What should I put in my first aid kit?

When making a checklist for a vacation or needs for the office, a major piece that often gets left out is a first aid kit. Even though you may have some tissues, or a colorful bandage tucked away in the bottom of your purse or in your wallet, there are more things you need to have close in case of an accident or injury. After all, a first aid kit is the first line of defense until medical attention can be given.

Don’t know where to start? Take some of the items below into consideration for your current needs. Keep in mind that you can have different first aid kits for different situations. A first aid kit for your car could be different from a first aid kit for your bathroom cabinet.

Standard first aid kit

  • Bandages of varying sizes
  • Gauze pads in varying sizes
  • Elastic bandages
  • A small pair of scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Saline wound rinse
  • Pain relief medication (acetaminophen, ibuprofen)
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Allergy medicine and cream
  • Anti-diarrhea medication (loperamide)
  • Gloves (non-latex)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Thermometer
  • Instant cold press

Other items to consider for children and seniors

  • Rectal thermometer
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Children’s pain relief medication (liquid or chewable acetaminophen, ibuprofen)

Going on vacation

  • Sunscreen
  • Emergency numbers
  • Medication list, including all prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Health history including ALLERGIES and health care provider contact numbers
  • After sun gel (aloe vera)
  • Insect bite relief
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Appropriate quantity of all prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter pain relief medication
  • Auto injectable epinephrine
  • Any routinely used self-monitoring devices (glucometer, BP monitor)
  • CPAP machine if used at home for sleep apnea
  • An extra blanket or emergency blanket
  • Water
  • Physical map or compass

Having a first aid kit helps save lives by providing confidence in the victim and rescuer as tools are readily available to give immediate care. A first aid kit can quickly reduce the possibility of an accident becoming deadly until a medical professional arrives. After the incident is addressed with the first aid kit, be sure to dial 911 for professional help or go to your nearest urgent care or hospital if necessary.

Have more questions? Contact our Outpatient Pharmacy located within UofL Health – UofL Hospital at 502-562-3571. Our pharmacists can provide pharmaceutical services in all critical care and general medicine area. Unlike other pharmacies, our pharmacy has ongoing relationships with your medical staff and provides a comprehensive range of services.

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About Tina M. Claypool, PharmD, CDCES

Tina Claypool, PharmD, CDCES is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Ambulatory Care, at UofL Health Outpatient Pharmacy, Louisville, KY. Tina serves as Supervisor of Ambulatory Care Pharmacy and Director, PGY2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency Program. Tina is a certified diabetes clinical education specialist and works with our employees and dependent who have diabetes. Together with patients and their healthcare provider team, Tina helps those living with diabetes achieve improved health and maximizing their personal role in diabetes self-management. Tina currently serves as President of Kentucky Society of Health-System Pharmacists (KSHP) and Member-at-Large of the Kentucky Diabetes Network Leadership Team. She is passionate about pharmacists serving in the role where they are best - medication expert, patient advocate, and patient health educator. Tina enjoys collaborating with health care professionals and administrators to provide progressive pharmacy services that enhance patient access to improved health, education, and support.

All posts by Tina M. Claypool, PharmD, CDCES