As mentioned in my set-up post for this series, you should strongly consider buying or making a medical kit for your home. When the need arises, it will be easy to find, accessible, and should have the items you’re likely to need for 80% (or more) of your household emergency needs.
This post will cover the Home Medical Kit.
Why do you need a home medical kit? Chances are good you have some personal experience or insight into the reasons, so I’m not going into detail here. When it comes to a household “emergency” a kit puts what you’re going to need in one place. If you have kids, it’s just a matter of time before one of them runs in the house screaming with a cut, abrasion, bite, burn, or some other injury. Not every such injury can be handled at home, but most of them can. When it happens, you don’t want to have to run all over the house looking for bandages, gauze, medicine, and the rest.
Keep your kit all together.
Keep it in the same place all the time.
Make sure it is up-to-date and fully stocked.
Essential Ingredients For Your Home Medical Kit:
- Ibuprofen or Aleve (for pain, fever, sprains, pulls, etc.)
- Tylenol (for pain or fever)
- Aspirin (especially for chest pain, but also for pain and fever, but not in pre-adolescent children)
- Triple Antibiotic Ointment (for scrapes, wounds or cuts after cleansing)
- Benadryl (or Zyrtec or Claritin) tablets (for allergic reactions)
- Loperamide or pepto-bismol tabs (for diarrhea)
- Zantac OTC (for heartburn or acid reflux)
- Tums tablets (also for heartburn, works faster but shouldn’t be used regularly)
Wipes & Creams:
- Skin barrier cream (helps sunburns, other burns, irritated skin)
- Antiseptic wipes (benzalkonium or chlorhexidine – used for cleaning prior to bandaging)
- Alcohol prep wipes (same as above, essentially, but easier to get and don’t leave lasting protection)
- Anti-Itch wipes like After-Bite (self-explanatory)
- Tincture of Benzoin (this is antiseptic and will help butterfly closures stick)
- Silver nitrate sticks or a shaving nick stick (great for stopping small cut bleeding)
- Gauze of various sizes (2×2’s & 4×4’s) preferably individually packaged (or single use packages)
- Non-stick Dressing (Telfa or another brand) also in multiple sizes if possible.
- Butterfly closure strips (for cuts that aren’t deep enough or long enough to require stitches)
- Regular bandages of various sizes (I prefer types with “sport” in the name because they usually stick better) get a variety of sizes and shapes.
- Trauma pads – these are high-absorbency pads if there is a lot of bleeding. To be used on your way to the ER or waiting for an ambulance.
- 1″ wide medical tape (we call it silk tape) or the plastic perforated type. Silk tape is better unless you’re allergic.
- Self-adhesive rolls (we call it kerlix). This stuff can provide compression and holds bandages well. Get 2″ and 4″ rolls if you can.
- Moleskin – this is a fuzzy adhesive velvet-like tape that you put around blisters. Usually comes pre-cut
- Nitrile gloves
- Q-tips for applying creams (place these in a baggie)
- Quality needle-tipped tweezers (for removing splinters & ticks)
- Utility scissors (often you’ll need to cut fabric away to see the bleeding, or to remove gauze)
- Tongue depressors (or new popsicle sticks) – can be used in splints
- 10 mL syringe (or larger) (use this for irrigating abrasions and cuts with sterile water, saline, or tap water if you have city-treated water)
A piece of paper with all your emergency contact numbers on it as well as your doctors’ names and numbers. Also write on it any allergies for individuals in your household.