Monday May 26 2014

Why you need a First Aid box

By Stella Nakakande

Recently, someone dear to me was involved in an accident, so naturally they came to me for some help or first aid, and regrettably, I had none to offer. From our primary school days, we were taught that first aid was the first treatment given to someone who has been injured and for now, we shall stick to this definition.

The topic today is, however, not about first aid but rather a first aid box. We see these in taxis, but how many people carry them around in their cars and for those who do not own cars, who says you can’t have a ‘first-aid bag’ in your handbag or at your desk to deal with minor accidents and injuries? It should be stored in a cool dry place away from children’s reach though.
So what are the components of this first aid kit?

Adhesive tape (plaster)
This should be in a variety of shapes and sizes because the site, and size of wounds differ as much as the people who get them.
Sterile gauze dressing

This too comes in different sizes from small, medium to large.

Disposable sterile gloves (two pairs at least)
These are important for the simple fact that you do not want to introduce infection to the wound and neither do you want to pick it up.

These help in dressing up the wound.
Alcohol free cleansing wipes
As the name suggests, they serve to clean the wound before one can dress it.
Distilled water
This is used to clean the wound and can be used as an eye bath.
Paracetamol is a good option because it also takes care of the fever if any. Other painkillers like ibuprofen or diclofenac can be kept. This should be in a clean dry place and the expiry dates should regularly be checked. For children, paracetamol is recommended.
Sterile eye dressing, safety pins, scissors, thermometer, antiseptic cream, skin rash cream and cream/spray for insect bites. A manual to guide one on what and when to use it is also essential.

The writer is a pharmacist