According to the National Weather Service, 333 Americans lost their lives due to natural disasters in 2014, with 2,187 injuries reported. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that unintentional home accidents account for over 130,000 deaths each year. A well-stocked first aid kit can save lives and keep a person stable until professional help arrives. Being prepared reduces your reliance on disaster relief agencies or emergency services and allows those in greater need to get help sooner. To be ready for a natural disaster, home accident, or other emergency, the following will provide you with important supplies to consider adding to your first aid kit.
Aspirin can be taken if a cardiac arrest is suspected and help is not arriving quickly. The Mayo Clinic advises that a person who suspects they are having a heart attack should chew an aspirin tablet immediately to help avoid heart muscle damage and other complications.
Additionally, aspirin can be ground and mixed with water to form a paste to be used on insect bites and stings to relieve the pain. It can also be taken orally for pain relief of minor injuries. But caution, aspirin should never be given to anyone under the age of 18 due to the risk of Reye's Syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal condition that causes brain and liver swelling.
ALTERNATIVE PAIN RELIEVERS
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are great pain relievers and both work to reduce fevers. Both are valuable elements of a first aid kit for treating sprains, strains, and swelling caused by minor trauma. Naproxen is useful for swelling, stiffness, and pain, and can be more gentle on the stomach than ibuprofen. For young children in the home, it’s essential to include children’s formulations and dosages of your preferred pain relievers, especially if the art of pill swallowing hasn’t been mastered yet.
Medical tools are a great investment and most you can be purchased at the drug store. Include a pair of tweezers for pulling out splinters or scraping out bee stings; a pair of small, quality scissors for trimming down bandages, snipping threads, or cutting off hair to treat a scalp injury; and a pair of nail clippers are always handy. If you have been properly trained in suturing, include a sterile suture packet in your kit; otherwise, have butterfly bandages on hand to hold wounds closed until medical attention arrives. If you are CPR certified, keep a mouth guard with your kit.
PRESCRIPTION AND RESCUE MEDICATIONS
If anyone in your home takes medication necessary for survival, extra doses should be kept with the first aid kit. This includes rescue medications such as an EpiPen for those with serious allergies, nitroglycerin for any heart patients in the home, glucose tablets for hypoglycemics or diabetics, and an inhaler for asthmatics. Medications should be rotated periodically to ensure expiration dates are not reached.
FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS
Aside from their intended use, sanitary pads make excellent wound dressings. Designed to absorb blood, they are clean, and unlike gauze, won't stick to wounds. You'll need tape or an Ace bandage to hold the pad onto the wound. Tampons can be used to slow serious nosebleeds or heavy bleeding caused by knocked-out teeth.
Nitrile or latex gloves are great for protection if you need to render aid to a person who may have a blood-borne disease. They are also useful for covering hand injuries. If you've sliced your palm or cut your finger, bandage the wound and carefully pull a glove on over it. The glove will hold the bandage in place and keep the injury clean.
The standard first aid kit of bandages, antibiotic cream, and gauze is a good start but is far from complete. Carefully consider the needs of your family in case of an emergency, and add to your kit according to your preferences and experience. It is better to be overly cautious than to be caught woefully unprepared.
Your readiness for emergencies can help to prevent serious injuries or illness and keep your summertime safe, happy and memorable. If an accident occurs, Urgent Clinics Medical Care is here to help you get back to enjoying the summer fun. Our clinics are open from 8 am to 9 pm and are conveniently located in Champions Forest, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. Our Pearland Clinic is open 8 am to midnight. We offer friendly, experienced and licensed medical professionals ready to help you and your family get back on track to health again.