First Aid Kit Basics

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Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Therefore, it is advisable that you are prepared at all times. Make sure you keep a first aid kit at your home, at your workplace or office and in your car, with contents properly stored, so that you have the necessary equipment to aid yourself or anyone around you in an emergency situation. You can purchase your first aid kit from a local pharmacy or health care department.

It is ideal to take some first aid classes to familiarize yourself with the procedures required to perform first aid without making any mistakes. You will have to learn about which equipment you have to use and at what time. Make sure you are knowledgeable about potential causes of infections (click here to view various infections) and are able to recognize symptoms of various body ailments. Ensure that you are told about the ‘dos’ and ‘do nots’ about certain cases in a first aid situation.

First aid kit: Contents

First aid kits include items specializing in different uses. For example a first aid kit for a person working in a factory or farm will be different from a basic, family first aid kit. Make sure you purchase the first aid kit containing the items that are significant to the area you work in and the work you perform.

A basic first aid kit should consist of the following equipment:

  • Non-adhesive bandages of different sizes
    First Aid Essentials - Triangle Bandage
    This picture shows a triangle bandage which a versatile component of any first aid kit.
  • Triangular bandages
  • Crepe or elastic bandages of different widths
  • Disposable, non-latex gloves
  • Permeable, adhesive tape, 2.5 cm wide
  • Face shield or resuscitation mask
  • Thermal blanket
  • Plastic bags of different sizes
  • Notepad and pencil

Other necessary equipment includes:

  • Large combine dressing pads, 20x20cm
  • Medium combine dressing pads, 9x20cm
  • Medium gauze dressing, 7.5×7.5cm
  • Band-Aids or adhesive dressing strips
  • 4 sterile tubes containing saline solution, 10ml min.
  • Tweezers, 1 pair
  • Scissors, 1 pair
  • First aid booklet


It is advisable to exclude medications from first aid kits kept in public places and workplaces to prevent the occurrence of allergic reactions. First aid kits help in providing life support for people going through illnesses or injury. Thus, medication does not necessarily fall under this category.

It is strongly recommended that you keep pain relievers such as aspirin and paracetamol, out of reach of reach of children, if you keep them for your family. Ideally, medicines, including over-the-counter pain relievers should not be kept in a first aid kit. Familiarize yourself with the dosage and requirements of certain medications to prevent side effects from taking place. Make sure you are aware of the situations where certain over-the-counter painkillers should not be taken. For example, in case of a viral infection or chickenpox, children or teenagers should not be given aspiring to recover from any pain causing conditions.

Children and adults often require different dosages of medications. Make sure you go through the instructions on the medication you are using. Also ensure that you are aware of the expiry date so that you can discard and replace any medication that is close to its expiry date or as already expired. Children may require milder forms of medications that adults have, therefore, make sure that you give your children medication that is specially designed for the use of children.


There are certain limitations that pertain to the storage of first aid item. The following are some tips to ensure the contents’ safety:

  • Store the first aid kit in a cool and dry environment
  • The first aid kit should be accessible by everyone in the family
  • Make sure everybody in your family is aware of where the first aid kit is placed
  • Check the use-by dates of solutions regularly, if present
  • Discard and replace every item that is used in the first aid kit.

Additional Information About First Aid Kits

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