Basic First Aid Kit: A Must Possess in Every Home

The Authors; Kembabazi Emilly & Lilian Nuwabaine Luyima

HEALTH & LIVING: There will be a time in your life when you wish you had a first aid kit close by. Every home should have a first aid kit. Accidents and injuries happen in homes and it is important that when they do, you have the right items to address them. While a first aid kit is not a substitute for professional medical care, it is often sufficient for dealing with minor injuries, burns, bites, and mild allergic reactions.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines first aid as the first and immediate help given to any person suffering from either a minor or serious injury to preserve life, prevent condition from worsening or to promote recovery. 

A basic first aid kit is comprised of the following;

  • Gloves; to provide a sanitary way and protection against blood, bacteria, and other contaminants
  • Plasters in a variety of sizes that is small, medium or large
  • Antiseptic; Alcohol based sanitizer which cleans wounds hence preventing infection
  • Gauze rolls/ packs; they help to arrest bleeding from cuts, stone throwing by kids, or any form of bleeding.
  • Scissors; Cuts gauze rolls to specific sizes, cuts clothing in case of tight dressing on an injured part, or it cuts adhesive tape / strapping. 
  • Adhesive tape; to secure bandages
  • Thermometer; for checking on the body temperature
  • A black stone for insect and snake bites
  • Antibiotic ointment; used on wounds to prevent infection
  • Skin rash cream like hydrocortisone cream, betamethasone cream to prevent severe allergies at night.
  • Over the counter pain killers like paracetamol; this can as well help in case of fevers in the night
  • Not forgetting the list of emergency numbers that is for the family doctor, Nurse, nearest police, fire toll free lines.
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First Aid Kit Box Items

Reasons why you need a first aid kit

  1. Response when there is no responder – There is never a good place to get hurt but when help is out of reach, a first aid kit is your next best friend.  You can’t always count on others to help so be prepared.
  2. We only have so much blood – Scary but true.  If your injury involves blood-loss, you only have precious seconds to get the necessary supplies to stop the bleeding.  Keeping a first aid kit close by can provide the extra time you need to seek help. 
  3. Kids will be kids – You can count on kids getting hurt.  Lack of experience or just plain recklessness all add up to someone getting hurt.  Cuts, scrapes and burns are common injuries to expect so prepare a first aid kit with the appropriate supplies.
  4. Liability – nobody wants to think about being sued.  Businesses are required by law to keep their first aid supplies readily available when there is no first response within 10 minutes.  Be sure your first aid kit is stocked with the required first aid items.
  5. Protect your employees or people you care about – When an injury occurs, a stocked first aid kit can save someone’s life.  Think about others who are risking injury while on the job and do the right thing.  Let everyone know you have a stocked first aid kit ready to use and tell them where it is in case an accident occurs.
  6. Cost savings – It is cheaper to clean a cut and put on a bandage than it is to travel to a clinic and seek first aid.  First aid kits are designed to manage all types of injuries including basic cuts, scrapes and burns.  Save yourself money and keep a stocked first aid kit close by.
  7. Accidents are unexpected – Being prepared can reduce panic and provide the necessary aid.  Always check your inventory monthly to make sure your first aid kit is ready to use when the unexpected takes place.
  8. Time is of the essence –  A first aid kit is just that; “First Aid”.  Having one ready provides temporary aid until you can get help.  No kit means no immediate help.  Precious time to respond can mean further injury, life or death.
  9. Small injuries can become big injuries – The longer you wait for treatment, the more severe your injury can become.  Immediate treatment can reduce risk.
  10. Peace of mind – Being prepared, doing the right thing and even being able to help others when injury occurs is reason enough to want a first aid kit close by.  
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The authors are; Kembabazi Emilly; BSc trained Nurse working with TASO/MRC- Kajjansi Health Centre IV as the Research Nurse and Lilian Nuwabaine Luyima; BSc Nurse & MSN-Midwife and Women’s Health Specialist working with Aga Khan University as the Continuous Professional Development Coordinator

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