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Back to Basics: Building a First Aid Kit

by Monday, March 11, 2013

You know that you should be ready for anything and everything in case of a crisis.  After all, we don’t know what will happen.  One of the most critical things that you should be prepared with is a first aid kit.

As much as you would like to bring an entire hospital with you, only a few key items are truly necessary.

A basic first aid kit should contain the following things: bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, iodine or iodine prep pads, alcohol prep pads, butterfly bandages, medical adhesive tape and aspirin or pain relievers. These items will get you through most general and minor health issues.

If you wanted to create a more complex bag, you should add different sizes of bandages, smelling salts or ammonia inhalants, ace bandages or similar for strains, multiple sizes of sterile pads, antiseptic towlets, a thermometer, a snake bite poison extractor, tweezers, safety pins, moleskin, latex gloves, burn medication, sun screen and eye drops.

The larger that your kit becomes, the more specific the items in it should be. If there are certain health problems that you or your family has, they should be addressed with the contents of your basic medical kit. You should also pack for the terrain that you are going to be faced with. The last thing that you would want in a crisis is to get severely sick or die from something basic because you didn’t pack correctly.

Remember that you should never make the mistake of under-packing, especially when your life could be at risk.

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Learn what you should include in your first aid kit, check out these articles:

First Aid Kit List

What to Include in a Home First Aid Kit

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13 Comments on "Back to Basics: Building a First Aid Kit"

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Robert
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Robert
3 years 6 months ago
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One thing I have always put in a kit is a survival blanket

Chuck
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Chuck
3 years 6 months ago
0 I have been a student of First-Aid since I was in High School. The main problem with first-aid kits that are commercially manufactured and typically available in a drug store or sporting goods outlet is that they are so full of cotton products they are all but useless in an real emergency. I have paid hundreds of dollars for those “really good kits” but have found over the past 45 years that building my own kit is far superior to those pre-assembled. When you build your own kit, you know what is in it and where it is located… Read more »
richard1941@gmail.com
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3 years 6 months ago
0 I would include an antihistamine like benedryl. It is useful for allergy, athsma attack (where it could be life-saving) and as a tranquilizer or sleeping pill. It weighs little and does much. Aspirin might improve your odds a bit if you have a heart attack. It weighs little and does much. An ACE bandage is good for sprains, and can be used with a harvested splint to immobilize some fractures and dislocations and to hold a large wound dressing in place. It can also serve as a torniquet to reduce bleeding from an extremity. Like duct tape, it can… Read more »
TSgt B
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TSgt B
3 years 6 months ago
0 Some simple additions: Kotex/feminine napkins make GREAT bandages for open trauma wounds Tampons are GREAT medicine for penetrating/puncture/gunshot/stab wounds Both of the above are sterile, and may be further protected by enclosing in ZipLoc bags or “Seal-a-Meal” vacuum bags Super Glue – great for closing lacerations/slicing wounds Duct tape – waterproof, good for sealing sucking chest wounds, damned near nuke proof Talk with your doctor about obtaining broad-spectrum antibiotics (Cipro is a good example; will treat just about any bacteriological infection. May be adjusted for dosage by weight by dividing tablets, and you really can’t overdose with it; it… Read more »
TSgt B
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TSgt B
3 years 6 months ago
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Sorry, I meant METHANOL based

Kitty
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Kitty
3 years 5 months ago
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Instead of or in addition to Kotex/Tampons for oozing wound dressing, I’ve had reason to use a disposable diaper on a co-worker’s cut. The ER that treated her was impressed because it was super absorbent and the inner cover didn’t stick to the wound and the outer plastic cover prevented leakage and the adhesive tape secured…

TSgt B
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TSgt B
3 years 6 months ago
0

And sorry for the typos.

EarlySquirrel
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EarlySquirrel
3 years 6 months ago
0 Hey, TSgt B, I think you’ve done a super job with that list. Best I’ve seen, especially with the quick correction. If the fire-starting kit doesn’t have some regular wood matches (waterproofed, and in waterproof container), kitchen matches are helpful in melding shut the cut ends of parachute cord, also in encouraging ticks to back out when embedded in the skin. And, Joe, Your’s is a great basic list, too. I’ll use selections from both your lists when next I go week-long back packing above timberline in the Rockies. Used to do those trips ’bout sixty years ago; maybe… Read more »
Kitty
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Kitty
3 years 5 months ago
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Alcohol pads held on an embedded tick will kill a tick within minutes and it falls out within 24 hours without the chance of skin burning…

Donald Conner
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Donald Conner
3 years 6 months ago
0 Your advice about a snake venom extractor is a questionable statement. Having kept a large reptile (non-venomous)for several years, I naturally became an armchair amateur herpetologist. I have also recorded many programs from the Discovery and History Channels, which, with research, I have never found an error in. The insertion of the extractor, or surface application, will not remove sufficient venom to be effective. If one inserts a small tipped plastic glue applicator, it physically drives the venom further in. At the surface, the force required to actually suck the venom out would damage the skin. Present day methodology… Read more »
richard1941
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richard1941
3 years 5 months ago
0 There are different scenarios: emergency (only a few people involved, first responders and hospitals available eventurally), disaster (medical/hospital available only with delay or long distance transport), catastrophe (widespread disaster, no outside help, medical supplies not available), and collapse (no recovery or outside help EVER, medical industrial infrastructure wiped out, as in an asteroid impact or thermonuclear war). The following remarks apply to casual backpacking, but are good for all of the other scenarios. Aspirin is not good for some people. But it is beneficial in many situations that require blood thinning, fever suppression, anti-inflammatory, and pain relief. Ibuprofen is… Read more »
Groffeaston
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Groffeaston
2 years 9 months ago
0 I have read online so many “opinions” about what to carry and to include in a first aid kit and what not to include in a first aid kit, my head is spinning! lol Same thing about buying the pre-made ones, I have read and heard so many differing “opinions”, it makes my head spin! About the only thing I have heard that makes only sense is to make your own first aid kit. However, I am the type that wants to prepare for anything and everything! lol I guess that is the former Boyscout in me coming out.… Read more »
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