Friday, December 30, 2011

Your Home First Aid Kit by Nick Vassilev

You know you ought to have one in your house. You know you ought to do a proper first aid course, too – if you haven’t already had to do one for your work requirements. But even if you haven’t done a first aid course, even at Scouts/Guides, you can still use a home first aid kit – and you need one.

What should you have in a home first aid kit and why?

Sticking plaster:

The most obvious thing to have in a first aid kit. Use them, obviously, for covering open wounds. Keep a range of sizes handy to handle all possible places and/or sizes of wound. The long strip type of sticking plaster that you cut to size is great, but remember to keep a pair of scissors with them in the first aid kit!

Antiseptic lotion or cream:

Dab this onto grazes and cuts to prevent infections. If you have liquid, have cotton buds handy for dabbing it on. All good antiseptics sting when applied. If you’re caught short without antiseptic lotion, crushed garlic and/or cayenne pepper work as antiseptics but they REALLY sting.

Rubber or plastic gloves:

You are probably all right dealing with the blood and other bodily fluids of your immediate family members – unless, of course, one of them does have a disease that is transmitted through the blood – but if you have to deal with someone else, you will need to protect yourself with gloves just in case. Gloves also make dealing with vomit or poo a lot more pleasant.

A triangle bandage.

If someone breaks an arm, you’ll need to keep it immobile, so a sling is a must. A cloth nappy folded into a triangle makes a good substitute. Wrap the sling around the broken arm so it supports the arm, then knot it around the neck.

Long cloth bandages:

Before you put a suspected broken arm into a sling, you will need to splint it. Put something rigid alongside the arm (one on each side) then strap them to the arm with long bandages. The “something rigid” can be anything from wooden spoons to a thick glossy magazine. Long bandages are also good for holding down a thick wad of padding or padding over a larger wound, and can strap up sprained ankles if you know how to do this.

Safety pins:

For holding the ends of the long bandage down if you can’t tie them.

Cotton wool:

In small amounts, this can be used for dabbing on antiseptic very gently. In larger amounts, it can be used to help check serious bleeding while you wait for the ambulance.

A gauze pad:

Even better than a wad of cotton wool for stanching bloodflow and applying pressure to a serious wound. A woman’s sanitary napkin can make a good substitute.

Baking soda:

For treating bee stings.


For removing splinters. Don’t use them to remove beestings – this will squeeze more bee venom into the sting site. Scrape stings out instead.

Jelly beans:

For a quick glucose hit for treating shock. Also a good way of treating hypoglycaemia in diabetics (however, if the hypoglycaemic person is slipping into a coma, don’t give them anything by mouth or they’ll choke – let them go out, then call an ambulance immediately).

An ice pack:

For treating bumps, bangs and bruises. Also good for sprains and for bleeding noses (however, for burns, running cold water over the burn is better). Hold it over the site to reduce swelling. This one, however, can’t be kept in the bathroom cabinet or the kitchen cupboard but in the freezer. If you can’t get a proper ice pack, then a package of frozen vegetables works nicely, or wrap ice cubes in a damp teatowel.