Family members should also be trained in how to administer seizure first aid, apply a tourniquet to control bleeding, operate an automated external defibrillator, and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Emergencies occur when they are least expected, so being prepared is critical. First aid kits are convenient for emergencies that occur at home or while traveling. The American Red Cross recommends keeping first aid kits handy at home and in the car.1
First aid kits have an interesting history dating to 1888, when Fred Kilmer, the scientific director at Johnson & Johnson, created the first one.2 Health care professionals can recommend the best supplies for individuals to keep in their kits (Table1) based on specific medical conditions and needs. With summer approaching, it is a good time to prepare a first aid kit for any upcoming travel, whether it be a cruise, flight, or drive.
First aid kits are available as prepackaged OTC products. Additionally, certain kits are designed for activities such as camping or hiking. The American Red Cross has designed first aid kits with essential supplies.1 Individuals can also create their kits with a variety of OTC items. Aspirin 81-mg chewable tablets are important in the event an individual experiences symptoms of a heart attack, such as arm pain, chest pain, or shortness of breath.3 However, it is critical for individuals to first call 911 if these symptoms are present.
Adult and pediatric diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is an important OTC antihistamine to have in a first aid kit to manage an allergic reaction.1 If anyone has a history of anaphylaxis, then prescription epinephrine (EpiPen) should be part of the kit.1 Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is another important OTC medication for managing fever and pain in adults and children. Topical hydrocortisone is essential for insect bites.1 Triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) is also a must-have item for minor burns, cuts, or scrapes.1 Glucose tablets and a juice box can be added to a first aid kit for individuals with diabetes to manage hypoglycemia from certain antidiabetic medications.1 Sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 is always important to have handy for adults and children 6 months and older.4
Advise patients to check their first aid kits regularly for expired medications. Additionally, everyone should know what is in a kit and how to use the contents. Family members should also be trained in how to administer seizure first aid, apply a tourniquet to control bleeding, operate an automated external defibrillator, and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
About The Author
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, PACS, is a drug information pharmacist and Pharmacy Times contributor residing in South Florida.
1. Must-haves for your first-aid kit. CDC. May 13, 2021. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2021/05/first-aid-kits/
2. The birth of the first aid kit. Johnson & Johnson. June 27, 2017. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://ourstory.jnj.com/birth-first-aid-kit
3. Aspirin and heart disease. American Heart Association. Updated March 20, 2019. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heartattack/treatment-of-a-heart-attack/aspirin-and-heart-disease
4. Should you put sunscreen on infants? Not usually. FDA. Updated August 24, 2021. Accessed April 27, 2023. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumerupdates/should-you-put-sunscreen-infants-not-usually