I do love first aid kits.
I love the feeling of control over disaster they provide. After all, I am a doctor, so my control-freak personality needs lots of reassurance that disaster can be managed. Now that it’s summer, disasters will happen. You can handle the small ones yourself, if you have a first aid kit.
I’d advise buying a kit that is already stocked and then add to it. Old first aid kits get that wrinkled brown-stained look and are always missing the finger-sized bandages and the Neosporin. And they have too many Q-tips. You don’t really need Q-tips that much for first aid. Beauty, yes. First-aid, no. So just buy a fresh one. Delight in all the little compartments and the nice big packages of 4×4 gauze. Then toddle down the other aisles in the drugstore and pick up a few extras to throw in there.
1. A really good tweezer. I like the scissors-handled ones because they give me a better “pinch”. But use what you like best. You will remove at least one splinter per kid every 2 weeks during the summer. You may as well have a good tool for it. Clean it with alcohol before putting it back into the kit.
2. Poison-ivy wipes. I like the ones by Cortaid if I can find them. They clean off the oil from the poison ivy plant and cover the skin with a cortisone application to minimize inflammation all in one go. They’re big, too, so if you’ve been trudging around in some questionable patches, you can wipe down both legs and arms easily with one wipe.
Leaves of three, let it be.
Poison ivy photo, courtesy of greatermdbbb.org
3. Kid-sized pain reliever. Throw a box in there.
4. Neosporin. Get a big tube for the kit and a little spray for your purse. You can also get a little first aid kit for your purse that is just so cute if you are as nerdy as I am about these things.
5. Bandages in all shapes, sizes and colors. Stock up on these. Buy them online. Google “cool bandages”. I did and I saw bandages shaped like eyeballs, bacon, skull and crossbones, crime-scene tape, boo boo kisses, tattoos and dozens of other fun varieties. You can never overlook the placebo benefit of these badges of courage, and for $5 a box, it’s a total bargain. Keep in mind that a good bandage is used for many more injuries than just those involving bloodshed.
My favorite is “mom”
6. Kid-sized Benadryl. This is for impending allergic attacks and bee stings. Have some in the adult-size too.
7. Benadryl gel. For itching.
8. Aloe vera gel. For sunburn.
9. Arnica gel. For bruises.
10. Cleansing wipes. Washing with soap and water is better, but these will work if you aren’t near a sink. Many first aid kits have alcohol wipes, but these really sting and your patient will never trust you again.
11. Instant ice and hot packs. These are good for travel but don’t waste them at home. At home, I keep a stray tube sock (clean of course) filled with 1 lb. of raw rice. I sew the end shut and keep it in a ziploc bag in the freezer. If I need a hot pack, I heat it in the microwave for 3 minutes and it stays warm for half an hour. ( Frozen peas also make a good ice pack but they can’t be heated and there is minimal chance of the rice-sock accidentally getting eaten for dinner.)
This list is a little heavy on the meds, but first aid kits often don’t come stocked with anything but first aid cream. Frankly ,soap-n-water followed by Neosporin is more effective in cleaning and protecting wounds. You also don’t want to have to search for all these things in your medicine cabinet. A kit with all this can be thrown into your beach bag or your car and you will be ready for whatever.
Now get out there, and bring order and healing to chaos and disaster!