The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
Emergencies and First Aid
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A Well-Stocked First-Aid Kit

A fishing tackle box or a rectangular sealed plastic container makes an ideal first-aid kit. It is wise to keep one in your home, car, boat, and camper. Stock your first-aid kit with the following items.

  • One roll of absorbent cotton
  • Antihistamine for allergic reactions
  • Povidone-iodine antiseptic solution
  • Aspirin (for adult use only) and acetaminophen and ibuprofen (in child and adult dosages)
  • 1-inch wide adhesive tape
  • Bacitracin ointment to treat cuts, scrapes, or puncture wounds
  • Bandages in various sizes
  • Bar of soap
  • Butterfly bandages and thin adhesive strips to hold skin edges together
  • Calamine lotion
  • Cold pack
  • Mouthpiece for protection when performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • Cotton-tipped swabs
  • Syrup of ipecac to induce vomit
  • Elastic bandage or wrap
  • Eyedropper for irrigating
  • Flashlight
  • 4-inch x 4-inch gauze pads
  • Disposable surgical gloves
  • Matches
  • Saline eyedrops
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Sewing needle to help remove a splinter
  • Four packets of sugar in a sealed plastic bag to use in case of low blood sugar (see Diabetic Emergencies, p. 1206)
  • Thermometer
  • Two triangular pieces of cloth to use as slings or to cut up as bandages or straps
  • Tweezers



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