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First aid kit essentials

By  AAMI

Having a first aid kit in your home is a smart idea – you never know when an emergency will occur so being prepared is essential. What you need and how much you’ll need depends on where you live. A first aid kit found on farm in rural Australia will be different than an apartment dweller in the city. We spoke to Noel Matson from St John Ambulance for advice on what to stock up on.

Bandages 

Be sure to include a variety of bandages of different shapes and sizes so you’ve got what you need no matter the emergency. Remember, just because you can cover it up doesn’t mean you’re good to go. You may need stiches if the cut is particularly deep. Or if a snake or spider bites, see a medical professional as soon as possible. 

Crepe bandages

Keeping a crepe bandage or two in your kit will come in handy as they provide light compression for minor sprains or strains.  

Slings 

Also called triangular bandages, a sling will help protect a broken arm, rib or shoulder as you make your way to the hospital. 

Gauze 

A supply of sterile, unopened gauze will come in handy to clean cuts and scrapes and avoid infection.  

Scissors

In an emergency the last thing you want is to be running around looking for scissors to cut clothes or a bandage. Keep a sharp, clean pair in your kit. 

Sodium chloride solution

This sterile solution is perfect for cleaning small cuts or scrapes or washing out eyes. It can be purchased in 15ml eye-dropper doses which makes it easy to dispense and store so it remains sterile. 

Antiseptic ointment/cream

After cleaning a cut or scrape, it’s a good idea to use some an antiseptic ointment or cream on the area to help prevent infection.  

Sterile gloves

These disposable, sterile gloves could be useful when you’re treating an injury.

Splinter probe 

If you’re an avid gardener, a splinter probe makes removing splinters or thorns a bit easier. Always wash the wound after you’ve removed the splinter and sterilise the probe for the next use.  

Alcohol-free cleansing wipes

Alcohol-free wipes are a quick and easy way to clean a cut or scrape. Only use it once and toss it out to prevent any cross contamination. 

When it comes to your first aid kit, the most important thing is to check expiration dates and stock levels regularly. If you use something, replace it as soon as possible to ensure your kit has what you need in the case of an emergency.