This list showcases the essential First Aid Kit contents and their uses. While the trendiness and general popularity of bug out bags and items that promote preparedness has diminished over the past several years, their importance, particularly in the case of a first aid kit has not. The practicality, and near necessity of a well equipped first aid bag during travel, camping, backpacking and during any activity in which medical care is not immediately available becomes obvious to many only when they need it most. To truly be prepared during your missions abroad, or simply at home, one must always have a well equipped first aid kit. Like many lists on this website, I have done my best to compile the information in a thoughtful a purposeful way that allows you to print this article out and have a complete checklist of your first aid kit contents and their uses.
First aid Kit Contents and Their Uses
Aspirin– For headache, inflammation, fever, and in the presence of chest pain.
Benadryl- For allergic reactions of all severity.
Cipro– For bacterial infections including; UTI, bladder infection, pneumonia, typhoid fever, etc.
Epi Pen- For moderate to severe allergic reactions, in the presence of facial angioedema or swelling that may obstruct the airway.
Oral Rehydration salts– For rehydration during bouts of extended diarrhea or vomiting.
Pepto Bismol– For general upset stomach and diarrhea.
Phenergan Suppository– For treatment of nausea and vomiting.
Tinidazole– For treatment of Giardia.
Zofran ODT– For treatment of nausea and vomiting.
Laceration Repair and Hemorrhage Control
Alcohol Pads- For wound and site sterilization, or hand hygiene in a pinch.
Antibiotic Ointment– To ward off infection to an injured area.
Bandages– Standard bandaid, and butterfly for laceration repair and closure.
Betadine– For wound and site sterilization.
Dental Floss- For suture repair.
Duct Tape- As a make shift swathe for a triangle bandage sling. Used as a replacement for mole skin for blister repair. To ensure the closure of sterilized wounds. For wrapping sprained or strained joints and ligaments. Duct tape will literally have 1000 uses in your first aid kit, and I cannot recommend its presence in your bag enough.
Hemostat Gauze- For use similar to that of sterile 4×4 gauze. Used when the use of direct pressure seems inadequate but a tourniquet is either not an option due to location, or is unnecessary to control hemorrhage.
Tourniquet– For when direct pressure is inadequite for stopping major/ life-threatening blood loss.
Sewing Kit- For laceration closure. Be sure the inside of the laceration is adequately irrigated and sterilized prior to repair with sutures.
Sterile 4×4 Gauze- For direct pressure to control bleeding, for wound disinfectant application, and for removing debris from the wound.
Sterile Saline– For wound irrigation. With a pen a puncture can be made to most sterile saline containers and the contents can be sprayed from the bottle with force enough to remove objects embedded in wounds. Can also be used to irrigate eyes in the presence of a foreign body or eye irritation.
Super Glue- For blisters and laceration repair. In a pinch superglue can be used in a method similar to dermabond. Do not place superglue inside of the laceration, but as a protective barrier on the skin layer.
Skin Stapler- For laceration closure. Be sure the inside of the laceration is adequately irrigated and sterilized prior to repair with a skin stapler.
Trauma Shears- For cutting.
Fracture Maintenance and Treatment
Ace Bandage- To splint sprained or strained muscles, and ligaments. To secure splints in place. To apply pressure dressings to prevent continuous hemorrhage and secure sterile 4×4 gauze in place.
Cold Pack- To decrease swelling to a site of injury.
Triangle bandage- For bleeding control as an asterile gauze. Used as a sling for shoulder, elbow or lower arm splinting. Can be used as an ankle wrap if ace bandages are absent. Also can be used to tourniquet wounds unresponsive to direct pressure in extreme situations. Do not tourniquet wounds lightly as they decrease blood loss at the cost of perfusion distal to the site of the tourniquet itself, resulting in cell death. This tactic is a last resort.
SAM Splint 36″ roll- For Fracture/Soft tissue splinting and securement.
Braving the Elements
Space Blanket- For heat loss prevention.
Sunscreen- To prevent sunburn.
Thermometer- For checking your temperature.
Insect Repellant- With DEET to ward off insects.
Zinc Oxide- To prevent sunburn, treat minor burns, and chapped skin/lips.
Vial of Petroleum jelly– For adding to gauze bandages. For chapped lips or skin, and diaper rash.
Pocket Mask- For rescue breaths in the presence of apnea and/or cardiac arrest.
*Prescription medications should be taken under the direct supervision of a medical professional/physician. Do not consume medication prescribed to another individual, and follow directions as dictated by prescribing physician. The above list of medications to pack in a first aid kit when traveling are simply a guide as to what a sample list of medications may look like for extended bouts of travel away from medical professionals. Do not consume expired medications. For any questions regarding medications including contraindications consult a physician. Please view medical disclaimer.
This list of first aid contents and their uses contains strictly medical items to include within your first aid kit, and neglects other items important for either home, travel or wilderness survival. Items such as water filters, head lamps, and water proof matches have all been intentionally left out, as they should be stored near, but not within your first aid kit. These, and similar items are essentials in many kits depending on your goals. Above is a list of strictly medically related items and their application when you are the acting medical professional on scene and can be used as a general template which can be tweaked depending on your goals and the use of your bag.
As always if you feel this list is incomplete, or the information on it is not accurate please feel free to contact me using the Contact Us form and I will respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible. Thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope the information provided is helpful.