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First Aid & First Aid Kits

Spring is definitely in the air! I am sure that we all share the first aid iconcollective feeling or relief and happiness as cold, snowy weather gives way to days filled with clear skies and sunshine. With the beautiful weather upon us, many of us will be opting to spend a greater amount of our time outside. Outdoor activities are a wonderful way to connect with friends, family, and nature. Spring may be the perfect chance to get out for walks, bike rides, hiking, and camping trips. All of these are exciting options, but they bring their own risks as well. For this reason, it is a good idea to have a first aid kit handy when you are partaking in outdoor excursions.

First aid kits are an easy way to be ready to deal with minor accidents and injuries. First aid kits should be locked or secured and kept in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children. First aid kits can be made using a wide variety of options. An old backpack tacklebox, or duffle bag should give you ample storage for your needed items. Let’s go over some of the basics.


A basic first aid kit may contain:

- Band-Aids in a variety of different sizes and shapes

- Small, medium, and large sterile gauze dressings

- At least 2 sterile eye dressings

- Triangular bandages

- Crepe rolled bandages

- Safety pins

- Disposable gloves

- Tweezers

- Bandage scissors

- Alcohol-free cleansing wipes

- Sticky tape

- Thermometer

- Skin rash cream

- Spray to relieve insect bites and stings

- Antiseptic cream / antibiotic ointment

- Over the counter painkillers

- Antihistamine tablets

- Distilled water for cleaning wounds

- Eye wash / eye bath


It may be useful to keep a basic first aid manual or instruction booklet with your first aid kit. It is also important that medicines are checked regularly to make sure they’re within their use-by dates. 


If you are considering going on a hiking or camping trip, I would suggest you augment your basic first aid kit with the following items:

- Flashlight

- Extra batteries

- Whistle

- Duct tape

- Local maps

- Water

- Food

- Extra blankets

- Hand Sanitizer

- Instant cold compress


There are a few first aid injuries that occur the most often. The first is a cut or a scrape. If there is bleeding, press firmly over the site with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops. Clean the area with running water and gently pat dry. If the skin is broken, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment, then cover with a bandage, gauze, or adhesive tape. 


The second common injury is a burn. Immediately hold the burned area under cold running water until the pain subsides. Cover any blisters with a loose bandage. DO NOT POP any blisters yourself. If the skin breaks, apply antibiotic cream and cover the area. 


The third injury worth discussion is an insect bite or sting. If the insect left a stinger gently scrape the skin with your fingernail to remove it without breaking it. To combat itching, apply hydrocortisone cream or a topical antihistamine if the skin isn’t broken or scabbed. 


The next noteworthy injury is a nosebleed. When experiencing a nosebleed, sit upright and don't tilt your head back. Loosen any tight clothing around your neck. Pinch the lower end of the nose close to the nostrils and lean forward while you apply constant pressure for five to ten minutes. Don't release and check the nose; it could prolong the bleeding. If the nosebleed is the result of trauma, you can reduce swelling by holding an ice pack against the bridge of the nose after the bleeding slows down. 


This is by no means an in-depth look at first aid emergencies. First aid emergencies can happen anytime and can involve many medical injuries or issues.  To best be prepared, consider taking APHE’s virtual First Aid class which is being offered for $10 through the end of May 2021. Please follow this link to sign up and stay safe while exploring in this beautiful weather.

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