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How to Stock Your Home First Aid Kit


November 22, 2019

Have you checked your home first aid kit lately? Do you know what items you need to have? Read on to make sure you’re prepared for an emergency.

Why do I need a first aid kit?

Most moms have the elements of a first aid kit around the house, even if you don’t have one designated box. But there are benefits to formalizing your first aid kit.

As Meredith Lawhorn, EMS coordinator with Kettering Health Network, says, “Having a handy place to put items to treat the average minor cut, headache, or allergic reaction is helpful. This way, you’re not digging around trying to find the supplies you need when something happens.

Second, Lawhorn explains, “First aid kits help to bridge the gap when you do have a true emergency.” Being able to provide emergency care at home is crucial when you are waiting for help to arrive.

What items do you need?

First aid kits can be as robust as you need them to be. To start, some basic items for your kit can include:

  • Bandage strips in assorted sizes
  • Roller gauze and 4x4 gauze pads
  • Sterile saline eyewash
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Thermometer
  • Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen

“One of the most important parts of providing emergency care is knowing what to do to provide bleeding control,” says Lawhorn. “If you are trained on how to use it, having a tourniquet in your first aid kit is a good idea. Bleeding control can save a person’s life while waiting for emergency help.”

Tourniquet training and classes to learn bleeding control are available through Kettering Health Network or your local fire department.

Types of emergencies

At-home injuries fall into three main categories: treat at home, treat at urgent care, or treat in the emergency room.

  1. At-home injuries: “These typically include minor cuts or abrasions that your child might get from falling or scraping their knee,” says Lawhorn. Minor headaches caused by dehydration or stress can also be treated at home.
  2. Urgent care: When someone has a cut that requires stitches, but bleeding is under control, urgent care is a good option. Urgent care can also treat minor sprains and strains.
  3. Emergency room: Severe allergic reactions, uncontrolled bleeding, and severe lacerations should be treated in the emergency department. “Anything that is a threat to life or limb needs to be treated in the ER,” says Lawhorn.

When to call 911  

Women are often the “first responders” at home, treating minor cuts, bruises, and injuries. How can women know if an injury is severe enough to warrant a call to 911?

“Don’t be afraid to call 911,” Lawhorn advises. “You don’t have to call 911 only to make a transport decision. You can use local emergency services as a resource to figure out where to go. Don’t panic or worry about being a bother. When in doubt, just call and consult your 911 operator.”

Always call 911 in an emergency. Find the nearest Kettering Health Network emergency center at ketteringhealth.org/emergency

For more information on Stop the Bleed classes, visit ketteringhealth.org/healthcalendar