First aid kits can come in all shapes and sizes. Creating kits for different settings has become an unintentional hobby; I have a home kit, car kit, camping kit, foot care kit, birthing kit, menstruation kit, animal kit, trauma kit, a daily kit, and even an “extras” kit (a kit from which I can restock all other kits!). All of these are constantly transforming and evolving when I come across different containers, different wound dressing material, or if I choose to switch up the herbs I’m working with. It’s become an obsession really.
What I want to share in this post is a simple first aid kit that is carried daily, and covers the most basic first aid needs. This is a kit that I created for my mom, and, according to her, it has been useful. It is small (3.5″ x 2.5″ x 1″) and fits nicely in her backpack or purse.
The little first aid kit includes:
- Band aids
- Antiseptic towelettes
- Wound dressing- a vial of honey-resin mixture.
- Green band aid salve- all purpose salve in chapstick tube, for skin irritation- bug bites, burns, eczema, dry skin, etc.
- Electrolyte packets
- OTC medicine- each in its own bag, labeled with dosage, instructions, contraindications, and expiration date:
- Ibuprofen- an NSAID (non-steriodal anti-inflammatory) that eases pain from inflammation and lowers fevers. Ibuprofen acts quickly, but doesn’t stay in the body too long, so it has a lower risk of stomach and kidney problems, compared to other meds. Long term use is still not ideal. Do not give to anyone less than 6 months old.
- Aspirin- another NSAID. Beyond pain relief, this can be a lifesaving anti-clotting medicine in the event of chest pain & heart attacks. Chewing 2-4 baby aspirin upon experiencing chest pain is a standard recommendation by the 911 dispatcher before first responders show up. I have seen aspirin alone resolve serious chest pain very quickly. Long term use can cause gastric distress. Aspirin is not usually given to children and teens due to the increased risk of Reye’s syndrome.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)- an analgesic (painkiller) and fever reducer. This important to have when NSAIDs cannot be taken, or if pain is not from inflammation. Be careful with Tylenol, as it is one of the most commonly overdosed OTC medications, causing liver damage or even acute liver failure. Don’t take Tylenol with alcohol, and follow the exact dosage instructions.
- Children’s Tylenol can be important to include in a kit for children, for cases of high fever.
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)- antihistamine and sedative. Severe allergic reactions are becoming more common, and Benadryl can help stave off/slow down/reduce an anaphylactic reaction. Even though I don’t experience allergies, I always carry it on me because (1) I could develop them at any time, and (2) I’d like to provide relief if I am with someone having an allergic reaction. Please note that diphenhydramine is also a sedative, so people will feel sleepy after taking it. This can effect driving, and the like. I choose Diphenhydramine over other antihistamines because of its relative effectiveness for more severe allergic reactions, beyond just the typical sinus discomfort. In these cases, take Benadryl and call 911.
You may be thinking, “Well, geez Annie, this is not very herby!” And it’s true. With this little kit, I’ve chosen to prioritize pharmaceuticals over herbs. The purpose of this kit is to cover the most basic first aid needs, in as small a container possible; so that it is practical and desirable for my mama to take with her wherever she goes. And since she is rather herbally-inclined, she expands upon this kit with her own plant potions as it makes sense for her personally.
First aid kit photoshoot by Carla Seward 🙂