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First Aid Kit Must-Haves: What Should Be In A First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit Must-Haves: What Should Be In A First Aid Kit

Apria Editorial |

Readiness requires easy access to the right equipment and treatment solutions. Every home in America should be equipped with a convenient, easily accessible first aid kit that contains everything you need to treat minor injuries and illnesses.

Discover the ApriaHome first aid kit checklist and more information on first aid kit customization for diabetics, babies & people with allergies.

While it's impossible to predict when illness or injury will strike, it is also important to have a plan in place for when they inevitably do. Being well-prepared is a prerequisite in the field of first aid and emergency treatment. Readiness requires easy access to the right equipment and treatment solutions. Every home in America should be equipped with a convenient, easily accessible first aid kit that contains everything you need to treat minor injuries and illnesses.

Medical supply firm Johnson & Johnson claims that in early 1888, the company's namesake, Robert Wood Johnson, engaged in conversation with a fellow passenger while riding the train to Colorado for a vacation. This passenger also happened to be the railroad's top physician. He told Johnson about the challenges of transporting wounded railroad employees to the nearest medical facilities for treatment for onsite and work-related injuries.

During this discussion, Johnson realized the benefit of storing sterile gauze, bandages, and dressings in durable metal boxes for use onsite, closer to where injuries were happening. Then, as soon as injuries were sustained, they could be treated and stabilized so that patients could be sent to a hospital that could provide more extensive treatment.

Thus begins the story of the modern first-aid kit. Here at ApriaHome, we know the importance of being prepared for anything. In this helpful first aid kit guide, we make sure you're equipped to handle allergies, illnesses, and minor injuries at home. Keep reading to discover the ApriaHome first aid kit checklist and more information on first aid kit customization for diabetics, babies, and people with allergies.

What Is A First Aid Kit?

A first aid box, also known as a medical kit or first-aid kit, contains essential items for administering immediate treatment in the event of an emergency. These items are typically used to treat minor injuries and illnesses.

The contents found inside a first aid kit will vary depending on the following:

  • The expertise and experience of the person assembling the kit
  • The onsite first aid requirements
  • Local law, regulation, and safety standards

The ISO graphical sign for first aid (from ISO 7010), which consists of a white cross on a green backdrop, is the universally recognized symbol for identifying a first-aid kit.

The standard packaging for a first aid kit is usually a hard plastic case, a cloth bag, or a wall-mounted cabinet. The container can be anything from a small wallet to a large chest, depending on the contents and the intended use. It is advised that all kits be stored in an airtight, waterproof, and dustproof container.

What Is A First Aid Kit Used For?

The use of a first aid kit is meant to reduce the risk of infection and the severity of damage from injury. Standard first aid kits include a range of items useful for tending to a range of ailments, from minor cuts and scratches to more serious ones like sprains and burns.

Depending on the onsite medical requirements, first aid kits can also be equipped to treat allergies as well as manage and monitor chronic conditions like diabetes.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States mandates that all American workplaces have access to first aid supplies in the event of an employee injury. The United States Forest Service Specification 6170-6 provides details on what should be included in a modern first aid kit, depending on its size and intended use.

What Should Be In A First Aid Kit?

It's wise to have a complete first aid kit at home for use in case of emergencies, and supplement basic items with personal needs and bleeding-control essentials. Be sure to store your first aid kit in a closed, child-proof cabinet in a cool, dry area.

Essentials for a basic first aid kit should include:

  • Alcohol-free wet wipes
  • Antibacterial liquid
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antihistamine medication
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • At least two sets of sterile eye dressings
  • Compression bandage
  • Creams to relieve burns & rashes
  • Distilled water for wound cleaning
  • Disposable instant cold packs
  • Eyewash
  • First aid instruction booklet
  • Foil blanket
  • Medical Identification, such as prescribed medication and emergency contact numbers
  • Medical adhesive tape
  • Mouth Shield for CPR
  • Paracetamol & ibuprofen based painkillers
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Sterile gauze dressings in various sizes
  • Sterilized, single-use gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Topical cream
  • Triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • Creams or sprays to relieve insect bites & stings, crêpe rolled bandages
  • Plasters in a wide range of dimensions.

Customize Your Home First Aid Kit

Commercially available first aid kits sold in retail are typically only equipped to treat minor wounds. Common items include dressings, pain medication, gauze, and basic disinfectant treatments.

Depending on the location, lifestyle requirements, or nature of the onsite activity, a unique set of first aid supplies may be required.

Baby First Aid Kit

The first years of your baby's life will be full of unexpected occurrences, such as small bruises, fevers, bumps, and digestive issues. These problems might appear at any moment with no clear warning signs.

When preparing a first aid kit for an infant, note that it should be:

  • Capable of holding all the infant care necessities
  • Durable and watertight
  • Lockable for children's safety
  • Portable

A first aid kit can be customized to welcome a new baby with the following essentials:

  • A powerful suction device for keeping your infant's nasal passages if needed
  • Baby wipes
  • Colic drops for unexplained bouts of crying
  • Gas drops for indigestion and irritability after feeding
  • Mild painkillers and children's cough syrup
  • Mild antiseptic spray for small burns and wounds that also contains a mild anesthetic to quickly relieve discomfort and protect against infection
  • Petroleum jelly to alleviate flaking and dryness
  • Teething gel for effective relief from teething discomfort
  • Toenail clippers designed specifically for infants
  • Tweezers for removing splinters and thorns
  • Calamine lotion to treat common pediatric ailments, including rashes, chicken pox, itching, allergies, and sunburns
  • Scissors for cutting bandages smaller
  • Toenail clippers are designed specifically for infants

Allergies First Aid Kit

Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to a harmless substance. For example, pollen, mold, animal fur, and even certain foods can act as allergens. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, skin, and lungs.

To keep your allergies under control, you can customize your first aid kit with the following:

  • Bronchodilator inhaler to provide quick relief in the event of asthma attacks or bronchospasms.
  • Cortisol-based decongestants to alleviate nasal inflammation during an allergic reaction.
  • Dustproof pillowcase for traveling.
  • Epinephrine Injector ‒ In the case of life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to food products or insect bites. Epinephrine helps lower blood pressure and reduce swelling in the airways from an allergic reaction.
  • Eye drops containing ketotifen to alleviate seasonal irritation.
  • Medical information such as a medical alert bracelet and information on what to do in case of a life-threatening allergic reaction.
  • Moisturizer to help soothe dry and itching skin, and hydrocortisone cream to help alleviate inflammation.
  • Over the countr antihistamine such as cetirizine, fexofenadine, levocetirizine desloratadine, and loratadine.

Diabetic Emergency Kit

Diabetics have a lot of things to keep track of, from their medications to their insulin pumps. Because of this, it's important to stock up on first aid supplies.

First aid kit essentials for diabetics and loved ones at home, when traveling, and in the event of a sudden drop or rise in blood sugar levels are easy to put together and potentially life-saving.

Items in this kit should be examined at least twice a year, and anything that has expired or is about to expire should be replaced.

  • An additional supply of batteries for your blood glucose monitor, CGM, or insulin pump
  • Backup insulin pump infusion set
  • Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia kits
  • Insulin and glucose monitoring supplies
  • Power sources for your blood glucose monitor, insulin pump, and other devices
  • Spare insulin vials (must be kept refrigerated)
  • Spare syringes
  • Test strips and lancets for your blood glucose meter

Sugar Lows - Hypoglycemia

  • A list of all the medications you are currently taking
  • Compilation of important phone numbers in case of an emergency
  • Glucagon injection vials in case of sugar lows
  • Glucose gel, glucose tablets, or a snack like biscuits or energy drinks in case of sugar lows
  • Medical identification card

Sugar Highs - Hyperglycemia

  • A list of all the medications you are currently taking
  • Compilation of important phone numbers in case of an emergency
  • Medical identification card
  • Testing strips

Foot Care

Taking care of the feet is critical for diabetics, and having all foot care supplies in one area may be useful for keeping routine. Small cuts and blisters can progress to diabetic foot ulcers if not correctly treated, so inspect your feet on a frequent basis for any damaged skin.

Patients with diabetic neuropathy are at a higher risk of complications from foot injuries because they may not notice any abnormalities until they have progressed to something more severe.

  • Antifungal cream ‒ for athlete's foot or infections
  • Antiseptic solution, such as saline
  • Light scrubbing brush
  • Lightfoot powder
  • Moisturizer ‒ to keep your feet from being too dry
  • Nail clippers and nail care treatment
  • Sterile gauze pads

You can learn more about diabetic ulcers and diabetic wound care here.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding First Aid Kits

Where to keep a first aid kit at home?

Keep your first aid kit in a secure, child-proof location, away from heat and moisture. Many individuals keep a basic first aid kit in their vehicle in case of emergency.

What to pack in a travel first aid kit?

Having an idea of how many people are going to be traveling helps when deciding what to take. Specifically for younger passengers, knowing the ages of all passengers is important so that the correct "age-related" prescriptions are included.

A basic travel first aid kit should include:

  • A pair of gloves
  • A small roll of surgical tape
  • Antibacterial wipes and creams
  • Antihistamine creams for itches
  • Antihistamine tablets for allergic reactions
  • Band-aids
  • Compression bandages
  • Gauze dressings

Do first aid kits expire?

Most first aid kits have a shelf life of three to five years, so it's important to inspect yours on a regular basis. In addition, some materials lose their efficacy or sterility with time, so it's crucial to regularly check the expiration date on perishable items such as alcohol wipes and wound dressings.

The environment in which first aid kits are kept can have an effect on their contents, so it's important to choose a dry, cool place to keep your kit if you live in a very hot or humid region. In areas of extreme temperatures and weather conditions, it's important to examine the contents of your kit every three months.

Ensure Optimum Health & Preparedness At Home, Work Or On The Go

ApriaHome is a leading provider of quality home medical equipment and comprehensive clinical support. The highest potential health results for our patients are a top priority for the team here at ApriaHome. Our care team members are able to assist with our patients’ treatment plans and provide supplementary services if necessary. We ensure accessibility for all with our extensive patient education, clinical assessment services, and continuous monitoring solutions.

Emergency preparedness is essential. The ability to treat minor injuries and illnesses at home is essential to preventing long-term complications and infections. At-home first aid kits become even more crucial in households and workplaces when there are patients onsite with allergies or chronic conditions present. We believe every home, business, and vehicle in America should be prepared with a basic first aid kit.

We source and supply the highest-grade medical equipment from around the world, making them affordable and accessible to you from the convenience of our online supply platform.

We have an extensive range of first aid kit supplies available from the comfort of your own home. Order now and receive free nationwide delivery on all purchases over $99.

Need advice or more information? Our friendly and experienced team is available on call at (800) 780-1508 between 8:00 am - 10:00 pm EST. Get in touch today.


LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Material in this newsletter is only: (1) provided for general health education and informational purposes, and to provide references to other resources; it may not apply to you as an individual. While Apria believes that the information provided through this communication is accurate and reliable, Apria cannot and does not make any such guarantee. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, evaluation, diagnosis, services or treatment (collectively, "medical treatment"). Please see your healthcare provider for medical treatment related to you and your specific health condition(s). Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on or accessed through this website. Reading this newsletter should not be construed to mean that you have a healthcare provider/patient relationship with Apria.