What Do You Really Need in a First Aid Kit?
When you are out enjoying the great outdoors, accidents are bound to happen even to the best of us. While accidents occur unexpectedly, the way you handle them shouldn't be unexpected. The right first aid kit is the key to surviving accidents both small and large in the wild. So, what do you really need in a first aid kit? Here are the top 10 essentials you should always have on hand when heading out for an adventure.
This is essential because it can be used for lots of purposes, but one is more important than the other uses. While gauze can be used to pack a sling for added support, provide cushioning to an area to prevent it getting bumped into, and can be wrapped around an injury to provide protection from dirt getting in, the most important thing gauze can do is in regard to bleeding. You can apply gauze and pressure to a wound to help slow the blood loss which may be critical in a serious situation in the great outdoors.
This is a no-brainer for a first aid kit. You should have bandages in a range of sizes and shapes from butterfly to small options for wrapping around a finger. Bandages help you prevent the wound from getting infected or being exposed to the elements.
- Antiseptic Wash
While bandages are important, there is no denying the importance of an antiseptic wash in the event of an outdoor accident. Aside from soap and water to properly clean the wound and protect against infection, an antiseptic wash is the best way to treat the wound in the outdoors.
- Adhesive Tape
Used to secure gauze or wraps, adhesive tape is important for several reasons. Most tape will have a hard time sticking to skin the way you need it to which is why medical grade adhesive tape is crucial.
This is one of the more often overlooked additions to a first aid kit, but it is crucial. If you are treating a wound with dirty hands, you leave that wound open to infection. Gloves are the best way to help keep the incision area clean.
This is helpful to have in case you need to cut bandages or wraps for a specific size. Scissors also come in handy for cutting clothing if needed to better access a wound. It is important to get medical scissors over any old pair you have around the house because medical scissors are shaped to protect the skin with an angled blade.
- Cold compress/ heat pack
The element of temperature is important when dealing with certain medical situations. For example, cold compresses or heat packs can work together to reduce swelling in sprains or other injuries. These are just good basics to have on hand in any first aid kit.
- Snake bite suction
Snakes can be one of man's greatest enemies in the outdoors thanks to the potency of their venom. In the event of a snake bite, time is of the essence and the first few minutes after a bite are critical. With a bite suction kit, you can remove as much venom as possible before it has a chance to circulate through the bloodstream and cause a more severe, possibly fatal, reaction.
- Emergency blanket
An emergency blanket is ideal for cold climate areas where hypothermia is a high threat but should be included in your kit no matter the weather. Hypothermia can happen even in what most people think of as warm weather if someone is injured or their immune system is compromised in some way like infection. An emergency blanket creates heat to help stave off the effects of hypothermia, so it is a must-have in your kit.
- Elastic bandages
A sprain or a break can become a serious problem out in the middle of nowhere. With an elastic bandage, you can easily improvise a sling to keep things stabilized until you reach civilization for further medical assessment or care.