Ev­ery home needs a first-aid kit

Times Standard (Eureka) - - LIFESTYLE - By Dr. Eve Glazier Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an in­ternist and as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of medicine at UCLA Health. El­iz­a­beth Ko, M.D., is an in­ternist and as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of medicine at UCLA Health.

Dear Doctor: Now that it’s harder see a doctor or go to the emer­gency room, I want to beef up our firstaid kit. What should we have on hand?

Dear Reader: We’re big fans of main­tain­ing a well­stocked first-aid kit and agree that hav­ing the right sup­plies on hand is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant right now. We’ll go a step fur­ther and sug­gest that you keep an edited ver­sion of the home kit in each car.

Your first step is to iden­tify your fam­ily’s spe­cific needs. If some­one has a food al­lergy or a res­pi­ra­tory con­di­tion, such as asthma, you’ll want to stock ex­tras of the med­i­ca­tions you use to man­age those con­di­tions. Be sure to clearly mark each med­i­ca­tion with its ex­pi­ra­tion date.

When it comes to gen­eral items, think in terms of the types of med­i­cal sit­u­a­tions that re­quire prompt at­ten­tion. These in­clude skin in­juries, such as cuts, scrapes, burns, rashes and splin­ters; mishaps such as pulled mus­cles or strained lig­a­ments; in­fec­tions such as a sore throat or a cold; and com­mon al­ler­gic re­ac­tions such as poi­son oak, poi­son ivy and in­sect stings. Buy the prod­ucts you’re fa­mil­iar with and that you’ve had suc­cess with in the past.

We also think it’s wise to in­vest in a good firstaid hand­book, which will guide you through the di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment of the mishaps that can oc­cur at home. Leaf through it be­fore stow­ing it with your gear. Know­ing in ad­vance how to ap­proach a burn, cut or sprain will lessen ev­ery­one’s stress dur­ing an emer­gency, and it will im­prove the qual­ity of the first-aid care you’re ren­der­ing. Make learn­ing the ropes a fam­ily en­ter­prise so ev­ery­one can help each other.

First-aid sup­plies for a fam­ily of four should in­clude:

· 25 ad­he­sive ban­dages of as­sorted sizes

· An­tibi­otic oint­ment and an­ti­sep­tic wipes · As­pirin

· An in­stant cold com­press

· 2 ab­sorbent com­press dress­ings

· 1 ad­he­sive cloth tape · Non-la­tex gloves to be worn when deal­ing with blood or bod­ily flu­ids

· Hy­dro­cor­ti­sone oint­ment

· A pair of scis­sors and a set of tweez­ers

· A 3-inch and a 4-inch roller ban­dage

· 10 ster­ile gauze pads (3-by-3 inches and 4-by-4 inches)

· An oral ther­mome­ter that is not glass and does not con­tain mer­cury — and if your ther­mome­ter uses bat­ter­ies, be sure to stock ex­tras

Ad­di­tional items you may con­sider in­clude antacid tablets, anti-di­ar­rhea meds, a bee-sting kit, a small mir­ror and blunt-tip scis­sors. Store ev­ery­thing in a wa­ter­proof con­tainer that’s easy to open and easy to carry. Some­thing with sep­a­rate com­part­ments is best so you can eas­ily see and reach the items you need. Use one of the com­part­ments for the fam­ily-spe­cific items we talked about ear­lier. Bath­rooms tend to be damp en­vi­ron­ments, so store your sup­plies some­where else, such as a linen closet or kitchen pantry.

Fi­nally, be sure to set up and main­tain a firstaid kit check­list. You’ll use this to re­plen­ish sup­plies as you use them, and to keep track of all med­i­ca­tions with ex­pi­ra­tion dates. This is also a good spot to in­clude all of the emer­gency phone num­bers you rely on.

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