Essential Items Everyone Should Have in a First Aid Kit

Essential Items Everyone Should Have in a First Aid Kit

By definition, first aid kits are prepared in case of an emergency, but they are useful and applicable in just about any situation that involves an injury, a misadventure, or a memory lapse.1 Also, since no one can predict when an accident will take place or when a flare-up will occur, the importance of first aid kits can’t be overstated. However, everyone should understand that a kit won’t make a serious difference unless it contains the most essential items, such as the right medications and adequate wound care supplies.

According to a poll by Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation, approximately 44 percent of adults in the United States don’t own a first aid kit. On top of that, 48 percent of Americans are unprepared for a catastrophe because they don’t have any emergency supplies.2 This may partly explain why one person dies every three minutes. Fortunately, people can always improve their chances of survival by keeping a first aid kit on hand. This is easy to do because kits come in many sizes and shapes.

Why It’s Important to Keep a Fully Stocked First Aid Kit

With each passing season, the weather changes and the risks increase. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time before another disaster strikes like Hurricane Florence did. In the wake of any major storm, the aftermath will likely be horrific, so a rescue team isn’t going to be able to provide immediate assistance. For this reason, people should initiate the self-treatment method to help themselves or the injured. This is when first aid kits come in handy. The sooner an open wound is treated, the better it will heal.

No, most emergencies aren’t as extreme as a natural disaster, but keep in mind that the smallest cut can quickly lead to an awful infection, which may necessitate a trip to the hospital. With that said, the focus should be on improving bad situations immediately, so they won’t spiral out of control. Get prepared now by putting a fully stocked kit in the car, in the office, and in the home. The supplies can potentially save multiple lives.

Items That Should Be in Every First Aid Kit

From greater peace of mind to a timely recovery, many benefits come with being prepared for unforeseen problems. That’s why every person should take the time to get the following things:

Antiseptic Products

Antiseptic products are indispensable because they are specifically designed to cleanse not only damaged skin but also minor wounds. Like soap and water, antiseptic products allow the healing process to start by effectively eliminating any bacteria or dirt.3 Common items include alcohol, antimicrobial wipes, and hydrogen peroxide.

Medical Tape and Gauze Pads

Medical tape and sterile gauze pads are multipurpose items. Although adhesive bandages provide a better layer of protection, the pads will work just fine if they are properly taped down over any wounds. They can be trimmed to fit the affected area, and it’s best to apply antibacterial ointment to them.4

Elastic Bandages

Elastic bandages are highly useful. Because of their stretchy fabric, they do an excellent job at constricting extremities that are bleeding. They can even help reduce swelling.5 Also, since some emergencies call for a makeshift item, a strong pair of scissors will be needed. Like elastic bandages, pieces of clothing can be repurposed and applied to an injury, such as a broken arm that needs more support.


Ointments go a long way toward speeding up the healing stages. That’s why it’s highly advisable to get a tube of Neosporin and Mycitracin, and there are other topical ointments on the market that can be added to first aid kits. When they are used correctly, these creams do more than just stop the growth of bacteria; they also soothe the skin.6

Cold Packs

Instant cold packs deserve to be in every first aid kit because many problems respond well to the cold therapy method. From aches and pains to swelling and inflammation, instant cold packs can mitigate the common side effects that plague athletes, active individuals and elders. They are also extremely simple to activate; just squeeze and shake the bags.7

Given the fact that the bags are lightweight and compact, it’s a good idea to add a couple of them. Don’t worry about storing them in a refrigerator since they may develop frostbite. Instant cold packs produce fast results, but they should remain on the affected area for at least 20 minutes.

Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are a requirement, especially when the job entails cleaning an injury that’s surrounded by body fluids.8 Blood, urine, and feces may contain an array of pathogens. Therefore, it’s certainly not wise to administer first aid without protecting the hands. Since some people are allergic to latex, err on the side of caution, and only use disposable gloves that are made of vinyl or nitrile.


Tweezers are important not only because they can extract thorns without causing damage to the surrounding skin but also because they are a versatile tool. While each type has drawbacks, they all can be used to remove debris from cuts and sensitive areas, such as near the eyes.9

Consider getting several pairs of tweezers, particularly the ones that are easy to handle. The stainless-steel type and the flat-tip type are good choices for first aid kits.

Treatments for Insect Bites and Rashes

Treatment solutions for insect bites and rashes can save the skin from suffering further damage and can eliminate the need to visit the hospital.10 That’s why every first aid kit should have hydrocortisone creams, skin-barrier creams, and calamine lotion. Wound sealers are also recommended because they are designed to stop open sores from bleeding.