First Aid

first aid kit

Some of the most frequent calls I get from parents are for first aid. After assessing that the injury or illness can be treated at home, I then instruct the parent how to treat their child with a particular medication or natural remedy. All too frequently essential first aid items are not present in the home and mom or dad has to run to the store in a panic. Plan ahead for the next first aid emergency. Having supplies gathered ahead of time will help you handle the next illness or injury at a moment’s notice.

A well-stocked first-aid kit, kept within easy reach, is a necessity in every home. Injuries that require first aid are urgent, and there often isn’t time to run out to the store to grab the items necessary to treat the injury. It’s also convenient to have everything on hand that you’ll need for the next cold or flu that sweeps through your house. Who wants to run to the store with sick children? Treating colds and flus at the first sign of symptoms can have a powerful impact on the duration and severity of the illness.

Also be sure to bring a first-aid kit on family vacations. Bring extra prescription medications when going on vacation. All adults who provide childcare to your children should know where your first aid kit is located. Frequently remind babysitters where emergency numbers and the first aid are located.

As your children grow, different strengths of medicines will be necessary. Depending on the age of your children, you may need Motrin in concentrated infant drops, children’s liquid, or chewables. Store first-aid kits in places that are out of children’s reach but easily accessible for adults. Check the kits regularly. Replace missing items or medicines that may have expired.

Choose containers for your kits that are roomy, durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes or containers for storing art supplies are ideal, since they’re lightweight, have handles, and offer a lot of space. Prepackaged first-aid kits currently available are economical and contain many of the essential items. No one commercial product, however, will contain everything you need in your personalized family kit. So you can start with the prepackaged kit and add the extra items you require, or build your own from scratch.

Keep a list of emergency numbers by your phone and securely taped in your first aid kit. Numbers to include are your family doctor or pediatrician, your local children’s hospital, poison center number, and location of the nearest emergency room. You may want to include your two closest neighbors in case you need immediate assistance, such as childcare for an older sibling or a ride to the hospital. You’ll also want to post these on the refrigerator for your immediate use and for babysitters.

NATUROPATHIC FIRST AID KIT CONTENTS

  • Bandage supplies, including a roll of 3 inch wide gauze, individually packaged 4 inch sterile gauze pads, a roll of 1 inch bandage/adhesive tape, butterfly bandage tape, and scissors, assortment of child size bandaids
  • Elastic bandages (Ace)
  • Gelpack or “booboo pack” in freezer
  • Cotton swabs and Q-tips
  • Alcohol pads or liquid to clean thermometers, tweezers, scissors
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Digital thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Disposable gloves (2-3 pairs)
  • Tongue depressors or popsicle sticks (to be used as a finger splint)
  • An oral syringe or calibrated cup or spoon for administering medicines to infants and children
  • Nasal aspirator bulb (These aren’t just for babies and have many uses in first aid!)

MEDICATIONS

  • Pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine (ibuprofen)
  • Hydrocortisone cream (1%)
  • Calamine lotion
  • Antibiotic creams/ointment (Bacitracin, Neosporin, triple antibiotic)
  • Children’s liquid Benadryl (antihistamine for allergic reactions)
  • Rehydration fluids (such as Pedialyte, Recharge)
  • Activated charcoal tablets (for poisoning: call Poison Control Center FIRST before using)

NATURAL MEDICATIONS

  • Arnica (homeopathic): Give immediately for bruises, sprains, and sore muscles, this remedy is available in pellets, cream, or ointment, Homeopathic arnica pellets (30C, 12C) can be given orally/internally. The cream or ointment can be applied topically to intact skin (not for open wounds).
  • Tummy Glycerite (Wise Women Herbs): An herbal combination that is great for upset stomachs, gas and colic, and reflux.
  • Fever Glycerite: for support of a fever. Helps the body regulate temperature and dissipate heat.
  • Herbal Cough Elixir: helps decrease cough spasms and loosens mucus in the chest.
  • Warming Vaporous Rub (Gaia’s Herbs): Apply to chest and back before bed to help ease breathing during colds and flus. Especially useful for nasal and chest congestion. If using on young children, make sure they cannot touch their chest! If it gets on their fingers and then rub their eyes it will burn! Alternatively, place vaporous rub only on their back.
  • Herbal Ear drops (Garlic Mullein Oil or Dr. Heron’s Ear Oil): For soothing the pain of earaches and has antibacterial properties for ear infections. Consult your doctor before putting any medication in ears.
  • Rescue Remedy: For calming the mental and emotional state after any trauma, shock, or panic. The combination Bach Flower remedy can be given to infants and animals. Dosage is a couple drops on the tongue.
  • Herbal salve (Wise Women’s Herbs “All Purpose Salve”): Excellent skin healer for any scrape or abrasion, rash, burn, diaper rash, and those raw noses from frequent blowing during respiratory infections.
  • Tiger Balm: To treat muscle cramps and headaches, rub this salve on the affected muscle or temples, avoiding the eyes. For adults and older children only.
  • Elderberry syrup (Gaia’s Herbs): Excellent immune support and antiviral.
  • Aloe Vera gel: Have this handy for wounds and all types of burns, including sunburns.
  • Essential oils: Thyme, eucalyptus, and lavender will all be useful in your herbal first aid kit (steam inhalations and topically in a carrier oil such as olive oil).
  • Homeopathic Kit: These are prepackaged kits that contain multiple remedies for many illnesses and first aid.
  • Vitamin E: After a wound has mostly healed, applying topical vitamin E can reduce scar formation.

Now you have an excellent first aid kit put together! You also need to know how to use it. Always consult your physician for dosages on medications or natural remedies. Dosage for most items depends on child’s age and weight. All parents need to have taken a First Aid and CPR class for infants and children. Contact your local Red Cross Center for times and dates of their next classes. CPR and First Aid is an essential learning experience for any new or expecting parent, grandparent or anyone who is responsible for the care of infants and children.

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