Back in January, I was cutting the bottom out of a shoebox when instead of cutting the shoebox, I managed to slice my middle finger open with the scissors I was holding. At first, nothing happened. Then, as I walked towards the Kleenex box just in case, it started bleeding.
I walked down the hall to my room for my backpack where I knew there was a roll of gauze, and got my mom to fish it out. Then an hour and a half later after no real reprieve from the bleeding and gauze I was replacing every 10 minutes, I gave in and went to the hospital.
Three stitches later in the emergency department, it was only a few days later that we had a real first aid kit in the house.
While I had a small first-aid kit of my own (plus my kit for work), and I knew where my first aid supplies were, had the same thing happened to either of my parents, I’m not sure they’d have known where to start looking. They do now—the first aid kit is stored in our linen closet upstairs. But, learn from my experience, please (or what good is it other than teaching me to maybe not slice shoe boxes with scissors): Have a well-stocked first aid kit, know where it is, and check it regularly!
What should be in your first aid kit?
- Bandages of varying sizes
- Gauze and tape; scissors
- Clean water to rinse cuts (I usually heed the advice of a first aid instructor I had back in the day and do not use anything to clean cuts. At the hospital I am pretty sure they only used saline—sterile salt water).
- Tensor or wrap bandages; safety pins
- A triangle bandage (to make a sling)
- Tweezers (for removing splinters or slivers; larger items should usually be left in for extraction by medical personnel to prevent bleeding)
- Allergy medicine (check expiration dates)
- Protective gloves (Latex free always a good idea)
- A CPR face shield (if you are trained in CPR)
It’s also a good idea to have additional items including a first aid manual, paper and pen, flashlight and extra batteries inside your first aid kit. The Red Cross also recommends having emergency phone numbers (including 911 or your local emergency number), and emergency contact information inside.  You should keep first aid kits in your home, car, recreation areas, and other residences you spend time in like a lake house, cabin or RV. If you have chronic disease, it can be a good idea to keep a small supply of extra medications inside your first aid kit. And, a back-up medical ID bracelet or even a wallet card can be a great addition to your first aid kit to keep you safe—no matter what unexpected situation you find yourself in.