Build Your Summertime First Aid Kit with These Essentials
By Cody Miller, EvergreenHealth Staff Writer
Water bottle? Check. Wide-brimmed hat? Check. First aid kit?
Whether you're on a trip to the beach or on a weekend hike, you're probably not thinking about medical essentials you might need in the event of an emergency.
Even if it's on your checklist, are you sure you've thought of everything?
A summertime first aid kit full of the essentials can be a huge convenience while enjoying your fun in the sun. It can also make a big difference in an emergency, which is why it's important your kit is complete.
The best start to creating your own first aid kit is a pre-made one. These get you started with small packs of important things that you shouldn't leave the house without. Your store-bought kit will include some of the essentials to start with including an assortment of bandages for different-sized cuts and blisters, alcohol wipes, wound closure strips, square sterile dressings, a roll of gauze and adhesive tape.
However, there are some more items you should make sure to take with you. The following is a list of some summertime first aid kit essentials from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Washington Trails Association:
- Extra water: It may be obvious enough, but there's more to water than just hydration. Be sure you bring extra for cleaning out wounds, too. Any scrapes or cuts should be washed out first and the nearest clean water source is likely whatever water you brought to drink.
- If you're heading out for a hike, you might consider packing an irrigation syringe, which looks like a normal syringe except with a plastic tip, in order to flush out a wound.
- Medications: Add an extra supply of any prescription medication you or your loved ones may need, like an EpiPen for anyone with severe allergies, as well as incidental medications like Benadryl, ibuprofen, Tylenol and nausea medication like Dramamine.
- Latex gloves: One of the hazards to a first aider is bodily fluids. If someone has a blood-transferable disease, disposable gloves help to protect against the transmission of disease and illness.
- Bug spray and hydrocortisone ointment: These two items are important for similar reasons. A standard insect repellant prevents those annoying bug bits that could get infected when scratched. Hydrocortisone ointment treats any bug bites, along with things like poison ivy and rashes, and can help reduce itching.
- Sunblock and lip balm: Even if it's cloudy outside, you still need sunblock. While you should be wearing a daily sunblock with at least 15 SPF, for summer activities you should grab 30-50 SPF and reapply at least every couple of hours. Also, pack a lip balm with an SPF to prevent sunburnt and dry lips as well as soothe cold sores.
- Pre-made malleable splint and elastic bandage: Just like most things in your first-aid kit, you won't realize you need these items until you do. A store-bought splint made of foam and aluminum can hold a broken or severely sprained finger in place until you get to a doctor. You can also make your own splint by using a straight, hard material like a stick taped tightly to either side of the finger. Be sure the material runs the length of the whole finger. An elastic bandage is versatile and can be used to brace a sprained ankle, wrap a bandaged wound and keep a splint in place.
- Flashlight: Even if you plan on being back home on your couch by midday, it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to being able to see in the dark. If you get lost, separated from friends and family or get stuck somewhere out in the wilderness, being able to check your surroundings in the dark will help keep you safe.
These summertime essentials for your first-aid kit are yearlong necessities, and each item can make a difference during an emergency no matter what time of year it is. If you have trouble remembering to pack your kit before leaving the house, keep it in your car so that it goes everywhere with you.
There are plenty of other items that you could add to this list, so be sure to think about what you would need and want in every type of emergency.