Making a First Aid Kit
What and how much you take along depends on many variables:
•How many people is the kit for?
•How long will the trip be?
•Any activities with unique risks planned?
•How remote will you be - how far from doctors and pharmacies?
•Will there be kids on the trip? Take forms of medications
appropriate for kids.
•Any older people with heart disease, diabetes, etc?
•Going to a hot environment? Take forms appropriate for heat
- capsules and suppositories melt.
What to use for your kit? The best I have found are the "Tupperware" type containers available in many sizes everywhere - they are tough and waterproof. Large fishing tackle boxes also work very well.
•Analgesics, antipyretics(anti-fever), anti-inflammatories:
acetominophen, ibuprofen, aspirin.
•Skin stuff: bandaids (1x3, extra large), antibiotic ointment,
Lotrimin for skin fungus. Gauze,
non-stick bandages. Tape. Moleskin for blisters, especially if
a hiking trip! More moleskin!
•GI: antacids (milk-of-magnesia serves for acid or constipation), laxatives (constipation is the most common health problem in travel!), immodium for diarrhea. Antibiotic appropriate for diarrhea.
•Eye/Ear: simple eyewash for dust, irritated eyes. "Tobrex"
eye drops for either eye infection
(with pus in the eye) or in the ear for "swimmers` ear"
infection (characterized by pain when you tug on the earlobe) - you cannot put eardrops in the eye, however).
•Antihistamines: diphenhydramine ("Benadryl") for allergies, itchy rash, nausea, or as a sleep aid.
"Claritin" - good long-acting drug for respiratory allergies or hives.
•Tools: splinter forceps, 3" ace wrap, scissors.
For More Extensive Trips, Larger Groups
Ask your physician for advice and assistance in preparing this kit.
•Skin: steristrips, antibiotics for skin infection ("Duricef"
or similar), mid-potency steroid cream such as "Cutivate".
•GI: "Tigan" or "Compazine" suppositories for nausea and vomiting, metronidazole for presumed giardia (yellow frothy diarrhea not improved by antibiotics).
•Narcotic analgesics: "Vicodin" - a codeine derivative
good for pain or cough suppression.
•Respiratory: Asthma inhaler such as "Proventil"/"Ventolin"
for asthma, asthmatic bronchitis, or exercise-induced asthma.
•Female health: Treatment for vaginal yeast infections ("Diflucan" 150mg tablets - 1 tablet = treatment).
•Miscellaneous: Diazepam - "Valium" - useful for
muscle spasm, anxiety, or a sleep aid.
•The above does not include personal first aid items such
as personal medications for illnesses or prevention. If preparing for a large group, consider taking extra antimalarials, antidiarrhe meds, etc. Consider odd items like
an eyeglass repair kit, temporary dental filling kit, etc.
If a nurse or doctor is going on the trip, consider taking
the following for a long trip - for other particularly long trips such as a sailing voyage, someone can learn to give injections):
•Phenergan or compazine injectable for severe nausea/vomiting.
•Epinephrine for severe allergic/anaphylactic reactions.
•Cortisone such as "Celestone".
Consider your group carefully, and plan ahead. Review all of these things carefully with your physician before hand.
Here is another somewhat simple list
- Alcohol Wipes (12) - Use for cleaning needles, clippers, tweezers.
Aloe Vera Gel - Use for minor burns or skin irrations that require soothing.
Antibiotic Ointment - For the obvious minor cuts.
Baking Soda - Use to make an anti-itch paste. Just add water and apply to the itch area.
Band-Aids - Use for those little cuts and make sure to have an assortment.
Benadryl - Use for alleries.
Cotton Swabs - Use for cleaning or applying creams or ointments.
Elastic Bandage - Get 2 of these, a wide roll. They are use for sprains, strains or in somce cases to keep a dressing over a wound.
First-Aid Tape - We use both the 1 inch tape used in sports, and the conventional 1/2 inch tape. Having both has been useful for us in securing bandages.
Gauze Pads - Make sure the pads are sterile, preferably packaged in individual packages. You`ll need several small pads for both covering and cleaning small cuts and scrapes. Get 3 large non-stick pads for larger cuts or scrapes.
Gauze Roll - Use a 2 inch wide roll. It`s great for wrapping an injured arm or leg. Be sure it is also sterile.
Hydrocortisone Cream - Used for itching caused by bug bites or plants. Make sure the cream is 1% or less.
Ice-Pack - Use the chemical ice-packs. It turns cold when you break open the chemicals inside the pouch. Do not apply the ice-pack directly to the skin...just a side note.
Ipecac - Use for poisoning.
Latex Gloves - Use these whenever you have the possibility of coming into contact with someone`s blood, outside of your immediate family memeber`s. You want to use all the protection you can get.
Magnifying Glass - Use for those hard-to-see slivers, etc., the one`s kids seem to attract.
Mole Skin - Use for blisters.
Safety Pins - Use for making a sling or pinning elastic bandages.
Scissors - Use for cutting tape or even skin in certain situations.
Sewing Needle - Use for those gruesome splinters.
Small Mirror - Used to check eye problems, also as an emergency signaling device.
Soap - We like using the liquid soap. Make sure it is not one just full of scents and get a small bottle of it. Soap is an excellent cleaner.
Syringe - Find the kind that has a bulb on it, it is great for flushing wounds with water rather than applying a cloth.
Tissues - A package of these can go a long ways. Good for bloody noses and general clean-up. Also, a great emergency fire starter.
Triangular Bandage - Used as a sling. You can make one out of a light piece of cloth. Get a cloth approximately 42" x 42".
- Tweezers - Use to pull out those splinters.
- Tylenol - Use as a pain reliever or fever reducer.
Finally, here is a list for a personal 1st Aid kit
- Waterproof container
- Surgical gloves
- Book of basic first aid procedures
- Large roll of 2" wide cloth adhesive tape --not waterproof- on cardboard roll which can be collapsed (can be ripped into narrower strips--warm near skin before using)
- 4" x 4" sterile gauze pads--at least 10
- Ace bandage
- Triangle bandage
- 2 single-edged razor blades in sterile packages
- 1 pair tweezers
- 1 pair scissors
- Betadine antiseptic
- Aqueous zepharin-clear antiseptic
- Antacid tablets
- Milk of magnesia tablets
- Tube of Vaseline
- Instant ice compress (in summer)
- Sterile moist wipes in foil