospital emergency department to deal with all of them. "- David Cutler, MD, Family Medicine Physician at Providence St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
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