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The Home Medicine Cabinet

Picture this: Your curious toddler, ready to touch and examine anything he sees, stumbles over a chair en route to the doggie's dish. The chair falls. His knee is cut and bleeding profusely. You've read this book and you know one of the first basic principles of first aid care: don't panic. You also know you need to stop the bleeding. With words of comfort, you quickly reach for the emergency kit you keep in the kitchen on the top shelf. It's all ready to use, complete with a list of emergency phone numbers pasted to the inside of the top.
As it turns out, your child's bleeding looked worse than it really was. A little antiseptic ointment and a sturdy bandage, and he's okay. It's one thing to know the first steps to take in a medical emergency, but it's quite another to have the supplies at hand. This chapter outlines the basic materials you would need to administer first aid in the event of an emergency. By the way, don't forget where you keep your first aid kit!

Emergencies Can It Wait

The 21 First Aid Items Every Home Should Have

The following items are necessities for any first aid kit. Prepackaged kits are great for the road. You can buy inexpensive" all-purpose" kits to keep in each of your cars and in almost every room of your house! Visit  www.readykor.com  for the best prepackaged kits around.
But space is not an issue when you're living at home. You can have the luxury of filling your medicine cabinet with everything you might need-in the amounts you want. You don't need the convenience of prepackaged first aid kits. You can buy all the items you need in a drugstore or supermarket. You can either keep them in a medicine cabinet or in a childproof container that's readily available in a kitchen cabinet or a closet. Be sure to store it where anyone can locate it quickly, and make sure everyone knows where it is! And, no matter what type of kit you have, make sure you place a list of emergency phone numbers inside the lid. Include numbers for your doctor, the local hospital, poison control center, and more.

In order to have a useful first aid kit, you will need to purchase the following items:
1. Protective gear to prevent the spread of infection. Remember those universal guidelines?
Chances are, if an accident occurs within your intimate family, you won't have to bother with gloves, goggles, aprons, and dental dams. But it's useful to have these items in your medicine cabinet just in case someone other than your intimate
family has an accident in your home. And it's a good idea to put protective gear (especially latex gloves, disposable airway bags, goggles or masks, and dental dams) in your traveling kits or to add them to your prepackaged kits. It's especially important to practice safety measures if you happen to help a stranger. You don't want to transmit HIV or any other virus or disease from one person to another.

2. Adhesive bandages in an assortment of sizes for any punctures, cuts, or minor scrapes.
Be sure to buy bandages that are sterile and come individually wrapped.
3. Sterile gauze pads that are individually wrapped may be useful for larger cuts, profuse
bleeding, burns, and infections.

4. A roll of adhesive surgical tape will come in handy when using gauze pads. You will need the tape to secure the cotton pad to the laceration. First aid adhesive tape is great for wounds that need to be sealed from infection. This tape is extremely sticky, anyone who has ever yanked off a taped bandage knows that it can be a painful experience. Clear tape will stretch with the body; it is especially effective when waterproofing is necessary. Paper tape is best for individuals with sensitive skin, or if the dressings need to be frequently changed. If you want a recommendation, use cloth tape. It keeps a gauze bandage secured without the irritation or discomfort of the other adhesive tapes.

5. Scissors may be necessary to cut tape, clothing, or bandages in emergency situations. Surgical scissors will cut tape cleanly and quickly, but any good scissors will do in an emergency. (Avoid "kiddie scissors" if possible; they're meant for cutting out paper dolls and designs.)
6. Elastic bandages, or Ace bandages (the common brand name), with clips may be used for sprains and twists.

First Things First
Individualize your first aid kit to fit your family's needs. If someone is asthmatic, add an inhalator. If
Someone is a allergic to bee stings, add an anaphylaxis (bee sting antidote) kit. If someone is diabetic, make sure you have insulin at hand.

7. Sterile cotton balls for applying ointments and antiseptics, as well as a sterile cloth for washing
and dressing cuts and abrasions
8. Tweezers for removing any foreign objects from a cut or for splinters. Although needles are only good for splinters, they can sometimes get out a small foreign object better. So keep one on hand in your first aid cabinet.

Before You Put the Band-Aid On

Sterile and germ-free are crucial words when finding supplies to treat wounds. The sterile products need to Be used in order to avoid infection. Bandages and cotton balls are purchased sterile. But when using your own medical "tools," you must be able to sterilize them after each use. You can do this by lighting match and moving the instrument back a fourth through the flame. Just "don't forget to add a pack of matches to your first aid kit! Alcohol and peroxide can also be used for sterilization.

9. Matches can be a useful addition to your medicine cabinet's first aid section. In an emergency, a flame will sterilize needles and tweezers. Just make sure you keep the pack out of the reach of tiny curious hands!
10. Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean utensils in your first aid kit, and it very effectively cleans cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds. Antibacterial antiseptic lotions and ointments should be added to your homemade kit as well.

¬First Aids
Histamines are chemicals produced by mast cells-fat, , chubby cells that are found in our skin. These chemicals are inflammatory, causing itching and burning. Antihistamine medications actually neutralize the histamines in the mast cells, which stops the itching.
good all-around ointments that will prevent infections on scraped knees, cuts, and wounds. They also make excellent dressings.
11 Oral and rectal thermometers are important (and petroleum jelly for the rectal thermometer). Fever can be a sign of shock, poisoning, or infection. It's always good to gauge a sick person's temperature to know how to proceed. (See Part 2 for specific sections on fever and poisoning; see Paragraph 3 for treating shock and stopping infection in its tracks.)

12. Calamine lotion for insect bites and hives. This lotion is used to relieve itching and
scratching. It also contains a healing agent which is especially useful for poison ivy.
13. Antihistamine tablets are good to have handy in case of an allergic reaction, an attack of the sneezes and sniffles, a sinus problem, or a migraine headache (all signs of allergic reactions to pollen or dust). Benadryl is a good antihistamine, and it even comes in a cream to treat superficial allergic reactions, such as rashes and hives.

14. Mineral oil and Q-tips to remove ticks on the skin and foreign objects from ears. Simply dab a little oil on the Q-tip and gently touch the area in question.
15. Sterile eye wash for eye injuries.

16. Syrup of Ipecac, which will induce vomiting in case of poisoning. Available in any drugstore, Syrup of Ipecac's sole purpose is for inducing the vomiting reflex. The syrup is made from a South American root and does not require a prescription to purchase. Only use Syrup of Ipecac if you know exactly what an injured person swallowed. Vomiting can worsen symptoms of some poisons, such as petroleum and corrosive chemical products. To be absolutely certain whether to induce vomiting or not, call your local poison center immediately.
17. A bar of soap or a container of antibacterial liquid soap to clean wounds and your own hands. Sealed "wet naps" also work well.

18. An ice pack to reduce swelling, to cool a victim, or to reduce fever. (Many companies now make "instant" ice packs that do not need to be chilled. Chemicals keep them cold so you can store them in a first aid kit.)
19. A flashlight. Be sure to check the flashlight batteries frequently. Flares need to be kept, in the car or boat to alert passers-by of an emergency condition. Flares not onlyprevent unforeseen collisions in the dark, they force other drivers to slow down (and someone might just offer help or the emergency phone call you desperately need).
20. Medicine for diarrhea such as Pepto-Bismol, Immodium AD, or Mylanta.
 21. Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil) tablets to relieve pain and reduce fever. Remember that some people are allergic to aspirin, and some have bleeding or stomach problems that aspirin can make worse. When in doubt, opt for the Tylenol
or Advil. NEVER give aspirin for a fever to children under 18 years of age; they are particularly susceptible to Reye's syndrome, a form of brain damage that can occur when aspirin is taken for a fever. Instead, give your kids Tylenol for Children, or Pediaprofen (a child's version of ibuprofen). Ditto for pregnant moms!
22. Large; Triangular pieces of cloth (scarves) for makeshift slings, splints, and tourniquets.

Special Items for Children Under Twelve

Remember that trip your whole family took to Williamsburg-when your youngest child suddenly got the worst cold of her life? The fact is that young kids tend to experience sudden illnesses more often than their older siblings or their parents. Further, young kids need different doses of medication and treatment. They can take the same medications and ointments as their older counterparts, but NOT AS MUCH. In short, read the labels of your pain relievers, your cough syrups, and your creams before you use them for your children. Even better, check out your drugstore shelf and put a supply of baby aspirin and other specific children's medications in your first aid kit. And don't forget to pack that baby aspirin, Tylenol, or Pediaprofen for those "on-the-road" emergencies! Maybe-just maybe-you'll get to enjoy your vacation after all!
Special items for kids that you need to pack in your first aid kit include:

1. Baby aspirin but only for aches, pains, and strains. Kids under 18 years old with fevers should only take Tylenol for Children or Pediaprofen (a child's version of Advil) to avoid the risk of Reye's Syndrome, a dangerous ailment that affects the nervous system.

2. Warm blankets.
3. A small stuffed animal.
4. Towels to use as makeshift pillows, immobilizing equipment for head and back injuries, or simply to wipe up dirt, sweat, and vomit.
5. Baby powder to add a soothing touch.                                                        6. Children's cough syrup.
7. A music box or favorite cassette and walkman for distraction.
8. Adhesive tape with "fun" designs and shapes.
9. Cloth tape (it's easier to remove).
10. A bright bandanna for use as a sling or splint (anything to help distract the child).

Before You Put the Band-Aid On
Small kids like to put things in their mouths. The trouble starts when they swallow something" like a coin or a twig. If that happens, first look in the child's mouth; it’s possible that the object is not wedged too far down and you can pull it out with sterile tweezers. If child is definitely choking, begin the Heimlich Maneuver. ( See Chapter Chocking for special Heimlich Maneuver techniques for children.)

The Top Teen List

Administering first aid care to teenagers is not too different from administering it to children. If anything, teens can be more fearful because they are more aware of what's going on. A child might feel pain in her arm, but a teen will know she's broken it. If a child can't move, it will be scary, but a soothing word and touch can go far. This is not so with teens. If a teen can't move, he or she will be terrified. The last thing many teens want is to be touched by an "adult." Panic must be avoided at all costs. If soothing words don't help, explain calmly what you are doing and why. Have the teen become a part of
your "first aid treatment team." It's a good distraction until help comes. "
Teens can handle most adult medications, but there are a few extra items that can help when a teenager is injured:
1. A warm blanket.
2. Pad and pencil. (If a teen can't talk, he can write answers to your questions. This is a good distraction device.)
3. A walkman and a few favorite cassettes for distraction.
4. Non-alcoholic cough medicine.
S. Buffered aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol), which are easier on nervous stomachs.
Before You Put the Band Aid On
Statistics show that teenagers are the ones most likely too “experiment” with drug and alcohol abuse. It’s best to administer the following treatment for a possible drug overdose.
Make sure the teen is lying prone, on his or her back. Loosen clothing and place a warm blanket around him or her. Talk to the victim, and then talk some more. A calm, soothing voice will help place the teen in reality if he or she is hysterical.
Adult First Aid Supplies
The list of items every home should have (presented early in this chapter) covers what you will need for adult first aid emergencies. It doesn't hurt to have a comforting voice and a soothing touch when dealing with young adults and children. And a warm blanket and some warm words won't hurt an adult in pain either! Here are some extras you might want to keep on hand specifically for adults:
1. Anaphylaxis kits are essential if any family member is allergic to bee stings. This simple antidote will reduce the inflammation and swelling in the airways and help the victim breathe again!
2. Nitroglycerin tablets are good to have on hand if anyone in your family has a
history of heart pain or angina.
3. Inhalers are necessary for anyone who has asthma. Keep several on hand in case it takes a while for help to arrive.
4. Irritated eyes? Make sure you have eye drops to soothe allergic irritation, as well as eye washes to help cleanse eyes of any chemicals that might have accidentally gotten in the eyes. (See Chapter 11 for specific eye first aid.)
5. Ear drops will help reduce earaches caused by infections and fevers. They will also help remove an overload of wax or a stubborn insect, and they can help restore inner ear equilibrium.
6. You don't need to keep a vial of glucose on hand, but if someone feels a sudden drop in the middle of the afternoon, it could be a low blood sugar reaction. The solution? Keep a few packets of sugar on hand to place on the tongue. Give the person a slice of protein (low-fat cheese or turkey is healthy) and a slice of bread to stabilize blood sugar levels.
7. Insulin tablets or injections are imperative in an any first aid kit if someone you know has diabetes.

8. Contrary to popular opinion, a "nip" of brandy is not good medicine. It doesn't really keep you warmer or help you stay calm. (And, remember, in Chapter I, we advised never to give a person in trouble anything to drink!) However, if you are the one performing the first aid, that brandy might taste mighty good after the crisis.
9. A warm blanket or one of those new shiny, lightweight insulated covers (used by astronauts in space) will help keep your loved one warm. Keep a warm blanket in the trunk of your car or within reach on a shelf in the closet.

10. A plain brown "lunch bag" can be used to ward off panic attacks. Simply have the victim breathe into a bag for several minutes to help steady breathing. It's also a good idea to have a supply of anti-anxiety medication on hand if anyone in your family has a history of anxiety or panic attacks.

The Least You " Need to Know

> A well-stocked medicine cabinet or first aid kit has, at the very least, aspirin, adhesive tape, a thermometer, sterile gauze bandages, tape, tweezers, anti-diarrhea medicine, rubbing alcohol, and an antibiotic cream.
> Keep a blanket and a (working) flashlight on hand.
> Read the labels. Make sure children and young teens are given correct dosages.
> Never forget the power of a soothing touch and a calm voice. It can help an injured person of any age.


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