Assembling A Basic First Aid Kit For Home Or Travel

A descriptive list of items to be assembled in a basic first aid kit or to be included in an advanced medical kit that can be kept at home or taken on the road.

Accidents, injuries, and emergencies happen to everyone, eventually. Properly preparing for these instances is all-important.

Ideally, everyone should have a first aid kit or medical kit at home and in his or her auto. If your household includes children, keeping a kit in the house is especially important. As well, outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen will want to make a first aid kit an essential part of their gear.

Simple to advanced kits can be bought through a variety of retailers, but you can easily put your own kit together from scratch. The advantage of making your own kit is that you can specialize it according to your needs, and it generally will cost you less money to assemble your own.

We will begin by listing and examining what should go in a basic, home, first aid kit. Then we will look at what can go into a more advanced medical kit. A basic kit should include:

1) Band-aids of all sizes

2) 4" by 4" Gauze pads - for cleaning wounds

3) 4" by 4" Dressing bandages - for wounds, cuts, and abrasions

4) 2" Dressing rolls - for wrapping and bandaging injuries

5) Medical tape

6) Cotton balls

7) Q-tips

8) Alcohol pads - or a 16 oz. bottle of isopropyl alcohol for cleaning wounds

9) Antimicrobial hand wipes - a box or several placed in a sealed plastic bag to keep them


10) Hydrogen Peroxide - 16 oz. Bottle for cleansing skin wounds

11) Sterile water - 16 oz. bottle

12) Eye flushing solution - 16 oz. Bottle with eye cup

13) Ace bandage - wrapping sprains and contused soft tissue

14) Arm sling

15) Chemical ice pack

16) Chemical hot pack

17)Thermometer - oral and rectal (especially for kids)

18) Tweezers

19) Scissors

20) Nail clippers

21) Jackknife

22) Clean string - for a variety of uses

23) Sterile gloves

Simple, but important over-the-counter medications that should be kept in a first aid kit and updated regularly (check the expiration dates) include:

1) Antibiotic ointment - for cuts and scrapes of the skin

2) Steroid ointment - topical medicine for poison ivy and itchy skin

3) Medicated sunburn spray or cream

4) Calamine lotion

5) Insect sting relief pads

6) Tylenol (Acetaminophen) - pain and fever reducer

7) Advil (Ibuprophen) - anti-inflammatory for pain, swelling, and fever

8) Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) - antihistamine for allergic reactions, itching, and runny


9) Sudafed - a decongestant for stuffy nose (or decongestant nose drops)

10) Cough suppressant

11) Throat lozenges

An advanced first aid or medical kit (like those used by experienced campers and extreme adventurers) could include the following items:

1) Small flashlight

2) Bottles of regular water - for hydration and flushing purposes

3) Eye patches

4) Dental floss

5) Joint braces

6) Splint boards - to stabilize and protect sprains and fractures

7) Cotton towels

8) Cotton wash clothes

9) Insect repellant - nontoxic to children

10) Lip ointment

11) Blood clotting spray - a great, new advancement to stop minor bleeding

12) Suture material and needle - for properly instructed individuals to sow up lacerations

13) Hypodermic needle and syringe - to draw up an anesthetic liquid

14) Anesthetic solution - small, sterile bottle

15) Sterile suture kit

16) Antibiotics - for a variety of uses that should be discussed with a doctor

17) Anti-diarrheal medication

18) Silvadene cream - for severe burns

19) Narcotic pain medicine - consult with doctor on this item

20) Adrenaline kit - for severe allergic reactions, these easy-to-use kits are available by

physician prescription

21) Electrolyte tablets - to replenish sodium, potassium, and calcium in dehydrated states

Being organized is the key to creating and keeping a good kit. Remember to label everything properly. Keep a list of everything on a 3X5 card that stays in the kit. Refer to it when items need to be replaced.

Items should be kept as clean and sterile as possible. Medicines should be stored in secure containers with proper name, dosage, number of pills, how and when to take it, and what it is specifically used for.

The quantity of items in your kit generally depends on who lives in your household or who will be going on the trip. Children are not little adults, so special attention is warranted in their case, especially with medicines.

© High Speed Ventures 2011