First aid kit: How to stock on medications

When preparing a first aid kit, it must be created for the expected medical emergencies. Depending on the degree of injuries, it might include items for scrapes and burns as well as wraps and splints for sprains and fractures. When it comes to the medications to include, it might be a tough decision.

Adding medications to a first aid kit requires maintenance since they expire. In case the drugs are not regularly checked and replaced, there is a possibility that a drug might not function if needed.

Always check the first aid kit when replacing batteries in the smoke alarm. The rule to remember is to do both when changing clocks twice in a year.

Avoid combination drugs

first aidWhen preparing a first aid kit, avoid the combination drugs. When a drug claims to manage more than a single symptom, it generally includes more than one active component. Carefully check the labels and choose those that only have a single active ingredient.

What are the essentials?

Pain medications and fever reducers are the basic drugs to include in a first aid kit. These drugs can provide relief to various minor aches and ailments.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

These include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen which are available over-the-counter and can lessen pain and lower fever.

Benzocaine or lidocaine

These are topical anesthetics that are directly applied on the skin or mucous membranes for its numbing effect and reducing the pain. They are useful for rapid care of minor wounds, insect bites and toothache.

Allergy medications

Allergies are likely to occur while travelling. For a first aid kit ideal for travelling, it is best to include allergy medications such as loratadine and diphenhydramine

  • Diphenhydramine provides relief from all forms of allergic reactions. The side effect of the drug is drowsiness though. If in cream form, it is often mixed with calamine lotion and can be used for insect bites or exposure to poison ivy or oak.
  • Loratadine is an allergy drug that can be used if the individual does not want to feel drowsy.

Anti-nausea medications

  • Dimenhydrinate is a commonly used over-the-counter nausea medication mainly given to combat motion sickness.
  • Meclizine is also an over-the-counter nausea medication. It is useful for non-medical causes of motion sickness such as turbulent airplanes or rocking boats.

Diarrhea medications

When travelling, it is best to include diarrhea medications since certain foods and water often trigger gastric upset.

  • Loperamide is an active ingredient in almost all diarrhea medications.
  • Antacids can also be included to be used for stomach upset and heartburn.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on preparing a first aid kit is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how to properly stock on medications in a first aid kit, register for a first aid and CPR course with Kelowna First Aid.