Building Your First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit can save lives. To be prepared for emergencies, keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car. Carry a first aid kit with you or know where you can find one. Find out the location of first aid kits where you work. First aid kits come in many shapes and sizes. You can purchase one from the Red Cross Store or your local American Red Cross chapter. Your local drug store may sell them, too.
You may also make your own. Some kits are designed for specific activities, such as hiking, camping or boating. Whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together, make sure it has all the items you may need. Include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest. Check the kit regularly. Make sure the flashlight batteries work. Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents. 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 by 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 (large)
• 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
• 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
• First aid instruction booklet
Access the article online at: Red Cross First Aid Kit
July, 2011 Every Needful Thing
Include Over-the-Counter Medications
There are thousands of over-the-counter medications used to treat an unlimited variety of ailments. This can make stockpiling medications difficult. Every health care professional has their personal recommendations, but the following are the five OTC items that should be bought in bulk. They are cheap, effective, and each covers a wide range of potential maladies:
Can be used to relieve pain, relieve inflammation, thin the blood and lower fever (do not take on an empty stomach)
2) Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
Can be used to treat itching, rash, allergic reactions, and is the most common ingredient in over the counter sleep aids (will cause drowsiness)
Can be used to treat indigestion, nausea, heartburn and diarrhea.
Antibiotic ointment for cuts, scrapes and burns
5) Primatene Mist
The only over the counter inhaler capable of minimizing the symptoms of or stopping an acute asthma attack.
No first aid kit is complete without those five. – LA, R.Ph . SurvivalBlog.com
October 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson, editor
Water Has Healing Properties
Did it ever occur to you that if we make the best use of water, we could reduce the amount of sickness and death in the world? From microbes to soap, contaminated water is a major source of diarrhea. An important part of its prevention is to purify water used for drinking and preparing foods. Boiling and filtering water will help make it safe to use.
If cooking fuel is limited, pasteurization (using the WAPI kit in a Sun Oven®) will make water safe for consumption. Hand washing with soap and water before eating or preparing foods and after defecation is important.
Babies are especially susceptible to diarrhea. A common cause of death in babies and small children, is severe dehydration. By giving the infant or child plenty of water, this can be prevented, even if given a spoonful at a time.
Making a Rehydrating Drink
A rehydration drink made with half a teaspoon of salt and 8 teaspoons of sugar per liter (~32 oz.) combined with half a cup of fruit juice, coconut water, or mashed banana will replenish the electrolytes. This should be given often in small sips, every five minutes, until the person begins to urinate normally.
Additional uses of purified water include bathing skin infections, washing wounds, lowering high fevers, hot water vapors to loosen mucus and using hot and cold compresses. When water is used correctly, often medicines are not needed, and the body will heal itself. (“Where There is No Doctor,” Hesperian Health Guides.)
They don’t call an event a disaster if there are no injuries! Get over the sight of blood or other injuries, your life or another’s may depend upon your First Aid Skills. We could make an entire newsletter containing First Aid lessons. In this issue, we’ll touch on some basics related to emergency preparedness and include some links for further study.
Immediately after an unpredicted or forewarned disaster, there are generally two types of response. One is Panic and the other is Normalcy Bias or Negative Panic.
Using these responses people are either running around screaming and maybe bleeding or just staying right where they were when the event occurred, in a state of disbelief. Both types of reactions are dangerous. People in panic mode can cause additional damage and injuries. People not responding can become participating victims by not responding to get away from the danger.
As difficult as it is to imagine bad things happening, we need to think about what kinds of events could happen in our homes and communities. Is your community subject to hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes? Do you know what accidents can happen and what can be done before help arrives?
What kind of accidents can happen in your home? Falls, cuts, electrical shocks, burns from explosions? Multiply that by a large number of people involved and it is easy to understand what pandemonium will be like. Now is the time to get out the First Aid book and assemble a First Aid Kit. A few basic items can make a big difference in survival.
The proper response is to quickly evaluate personal danger and respond accordingly. Only when you know that you are okay and will not be in danger while assisting others, can you be of value. Many fatalities occur because victims received help too late or because people on the scene administering first aid didn’t know what to do. During an emergency situation, often there are more injured people than helpers, so helpers should establish the priority of victims to aid first.
When you find a victim, check for a response. Ask “Are you OK?” and whatever other actions make sense, like touching. If there is no response, send or call for help. These are the 4 B’s of First Aid:
- Breathing – are they? Includes airway obstruction and breathing impairment
- Bleeding – covers circulation and deadly bleeding
- Breaks – includes all bones, including spine and skull
- Burns – bad ones turn into blisters filled with fluid that isn’t in the blood where it belongs
First Aid kits for home use can be procured in a variety of stores from big box to pharmacies. When you get your purchase home, open it and review the contents. Make sure your kit includes tweezers that actually grasp, hydrocortisone cream for itching insect bites, pain relievers, gauze and tape, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, allergy medications as well as assorted sizes of bandages.
Next, before an emergency event occurs, take time to learn some basic techniques. MedicineNet.com has online first aid essentials slide shows with photos and explanations. Local Red Cross chapters and most volunteer fire departments offer training. Community colleges also offer EMT and paramedic training. Community emergency response teams (CERTs) are in need of volunteers and will provide the necessary training to teach members how to assist in a disaster until other help arrives.
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson