This is going to be the first in six installments where I will explore six kits we could use in various situations as housekeepers. It falls on our heads to be ready for most eventualities, especially when they happen on our threshold and a small, easy to locate, well-organized, well-stocked box will really come in handy when you need to think fast and save the day!
The first kit is a first aid kit. This is an essential in any household, but few people go beyond the basic sets you can buy in the pharmacy, a box of plasters and a few painkillers. But even if you find it hard to think ahead when it comes to illness and injury, there are some simple measures you can take to make an awesome first aid kit.
1: The container.
The first step is to prepare a suitably sized container for your kit. None of that tiny, easy, cutesy nonsense. That was fine for your first scout camp, but when you have a real problem on your hands, you need to be well stocked. We actually have an entire shelf in a cupboard dedicated to our first aid gear. That’s how big we’re talking. You will want to stockpile the basics and be storing heavy-duty things, like heatable and coolable packs, compresses and emergency surgery kits. You need the space.
If you can’t take over a cupboard, consider a child’s suitcase, a storage box or even assorted tupperware boxes, all properly marked and organized, of course.
2: The grab-bag.
But what about those times when you need something soon or often? For that we will create a mini-kit, a grab-bag of assorted items you may need in a pinch. This should be the size of your standard household first aid tin or small lunch bag.
It will contain antiseptic wipes and/or spray, a small selection of plasters and sticky bandages, a nail kit and anything else you may need suddenly or urgently, such as an adrenaline shot if your daughter is seriously allergic to beestings.
The basics are what we first think of when we talk about first aid. You will want two stashes of these: a stockpile in the main cupboard/container and a small selection in your grab bag.
–Antiseptics. For any small cuts or animal bites.
–A nail repair kit. Tweezers, nail file, small scissors and clippers. All very useful in the event of torn or damaged skin or nails.
-Simple painkiller. Paracetamol is wiser, as too much aspirin is a blood-thinner. But do make sure to have a selection.
–Plasters. Everything from those tiny dots to a huge roll of plaster tissue.
-Sticky bandages. For more serious cuts than plasters can help with.
And those are your bare essentials.
4: Cold and Flu.
Colds and flus are inevitable. Sure, if you look after yourself you may get to a point where you get one a year and all it feels like is a stuffy nose, or even where you don’t get ill. But not everyone will or can get their immune system that strong and these people wander in and out of your life and home fairly regularly. Therefore, we need to be stocked in case of cold and flu.
-Congestion relief. Inhalers are very good, but nasal sprays can also help.
-Throat relief. Soothers and cough syrup.
–Vapor rub. Good for handkerchief rubbing and for little ones with blocked sinuses.
–Spare packs of tissues. Nobody ever has enough.
–Vitamin chewies. To help prevent them from catching anything else whilst they recover.
Again, you may be one of the least physically active people in the world and still get tennis elbow. And others around you will almost certainly get sprains, tears and twists even when you don’t. So you will need to be prepared for them.
–Freezable pack. This could be as simple as that sponge-in-a-Ziploc trick or even a camping freeze bag.
–Warmable pack. Rice bags are really easy to make and helpful.
–Cool and heat sprays. For instant relief.
-Compress bandages. Usually just two long ones are enough, but you may want a specialized knee, ankle and wrist one too.
–Ibuprofen gel. For swelling and pain.
–Rehydration salts. Great for recovery, also usable in cases of extreme enteritis.
Anyone can get cut or injured. Anyone can fall over, have a piece of furniture land on their foot or be bitten by a large animal. So bandaging gear is an essential.
–Simple sterile gauze. These bandages come in little sterile packets and are very useful.
–Bandaging. These come in rolls and are used for compressing wounds or broken parts into place.
–Butterfly stitches. Little sticky stitches, good for holding things together as a temporary fix.
-Sewing kit. Sterile needle, proper thread, sterile tweezers and scissors.
–Dissection kit. Sterile scalpel, tweezers, scissors, etc. Good for cleaning up messy wounds before bandaging or stitching and removing glass or deep splinters.
If you or a member of your household has a serious allergy, you will probably have an epipen anyway. These are measured adrenaline shots to keep people alive through an allergic reaction.
But as long as you know someone who has a serious allergy, it may be best to keep an appropriate epipen at hand at all times, just in case. Be warned, they expire. So keep an eye on them.
Anything technological that may need batteries recharged, to be kept dry and safe or replaced after a few years.
-Assorted thermometers. Oral, ear, rectal, baby.
-Massager. A godsend when you need one. Just get something simple, like those insect-like ones.
–Blood pressure monitor.
–Blood glucose checker and strips.
These are assorted items you will use rarely and that aren’t part of a treatment program, but that it’s best to keep in the back of your kit, just in case.
-Heavy duty painkillers. Codeine, for example.
-Something to induce vomiting. When you need someone to vomit, this is vital.
-Fire blanket and burn cream.
Anything you need that other people may not. Have a look at whatever illnesses or disorders run in the family. Some homes may need a defibrillator, some may need omega oils, some may need a couple of epipens handy. Make sure you have everything you need and put it into the right area.
All the literature you might need. I’d recommend a clipboard with a sheet of expiry dates for easy access, a first aid book for all emergencies and any books on the local wildlife and what may be poisonous where you live.
Once you have collected all of this, be sure to keep it organized. Tupperware boxes or makeup bags make great mini-kits, so that all your bandaging, painkillers or flu treatments are together. When you use it, make sure to put everything back where it came from and make note when something needs replacing or restocking.
And that is your first kit! Be sure to check in next week to find out how to design a kit for when you are depressed or otherwise “down”.
Until then, feel free to share your suggestions for the kit in the comments!
TTFN and Happy Hunting!