Remember the mantra, “be prepared” from your scouting days? Having a first aid kit at the ready (at home, in the car or in your travel bag) is the way to be just that, if an accident (or bad allergic reaction) occurs.
A basic first aid kit is a must (found in most drug aisles for as little as $5.00) and has most of the items you might need for bug bites and stings, minor cuts, and scrapes (such as an antiseptic, bandages and gauze). More complete first aid kits often come with their own container and more supplies (with a higher price, from about $10.00 and up). But you can also easily “build” your own with a backpack, a zippered toiletry bag, or even a ZipLoc bag, to toss in other items (like a spare inhaler, if you have asthma, or an EpiPen, that can inject epinephrine to counteract anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction to food, insect bites or stings, latex, or medication).
Beyond the “basic” first aid kit:
First aid book
Adhesive and duct tape, plus bandages and gauze (all sizes)
Allergy and pain meds (ask your doctor)
Aloe vera, antibiotic ointment and an antiseptic
Bandana, scarf or mask
Cotton balls and swabs
Flashlight (with extra batteries)
Petroleum jelly (like Vaseline)
Prescription and over-the-counter medications
Syringe, medicine cup or spoon
Turkey baster to rinse wounds
Store it safely – out of the reach of kids or pets. Make sure medications do not need to stay cold. Spot-check kits every three months for items that have gone past their “best by” date. Have 911, the 24/7 U.S. Poison Control (1-800-222-1222), plus doctor and family numbers handy, too. Take a Red Cross first aid course – There’s nothing like being ready!
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano
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