They say that health is wealth and most of us prioritize health above all things. We eat the right foods, take vitamins and engage in physical activities that will keep us fit and healthy. However, no matter how careful we are, we still get sick or sometimes we get ourselves into minor cuts or injuries. Since not all illness or wounds warrant a hospital confinement or doctor’s intervention, we need to have our personal first aid kit that is handy and complete. Here’s the list of the top 10 items that you should keep in your kit.
10. Paracetamol – this medicine has good anti pyretic property which makes it useful for treating fever. It has low anti inflammatory effects so we can use this to treat mild pain. It is also considered the safest analgesic so people with liver or kidney problems can take this medication. However, we have to keep it in mind that any medication should not be used more than what is advised (overdose). If you are not sure about the dosage, consult your doctor. Paracetamol is available in liquid preparation for children and in tablets for adults.
9. Mefenamic acid – this is a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug that can be used to treat mild to moderate pain like tooth ache or muscle pain. Other alternatives include ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac. These medications are also useful in alleviating arthritis. But remember that if the pain persists after taking the medicines round the clock, we have to consult our doctors.
8. Antihistamines – there are several antihistamines found in the market, the most famous ones include loratadine and cetirizine. Antihistamine is used to treat symptoms caused by hay fever and allergies. It can also be used to treat colds (allergic rhinitis), watering eyes and running nose. These are usually available in small tablets. Some have side effects of drowsiness like chlorphenamine and diphenhydramine which we can use at bed time.
7. Antidiarrhea – the most common antidiarrhea medication is loperamide. Because diarrhea is something we cannot avoid from time to time, we need to have these tablets available at home. However, if the diarrhea is accompanied by blood or it does not stop despite taking the medicines round the clock, consider it an emergency and rush to the hospital.
6. Antacids – these help to ease indigestion and heartburn. There are various types of antacids, including sodium bicarbonate, magnesium trisilicate, aluminum or magnesium hydroxide. These medicines reduce the acid content of your stomach. There are more powerful antacids available in the market like ranitidine and omeprazole.
5. Hydrocortisone creams – this is a mild steroid cream known to reduce inflammation. These creams can be used to treat dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), eczema and insect stings. Hydrocortisone creams should not be applied on the face unless otherwise advised by the doctor.
4. Cough medications – these over the counter medicines are also useful at home. Some examples include carbocisteine and dextrometorphan. If the cough persists for more than seven days, consult your doctor. If someone in the family has asthma, it would also be wise to have anti asthma medications and a nebulizer at home.
3. Povidone iodine – this is a good antiseptic used to clean wounds or scratches. With this in your first aid kit, you should also include cotton balls as applicator of the povidone iodine.
2. Bandages – these are helpful when someone broke her arm or leg. If the condition seems to be serious, you can put a bandage first as an emergency procedure before bringing the patient to the nearest hospital. Bandages are also used in big wounds that need to be covered all around.
1. Sterile Gauze – this is an important item in your first aid kit because this is what we used to cover wounds. It has to be sterile so that we are sure that the wound is not infected with bacteria and other microorganisms. Gauze is usually accompanied by a micropore to stabilize it in place.