Summer activities warrant a first aid kit

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 4:33 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - If you plan to enjoy outdoor recreation this summer, it’s best to be prepared if an emergency should pop up. Whether you sprain an ankle, step on a nail or rub against a plant which you’re allergic to, a first aid kit will come in handy.

If the injury is major or minor the kits can give you some time.

There are kits on the market, or a homemade first aid kit will work. Experts say it’s good to have more than one for the home and car.

Over-the-counter medications needed for a kit include aspirin; both standard and low dose aspirin should be included. A 911 operator may instruct a lower dose to be administered if a heart attack is suspected. NSAIDS can also be in the kit should someone be experiencing simple pain, swelling or even a headache.

Include antibiotic cream as well as hydrocortisone cream. The latter can be used for an insect bite or poisonous plant.

“It is always a good idea too to keep Benadryl in a first aid kit, or if you are home, keep that in your medicine cabinet as well for things like a rash or hives, things like that,” says Jennifer Walters, a REMSA Paramedic.

Saline eye wash is good to have. Not only can it flush an eye out, the solution can also help clean a wound.

If there is no access to running water, antiseptic wipes can also be used to clean a wound. And antiseptic gel should be available to clean your hands before administering first aid. Include instant cold packs in the kit. A squeeze and shake will stay cool for approximately 15 minutes. But that’s not the cold packs‘ only limitation. It also has an expiration date of 18 to 24 months if properly stored.

The same goes for other items we have mentioned.

Whether the first aid kit is purchased or created, examine the items contained inside the kit every year. Pills, ointments and other medications have an expiration date. They will need to be replaced.

The first aid kit should also have some utility items like scissors, tweezers, and disposable latex gloves. The scissors will come in handy to cut waterproof adhesive tape for wound dressing and gauze.

Band-Aids of all sizes should be included in your first aid kit. But consider some other items you might not be familiar with.

Walters says a CPR face shield could easily save a life.

“It is like a barrier, and it shows you how to do it,” says Walters.

Such a barrier, she says, might have more people inclined to perform the lifesaving technique.

“There are instructions, so this side goes in their mouth and this side protects you, and there’s a little valve there,” she says. “If you are hiking, going to go on a boat where there is a potential that you could be out there for a while, keep your medication with you,” says Walters. “And also, especially those emergency medications. Epi pens, you absolutely bring those especially for outdoor activities. Allergic to anything in the outdoors; it is great to take that with you.”

A mylar or space blanket can help maintain a person’s body temperature if there’s been a severe injury or shock.

When assembling a kit, make sure items are in waterproof bags, clearly marked. Leave notes inside so they can be used correctly and efficiently under pressure.

Feeling especially adventurous or just want more confidence?

Take advantage of a first aid class this summer.

First Aid Kit Items: Aspirin low does and regular, antibacterial ointment, hydrocortisone cream, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic hand gel, Benadryl, Epi pen, prescription medication, saline eye wash, instant cold pack, scissors, tweezers, disposable latex gloves, adhesive tape, gauze, band-aids, mylar blanket, bottled water. *CPR face shield.

*Optional item.