First aid is the first and immediate assistance given to any person suffering from either a minor or serious illness or injury, with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery.
A First aid kit is a collection of supplies, medication and equipment kept in a box or pack and used to administer First aid. First aid kits are a must-have for every home. First aid kits are necessary to manage ailments and injuries that happen at home, school or even at work. From minor ailments to more serious injuries a first aid kit can help reduce the risk of infection and the severity of the injury.
If you have a first aid kit, ensure it is easily accessible easy to open and the contents are properly labelled so that anyone can use the kit when needed
First aid kits can be assembled in almost any type of container and can be procured commercially, or assembled by individuals. It is important that all kits are in a clean, waterproof container to keep the contents safe and aseptic.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets a standard for first aid kits of being green, with a white cross, in order to make them easily recognizable to anyone requiring first aid.
Why do people not administer First Aid? Have Kits?
A significant number of people do not understand that everyone should be able to administer first aid, this is untrue. Anyone can and everyone should be trained to administer First aid, however, only those who have been trained to perform first aid should do so, to avoid worsening the injury/condition. Some other people do not believe they would be involved in situations so do not have first aid kits, forgetting that accidents can happen anywhere. It is important to note that first aid if applied correctly can reduce the severity of injury and prevent further injury. In some extreme instance it can even save lives.
It is therefore important for everyone to procure or assemble a first aid box and acquire some training for common scenarios so as to be able to properly administer first aid, as at when due.
Your first-aid box should be the go-to for common ailments whilst seeking medical attention.
What is in a First Aid Box?
- An up-to-date first-aid manual: This is a small yet complete manual that has all the current guidelines and standards for First Aid interventions including CPR and AED use. It sometimes has descriptions of the contents of the first aid box, and how to use them.
- Adhesive Bandages: These are tiny textile strips that stick to the skin. They are used for dressing of minor cuts and skin injury. This can also be called Plaster.
- Antiseptic Creams and Lotions: These are usually in a tube, in form of cream and can be used for minor burns, cuts, scratches, small wounds, scalds and abrasion to help prevent infection and ease the pain or burn.
- Muscle Creams and Sprays: These are medications that act on the muscles and can come in spray (aerosol) or cream form. They can be used to manage sprains and strains and are very important for persons who engage in high intensity physical activity.
- Pain Relievers: these drugs provide relief to minor aches, pains, and fever. Analgesics and /or Antipyretics are basic drugs to put in a first aid kit. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, and topical anesthetic are examples of the aforementioned.
- Antihistamines: These are medications that provide comfort or relief from upper respiratory allergy and itching of the nose or throat by reducing the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body.
- Lighter: This is used to sterilize instruments, although any interventions that require cutting, incisions or invasive procedures should only be done by trained personnel.
- Sterile Gauze and Tape: Sterile gauze are in events where the injury is too severe to be treated with a bandage. They can also be used to apply ointments or to clean wounds.
- A Splint: this is a piece of medical equipment used to keep an injured part from moving and to protect it from further damage. Usually hard enough to prevent bending. Invaluable in high impact areas where there is some risk of fractures.
- Mouthpiece for giving CPR: It is a mouthpiece that fit comfortably into the mouth to aid resuscitation and has a one-way valve. Should only be inserted by someone trained in CPR.
- A Pair of Tweezers: These are small pincer like tools used for picking objects too small to be easily handled with the human fingers or in places the fingers cannot reach. They come in different shape, size and for different purpose. Should only be used by trained personnel.
- Antiseptic wipes: these are a single use item that sanitizes the skin without risks of cross contamination. They kill germs, sanitize skin or any surface they are applied on. Must be applied before any sterile procedure.
- Soap: Mild soap are used to gently clean the area around the wound. Once the wound is clean, dab on a little antibiotic ointment and cover with a sterile bandage.
- Gloves: These are important for protecting both the rescuer and the injured person from bacteria and other harmful germs. They could be sterile gloves or non-sterile gloves.
- Safety pins: They are used to fasten or secure wraps and bandages together.
- Thermometer: This is used to check and monitor a person temperature.
- Calamine lotion: It is a lotion used as antipruritic to treat sunburn, chicken pox, poison ivy, eczema, insect bites and stings. It can also be used to dry weeping blisters and acne abscesses.
- Instant cold packs: This is a pack that turn icy when a substance inside is activated usually by shaking or bending the ice pack. It is used to slow the flow of blood to decrease swelling and bruising of a twisted ankle or battered shoulder. It can also be used to ease itching from stings and bites.
- Scissors: A pair of sharp scissors has lots of uses and the range from cutting lengths of medical tapes to trimming of gauze pads or snipping clothing that needs to be trimmed out of the way.
- Sterile Water/Saline: These are sterile solutions used to ensure clean environment for invasive intervention. It can be used as an eye wash to refresh or soothe the eyes and helps to flush away foreign objects and other irritants from the eye.
What can you treat with a First Aid Box?
A first Aid Kit can be used in these types of injuries:
- Foreign body aspiration
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Mild pain
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
A First Aid Kit/Box is a collection of supplies and equipment that are used to give medical treatment. The aims of a First Aid Care are to preserve life, prevent further injury and provide pain relief. First Aid Kit is necessity in every home, it is important to have a well stock first aid kit in your home/offices etc. so you can deal with minor injuries and accidents. Please note that this does not remove the need for Medical Care from a Trained Health Provider.
Edited by John Afam-Osemene (M.B.B.S)