As nurses and also mums we often get asked what are the ‘must have’ items to have in your first aid kit at home. It is obviously up to every person as an individual to decide whats best for their needs but there are a few things that I feel you will always need at some point.
- It’s super important to make sure that all medications are within date as when they expire they are not as effective and can sometimes cause bad side effects.
- Even more importantly is to make sure that all medications all locked; either in a cupboard or a lockable medicine box – you can get some fab ones on amazon. You should also really lock away all medication that you may be taking or keep them far away from little hands.
Medicines that everyone should have in their homes are:
- Paracetamol (calpol) and ibuprofen for all of the scrapes, cuts and bumps that children sustain, for fevers and when they aren’t feeling well or for babies that are teething. You don’t have to buy the branded versions often places like Boots do their own versions that are substantially cheaper. Check with the pharmacist that they are the same.
- If you have babies and toddlers then teething gel is a must – please check as some teething powders contain dairy which many babies can be allergic to.
- Piriton is another essential for any allergic reactions that may occur – its super handy to have it nearby as the quicker it is given the quicker you can try to stop the reaction from worsening
I find the ear thermometers are great and generally tend to be pretty accurate much more so than the ones that you place on a child’s forehead. You can get pretty decent digital ones these days that aren’t too expensive either. Personally at our house we have the Braun thermoscan thermometer which is very easy to use.
Every parent needs to have that vital ice pack in the freezer. You can buy super cute fancy ones with pictures and shapes on them however a bag of frozen peas will also do the trick and be just as effective. Don’t forget to wrap the ice pack, the peas or whatever you have in your freezer in a towel or a cloth so that your child doesn’t get cold burns.
Antiseptic wipes and Creams
Everyone seems to love a bit of antiseptic cream. When I was a kid my mum used to put savlon on everything. However the research on whether these creams have any positive effect is really minimal. The best thing you can do is give the cut or wound a proper wash with soap and water. Everyone seems horrified by this and says ”what just tap water?” – it’s what we do when you come into A&E. If a wound is clean and dry and healing well then there is no need for creams. Some people say that the creams can increase the chance of introducing infection into an otherwise clean wound.
If you still want to use an antiseptic cream then:
- clean the wound first
- ensure that you have clean hands when applying the cream.
When out and about antiseptic wipes can be very useful for giving cuts a clean when you can’t get to a tap. Just be aware that it can be painful when they used.
Alcohol hand gel is also very useful especially when out and about and need to clean hands and don’t have access to a sink.
It is useful to keep an assortment of different plasters of various shapes and sizes and most importantly with children different pictures on. Often a plaster with a picture fixes most pains for children.
It can also be handy to keep a couple of packs of sterile gauze and some bandages if you feel confident to use them. Scissors can also be useful if you use bandages as well as some tape ( like micropore) to hold the bandages in place.
Tweezers are super useful to have to remove splinters out of fingers. Ones with thinner edges are particularly good but any that you use for your brows will work – you don’t need to buy special ones.
A tip for stubborn splinters is to apply some magnesium sulphate paste over the splinter cover with a plaster and leave overnight and the paste should draw the splinter out fully or enough so that you can remove it more easily. Sometimes you have to apply the paste a couple of times. You can buy magnesium sulphate paste in nearly all chemists.
Especially at this time of year, stings and bites are very prevalent so keeping antihistamines and also a bite cream is helpful. These can help reduce inflammation and swelling and that annoying itch that you can get.
Most importantly remember to make sure that all items in your first aid kit especially the medicines are in date and that they are replaced after they have been used.