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12 Items to Keep in Your Home’s First Aid Kit

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 17, 2021
From the WebMD Archives

‌A first aid kit is a must in any house. It keeps you prepared for in-home emergencies such as cuts, scrapes, and other injuries. It can also hold supplies for getting through disasters like a power outage or blizzard. Whether you buy one or build one yourself, here are the items you should keep in your home’s first aid kit. 

1. Bandages and Cleaning Supplies

Cuts, scrapes, and burns are among some of the most common injuries you might experience in your home. To address these injuries, you should keep your first aid kit well-stocked with items such as:

2. A Thermometer

While a person’s “normal” body temperature can vary slightly throughout the day, a temperature that’s suddenly high could indicate an illness or infection. Keeping a thermometer in an easy-to-access spot can help you check yourself or another member of your family for a fever and determine what steps you might need to take next. 

3. Over-the-Counter Medications

Whether you’re dealing with a headache, muscle aches, itching, inflammation, or stomachache, over-the-counter medications can often help you manage the symptoms. Keep your first-aid kit stocked with such medications as:‌

4. Prescription Medication

If you take prescription medications, you should have at least enough for a week stashed in your first aid kit. Keeping a small stock of your regular medications can be beneficial in an emergency situation, such as a blizzard, hurricane, or other disaster.  You should also keep a current list of your medications and your dosing instructions in your kit. 

5. Instant Heat and Cold Packs

Even at home, you can bump your head, slip, trip, and fall. These injuries can cause pain. If you don’t have ice packs in your freezer (or your power goes out and you can’t use your microwave), instant heat and cold packs can help. While you store them at room temperature, you can activate them by squeezing them. The water and salt then mix inside the pack, triggering a warming or cooling reaction. 

6. Tweezers

Getting a splinter or shard of glass stuck in your skin is never pleasant. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also lead to an infection if it’s left too long. ‌

Tweezers can help you remove stubborn splinters. Keeping them in your emergency kit means you can access them quickly instead of trying to search through the house to find them. 

7. Water and Non-Perishable Food Items

Keeping a supply of water and non-perishable food items can be beneficial in emergency situations like blizzards or power outages. Store a supply of bottled water and foods that are easy to prepare without electricity. 

8. Emergency Blankets

In colder months, one of the last things you want is to be without heat. If you do lose power, having blankets on hand can help provide warmth. You might even consider keeping specialized emergency blankets (also called space blankets) in your kit. Their materials trap your body heat so that it stays close to you and keeps you warm. 

9. A Radio

When the power goes out, especially during a severe storm, staying tuned to the local news and weather is essential. You could use your smartphone, but you may want to preserve the battery, even with a fully charged portable charger.  Instead, your emergency kit should include a battery-powered or hand-crank AM/FM radio. That way, you can listen for updates, alerts, and more. 

10. A Flashlight

If you lose power at night — or need to do something at night — an LED flashlight and extra batteries are beneficial to have on hand. You might also consider a few small battery-powered lanterns so that you have light in a few key locations around your house if necessary. 

11. A Phone Charger

Your cellphone can do a lot. You can use it to check the news and weather, contact friends and family to make sure they’re safe, and get in touch with emergency services if needed. But it won’t do you any good if the battery gets too low or dies. A fully charged portable phone charger can help keep your phone powered, even when everything else goes out. 

12. Emergency Contacts

Finally, it’s never a bad idea to have a list of emergency contacts in your first aid kit. Even though you can store numbers on your smartphone, you might not have the number for your local fire or police department. You might also want to have numbers for your physician, pediatrician, and poison control. That way, you can quickly get in touch with whomever you need when you need them. 

WebMD Feature

Sources

SOURCES:

American Red Cross: “Make a First Aid Kit,” “What Do You Need in a Survival Kit?”

Cleveland Clinic: Body Temperature: What Is (And Isn’t) Normal?”

Consumer Reports: When Disaster Strikes: What to Put in Your Medication Go Bag.”

Kid’s Health: “First Aid: Splinters.”

Poison Control: “What’s Inside an Ice Pack?”

St. Luke’s University Health Network: “5 Common Home Accidents and How to Prevent Them.”

UC San Diego Health: “What Should Be in a Home First Aid Kit?"

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