Anyone who’s planning a trip will be thinking of what they need to pack. Packing properly is one of the most important aspects of preparing for a journey, whether long or short. There are several things to remember when you’re making the most of your luggage space. One of the most essential items, of course, is the first aid kit.
A first aid kit may not even be used during the trip, but it’s still something that should always be in your backpack. Some might even say that it should be in the list of what items you should take for a tailgate party. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, burns, and worse injuries can happen while you’re away from home. There won’t always be a pharmacy near you, so it’s best to be prepared for any minor medical issue.
If you’re relatively new to packing first aid kits or traveling in general, it’s time to learn how to get a tripworthy first aid kit. Whether you’re buying a readymade kit or customizing your own, here are some tips on choosing the right kind:
1. All the Useful Components
Don’t fall for a first aid kit that has just a few common OTC tablets and some Band-Aids. Think about all the injuries you or someone else could sustain on this trip. Does the kit cover them or not? A few examples may include an Epipen for allergies, pills for pain relief, and numbing cream for those who don’t want to take pills. Antiseptics, various kinds of bandages, cold compresses, tweezers, analgesics, and barrier gloves may also come in handy.
Of course, the perfect combination of first-aid items will depend on where you’re going and for how long. Having a first-aid kit is among the top tips for driving on long commutes, but the components won’t need to be so varied. For an international trip, you probably have to pack quite a few items and get them approved before leaving.
2. Good Organization
Any first aid kit you buy or put together should be well-organized. It should be easy to find what you want in a pinch. It’s usually best to act fast when someone is injured. It could be a big bite, a burn, a bleeding cut, or an allergy attack; the quicker you get the person what they need, the quicker they will recover. Fast action will also lower the chances of the issue getting serious.
3. Insist Upon Quality Products
One major issue with readymade first aid kits is that the manufacturers might try to cut costs with some low-quality products or packaging. This is unacceptable, as these are the items we will put on wounds, broken skin, or for a person who’s already feeling sick. If you’re buying a kit online, make sure to read the reviews and pay attention to what consumers say about the quality of the products inside.
A Band-Aid that doesn’t stick properly is of little use, as is a barrier glove that tears easily. Along with proper quality, you also need to make sure that the kit has clear and detailed information that one can understand and properly follow.
4. Gather the Basics
We’ve already mentioned that first aid kits need to have a variety of items inside. However, it can be very hard to find a kit that caters to everyone’s needs when on a trip. Before you set out, make sure to include the following items in your first aid kit if they aren’t already there:
- Antibacterial wipes: For wiping surfaces, cleaning instruments, and cleaning hands
- Hand sanitizer: Along with being useful for cleaning hands and any surface you have to touch, it’s also recommended to use hand sanitizer before handling any scrapes, bruises, or cuts
- Instant cold packs or compresses: These are usually disposable and provide quick relief to minor injuries and swelling
- Pain relievers: This could be the usual ibuprofen or acetaminophen; if there are kids on the trip, make sure you have a child-safe option available as well
- Scissors: For cutting gauze, opening packages, etc.
- Adhesive wraps: for twisted ankles, sore knees, sprains, etc.
- Thermometer: For checking fevers
- Tweezers: For removing splinters, bee stingers, thorns, ticks, or anything that’s embedded in the skin
5. Dealing With Skin Issues
Traveling can take a toll on your skin, resulting in spots, freckles, acne, dryness, and other issues. If you have a skincare routine at home, try to include some of the products in your first aid kit.
Keep in mind that traveling is likely to expose you to bright sunlight, dust, sharp rocks, stress, and other worrisome elements. This could be bad for your skin on your whole body, not just the face. If you don’t have any products in mind, ensure that the following items are i your first aid kit just in case:
- Antibiotic ointment: Use this after cleaning a scrape or cut and before you put on a Band-Aid
- Aloe vera gel: The bottled product will last much longer than the fresh version; use it for sunburns, irritated skin, rashes, and other related issues
- Antiseptic spray or wipes: These will effectively clear away the dirt on cuts, scrapes, or bruises.
- Calamine lotion: This is good for relieving hives, poison ivy, or other itching issues
- Moisturizer: Keeping the skin hydrated is even more important when you’re on the go; make sure the container is non-breakable
6. Medicine for the Stomach
Upset stomachs and other digestive issues are likely to happen while traveling. You’re trying new food, not following your usual sleep routine, and are subjecting your body to all types of new things. All this could easily mean that your gut may not be very healthy for some time. This is why your first aid kit should have the following medicine for stomach troubles:
- Laxatives: for constipation issues
- Antacids: for heartburn and indigestion
- Motion sickness medicine: might be required even for those who usually don’t suffer from motion sickness; you never know what might happen in a rocking boat or a stuffy vehicle
- Anti-diarrhea treatment: These may not be as strong as a prescription antibiotic, but a quick relief while traveling
7. Items for Respiratory Issues
Respiratory problems include colds, coughs, sneezes, etc. Asthmatic patients will usually have an inhaler on them while they travel; your first aid kit might include a replacement and refill in case of an attack.
For other first aid ideas to treat respiratory problems, check out the following list:
- Cold medication for both day and night; these will help with stuffy noses, headaches, cold, coughs, etc.
- Lozenges or cough suppressants in case of a hacking, persistent cough
- Antihistamines to deal with seasonal allergies
- Nasal spray for cleaning out the nose to get relief from congestion, allergies, and so on.
- Face masks for crowded areas or while interacting with other people in general
8. Safety Tips for Using First Aid Kits
Even with the most well-equipped first aid kit, mistakes can happen. Once you think that there are enough medicines and other items in the kit, check out the following tips for safe and effective use:
- Follow the right dosages; put the instructions from the prescription on the product label or follow what the packaging says
- Check the expiry dates on all medications, creams, ointments, and even bandages; toss the ones that are expired or damaged
- Retain the original packaging of the medications as often as possible; if not, make sure to save the instructions in your phone or the kit
- List down the medications you have, including the brand names, generic names, and any special instructions for them
- For prescription medications, include a doctor’s note explaining their need; this will probably be a necessity when you’re traveling abroad
- Keep a lock on the first aid kit, especially if there are children in the travel group or at the destination
- Know when to get help for a medical emergency instead of trying to fix everything with a first aid kit; serious illnesses and injuries require a trip to the doctor or hospital
- A little first aid training is in order if you’re going to use gauze bandages, ointments, and other items; make sure you know how to use every item in that first aid kit. If possible, take a short course or at least look up some videos online so that you can be more prepared for that trip.
When you’re on a trip, a first aid kit should always be on your person or in the vehicle while driving. Safety is the most important part of traveling, so always make sure to prepare well in advance. The above tips should get you a suitable first aid kit, but it’s also worth looking up these 10 car gadgets that you should buy for your safety.