Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tips for creating a useful first-aid kit

Do you have a first-aid kit at home? If so, when’s the last time you checked on the contents and made sure you have what you need? If you’re not sure, you’ll want to listen to the latest episode of our Get Ready Report podcast series and find out what it takes to have a useful kit.

The episode features advice from Richard Bradley, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, on what should go in to a good first-aid kit — and why those items should be there. Bradley is a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and chair of their CPR Subcouncil. In other words, he’s an expert in getting ready for emergencies!

First, Bradley says everyone should have a first-aid kit in their home — and in their car, too. First-aid kits are important both for household emergencies that require quick response and treatment and in case of a disaster.

“The emergency medical services that we expect to be there in just a few minutes during normal conditions may take a lot longer or may not be able to come at all if there’s an injury after a disaster,” Bradley says.

Bradley says there are several items that should be in any first-aid kit: gloves and other personal protective equipment, an assortment of bandages and common medication to treat fever and pain, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Bradley also talks about items that don’t need to be in your first-aid kit, such as first-aid creams.

Whether you buy a pre-made first-aid kit or put together your own, it’s clear that having a kit is an important part of getting ready.

“I can tell you anyone who I see who comes into my emergency department never planned when they woke up that morning that they were going to have an emergency,” Bradley says. “So you will never know when the day will come when something will happen when you’ll need to respond.”

For more tips, listen to the podcast online now or check out the transcript. For handy reference, print and save this Healthy You tipsheet from The Nation’s Health, APHA’s newspaper.

Don’t miss an episode of Get Ready Report. Subscribe to our podcast series via iTunes.

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