When it comes to immediately providing emergency care, there’s no better tool than a well-stocked first-aid kit. In a pinch, having medical essentials at your fingertips is absolutely essential. Unfortunately, many people aren’t quite as well-equipped as they might think. An old box with some bandages and a couple of ibuprofen just won’t suffice.

If you’re in need of a first-aid kit upgrade, read on to discover practical tips and necessary supplies.

Where should you keep first aid kits?

First aid kits can come in handy almost anywhere, but there are a few important locations where they should always be kept. According to the American Red Cross, you should keep kits in your car, your house and your workplace. If possible, the source also suggested carrying an on-the-go kit in your purse or pocket.

If you’re a fan of the outdoors and like to spend your spare time swimming, hiking or camping, you should consider building individualized first aid kits to bring on each of these adventures. These packs will likely be larger than your home, car and work kits, since you’ll want to include items that apply to the risky nature of these activities.

What should a basic kit include?

There are a few categories to consider when building your kit. The Mayo Clinic suggested first focusing on basic supplies, which include items like:

  • Tape.
  • Wound dressings.
  • Bandages.
  • Eye shields.
  • Latex gloves.
  • Scissors.
  • Tweezers.
  • Eyewash.
  • Ice packs.

You should also add medications, fluids and topical solutions that can reduce symptoms or pain in the event of a medical emergency. Parents magazine recommended equipping your kit with:

  • Non-aspirin pain reliever.
  • Pedialyte®.
  • Antihistamine.
  • Calamine lotion.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Insect repellant.
  • Petroleum jelly.

Be sure to leave space for emergency items that may be unique to your family or the region you reside in. For example, families living in cold climates may want to include warm blankets in their packs. Other suggestions from The Mayo Clinic include:

  • Medical history for each family member.
  • Phone numbers for emergency contacts and first responders.
  • Whistle.
  • Waterproof matches and candles.
  • Flashlights.
  • Cell phone and solar-powered charger.

Once you’ve built your perfect pack, be vigilant about checking it every few months to ensure batteries are working and products haven’t reached their expiration dates.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.