Frequently Overlooked First Aid Kit Items
Here are some items that should be in most first aid kits, but never seem to come with them, when you buy them.
First Aid Manual – A first aid manual is important for those unusual and unexpected injuries. You’ll want one of these manuals in your first aid kit, so you can provide the proper care for each situation, and to ensure that if you are injured, and are unable to assist yourself, that you receive your first aid applied properly also. Some first aid kits come with a small manual, which is better than nothing, but you may need to get a better and more thorough one.
Hand Sanitizer – Disinfect your hands before and after performing first aid.
Hemostatic Agents – Hemostatic Agents contain a natural enzyme, that jump starts the blood clotting process, stopping the bleeding much faster. Our bodies produce small amounts of these enzymes.
Trauma is a major cause of death and disability and the second most expensive healthcare problem in the United States. Approximately 40% of trauma-related deaths are due to bleeding or its consequences, establishing hemorrhage as the most common cause of preventable death in trauma. Hemostatic Agents should be used in any wound, where bleeding is heavy or severe, or in bleeding injuries of Hemophiliacs or individuals, who take prescribed anti-clotting medications.
These agents are available as a powder, powder-impregnated gauze or powder-impregnated sponge.
Which version you need depends on the injuries that you are likely to treat. Small sponges are good for surface wounds that bleed a lot (like minor cuts to the head), while the z-packed gauze packs are good for tactical situations, where you may need to pack a deep wound (like a bullet wound). The more serious a wound you expect to treat, the more powder, powder-impregnated gauze or powder-impregnated sponge you will need.
Duct Tape – You can use duct tape in place of butterfly bandages, or steristrips, in a pinch. You can use it to immobilize a broken limb or to tape broken toes or fingers together. You will find a use for duct tape in your first aid kit!
Head Lamp – Have you ever tried to perform first aid, while holding a flashlight? If you are ever fixing me up, I really want you to have both hands free to do the job.
Super Glue – Pinch that cut together and plop a drop of superglue on it, then hold the wound closed for 60 seconds and it should have bonded the 2 sides of the injury together. Please do not glue your fingers to your patient, that’s just awkward.
Water Purification Method – A water filter straw is perfect for a non-injured person, but if you need to bring water to an injured person that may not be practical. Keep some water purification tablets or drops in your first aid kit, for this type of scenario.
Fever Reducers and Pain Relievers – Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. Why are these never included? You already have a big ol’ bottle of these, so just pour some into a smaller bottle and stick it in your kit!
Cold and Allergy Relief – Cough suppressant, antihistamine, and decongestants. If you’re trying to lay low, you sure don’t want someone coughing loudly. It just attracts the zombies.
Safety Pins – These are great for working with splinters and a million other uses.
Tweezers – These are great for working with splinters and other fine tasks, like plucking that uni-brow!
Antiseptic wipes – injuries need to be cleaned and the area around them kept clean.
Hydrogen peroxide pump spray – You need a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, so it will fit in your first aid kit. You can always refill it with your large bottle at home.
Antibiotic ointment – To help facilitate healing
Instant-activating Cold Packs – Reduce swelling of sprains and other injuries.
Syrup of Ipecac (use only on the advice of a Poison Control Center, physician or emergency department) – someone ingested a toxic or poisonous substance.
Trauma Shears / EMT Shears – Cut off clothing from injured areas, and cut off old bandages and wrappings.
This is my current list of frequently overlooked first aid kit items, from my own personal experience. Now my question for you is: What did I miss?