Top 10 First Aid Kit Tools
by Katy Lindamood
Published October 8, 2009 | Updated August 3, 2015
Every home and car should have a basic first aid kit that is easily accessible in times of crisis. Depending on personal preference, a basic first aid kit can be bought preassembled or each item can be purchased individually. Regardless, there are basic items any first aid kit should include.
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- First Aid Manual
Every first aid kit should contain a first aid manual. The manual will help you know how to treat wounds, sprains, bites, and other common health issues. The guide should be studied before a crisis arises, and everyone with access to the kit should know the basics of first aid.
Tweezers are an important tool to have in any first aid kit regardless of how basic your kit is. Tweezers can be used to remove debris such as glass, dirt, or splinters from a wound. They can also be used to remove stingers left behind by bees.
- Alcohol Swabs
Alcohol swabs are used to clean the infected or wounded area before antibiotic ointment or bandages are placed on the area. Alcohol swabs may also be used in conjunction with anesthetic swabs and can be used to sterilize tweezers if needed.
- Antibiotic Ointment
Antibiotic ointment can be used to treat many types of conditions and will aid in the proper healing of the wound area. Antibiotic ointment also helps to keep infection out of the wound and should be administered after the injured area has been thoroughly cleaned.
Adhesive bandages in multiple sizes should be part of a first aid kit. Consider purchasing a box of assorted-size bandages and putting a few of each in the kit. Traditional size bandages are needed more often than the largest and smallest sizes, so it's a good idea to add a few extra of these, just in case.
- Gauze Pads
Adhesive bandages aren't always large enough to cover a wound, which is why it's crucial to have gauze pads in a first aid kit. Gauze pads can be fashioned into a bandage or used to absorb blood. Gauze pads come in many sizes and each kit should include an assortment.
- Medical Tape
Medical tape is used to secure gauze pads or wraps when they are being used as a bandage. This tape is designed not to leave residue behind and usually comes in a long roll.
- Elastic Bandages
Elastic bandages help keep a sprained joint immobile and reduce swelling. Elastic bandages come with either hook-and-loop or metal fasteners to keep them in place. These flexible bandages can be wrapped around ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows until you can get to a doctor. These bandages vary in width from one to six inches.
- Pain Relievers
Each first aid kit should include a selection of pain relievers. Aspirin-based and non-aspirin pain relievers should be included in the kit at all times. If there are children in the house, be sure to include pain relievers meant for them. These will come in handy when treating a deep wound or scrape and can also be used to relieve minor aches and pains.
- Instant Cold Pack
To prevent swelling, many health care professionals recommend icing an injury. A one-time, instant-use cold pack does not become cold until the seal on the packaging is broken and the material inside is activated. Cold packs of this type are ideal for basic first aid kits because they don't require refrigeration.