21 essentials that belong in every first-aid kit, and why you need them

The first-aid box can, of course, be as simple or as elaborate as you like. We took stock of what doctors say should be in any first-aid box.

Myupchar December 26, 2019 15:00:52 IST
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21 essentials that belong in every first-aid kit, and why you need them

If you ever made a first-aid box for a school project, then you know all the usual thing that need to be in it: an antiseptic like a Dettol or Savlon, a few strips of adhesive bandage, a painkiller and fever medicine like paracetamol, an antibiotic cream like a neomycin, gauze, cotton, scissors and something to soothe the throat - your favourite flavour of lozenges, perhaps?

The first-aid box can, of course, be as simple or as elaborate as you like. We took stock of what doctors say should be in any first-aid box.

21 essentials that belong in every firstaid kit and why you need them

A first-aid kit should also be accessible and equipped with a simple set of instructions for quick use by someone without medical training.

1. An antiseptic

To remove any dirt and debris and prevent infection after a minor injury.

2. Adhesive bandage

Accidents happen. Even if you aren’t someone who bumps into things all the time, or have kids, waterproof Band-aids or Hansaplast can come in quite handy in a variety of situations. Case in point: shoe bite.

The bandage will prevent your clothes (or shoes) from rubbing against your wound and keep it dry at the same time.

Try a printed band-aid, for an instant pick-me-up after a booboo - they aren’t just for kids, you know.

And stock up on square ones and round ones for the places that are hard to cover with big, rectangular tape.

3. Gauze dressing

Yes, they are a bit old-fashioned. But they’re just as versatile as they were in your parents’ time.

4. Crêpe bandages

For sprains and sympathy.

5. Safety pins

Two reasons: safety pins are versatile - they come in handy for wardrobe emergencies, too; and when you break the clasp on your crêpe bandage, you’ll need a safety pin to keep the bandage in place.

6. Tweezers

Don’t go trying to remove a splinter with that safety pin, now. Use tweezers. And if it looks like the splinter is in too deep, don’t try to remove it yourself, go to a doctor. A good pair can help you get those eyebrows looking on fleek. 

7. Scissors

This one’s self-explanatory, we think. Just be careful not to cut yourself. And maybe get a babyproof one if you have young children in the house - gauze isn’t that hard to cut.

8. Cotton balls and cutips

Make sure to put them in a clean box within your first-aid box. You won’t be doing anyone any favours by using dirty cotton.

9. A thermometer

Because you can’t always use the back of your hand to tell when you’re running a temperature. If you have babies at home, this one’s a must.

10. Mosquito patch or cream or spray

To keep five things at bay: dengue, malaria, chikungunya, itchy bites and sleepless nights.

11. Antiseptic cream

For cuts and scrapes that don’t need a bandage. Apply, and forget.

12. Painkillers

Worldwide, headaches and backaches are among the most common reasons why people miss a day of work - keep an appropriate medicine or spray handy.

13. Pain reliever spray, gel or balm

Pain can get in the way of a good night’s sleep. For muscle sprain and back pain, pain reliever spray, gel or balm can ease the discomfort immediately. Yes, you need the spray as well as the painkiller medicine.

14. Antihistamines

To stop the sniffles if you’ve got allergies, as well as for any allergies you haven’t discovered yet.

15. Paracetamol

Be sure to stock up on baby paracetamol if you have kids. 

Regular paracetamol is also a mild painkiller.

16. Antacid

Indigestion is more common - and uncomfortable - than anyone would like. A sachet of Eno, a Digene tablet or antacid syrup can help if you’re at a pinch. Don’t make a habit of it, though. Antacids can harm the kidneys.

17. Eyewash or artificial tears

In case your eyes feel gritty or dry after a whole day of looking at the computer screen or because of the polluted air.

18. Pad and/or tampons

Just for emergencies, and there are many when it comes to periods. Keep a few pads handy, until you can get to a drugstore. 

19. Gel for ulcers and toothache

A toothache can hit at any time, without any warning or provocation. 

20. Hot water bottle 

Not every pain demands to be dealt with pills. Keep a hot water bottle handy for milder aches.

21. Air-pollution masks

For when the air turns foul again. The simple, inexpensive N-95 or N-99 mask will do. Either will keep most of the particulate matter in the air out of your lungs.

For more information, please visit our section on First-Aid.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. 

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