Portable first aid kit can make summer fun more fun
By: Thomas Osborne, M.D.
Summer is just around the corner. For many of us, this means baseball games, biking, hiking, swimming, barbecues, fishing and campfires at the end of the day. Unfortunately, summer activities bring the risk of scrapes, scratches, sunburn, poison ivy and bug bites.
Most of these are minor impositions and can be handled with basic care and a first aid kit. Because summer is a time when lots of people are on the go, it’s a good idea to have at least two first aid kids handy – one at home and a portable one in your car that travels with you.
There are ready-made first aid kits available to purchase, but similar kits can be assembled quite easily. Your portable first aid kit doesn’t have to take up a lot of space. It can be housed in a water resistant small plastic box with a lid, a fishing tackle box or something similar.
Inside your first aid kit, you’ll want to include supplies to treat minor traumatic injuries such as burns, cuts, scrapes, splinters, stings, swelling and sprains. You’ll also want medications that can relieve pain, fever, sore throat, allergies, cough, nasal congestion and stomach upset.
Here’s what you’ll need for treating injury or illness:
First aid cream, burn cream. Calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream for treating wounds, itching rashes and bug bites.
A variety of bandages, including ace wrap, adhesive bandages and gauze pads for protecting injuries.
A tweezers for removing splinters, ticks and stingers.
Safety pins, for securing bandages, splinter removal, etc.
Instant cold pack to help prevent swelling.
A small scissors for cutting bandages and other needed tasks.
Rubber gloves, to protect you from exposure to blood or other bodily fluids. In a pinch, the gloves can be filled with water and used as a hot or cold pack.
Pain reliever – such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for headaches, body or muscle aches, sore throat and fever. If you have children, you should include both adult and child-strength pain relievers in your kit.
Over-the-counter medications to treat cough and nasal congestion (child and adult versions, if applicable).
Medication, such as Pepto Bismal, for stomach upset or diarrhea.
An oral antihistimine such as as diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
A thermometer for assessing fever.
Prevention items and miscellaneous:
Insect repellent for warding off ticks and mosquitoes.
If you take prescription medications, always carry a copy of the names and dosage with you. It is a good idea to keep this information in your first aid kit as well.
Resealable plastic bags are handy for keeping bandages dry and can prevent a mess should liquid medication leak inside your first aid kit. The bags can also serve as hot or cold packs when filled with water.
Dr. Osborne is a board certified family practice physician at Raiter Clinic.