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Essential Items for a First Aid Kit (for Home or Car)

Essential Items for a First Aid Kit (for Home or Car)

If you’re a human being who’s reading this right now and not an android or other artificial life form, chances are that you’re going to get hurt at some point in the not-too-distant future. No, that’s not a threat, but rather a prediction based on the number of people out there who manage to hurt themselves on a daily basis. In fact, as I just finished writing that second sentence, my husband bellowed up from the kitchen to tell me that he’d sliced his hand open on the aluminum foil wrapper on a Toblerone bar.

Case in point.

To deal with the various cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites, rashes, grazes, abrasions, blisters, and other miscellaneous boo-boos that you and your family members might acquire, it’s a good idea to have a solid first aid kit in both your house, and your car. If you don’t have a car, then a miniature version strapped to your bike or kept in your handbag/backpack/manly courier bag can be amazingly handy too.

First Aid Kit Contents:

Disposable Sterile Gloves

If you’re dealing with open wounds, it’s best to take extra precaution not to contaminate them with dirt or bacteria that may be clinging to the undersides of your nails. Keep a couple of packages of sterile non-latex gloves in your first aid kit, and replace them after use.

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A Flashlight and Extra Batteries

Just in case you have to help someone in the dark, like during a power outage.

Rubbing Alcohol Swabs

To clean and disinfect wounded areas.

Adhesive Bandages (e.g. Band-Aids)

Whether they’re used to keep a cut clean or to cushion a blister, they’re multi-purpose gems, and it’s important to have a variety of different sizes and styles in your kits.

Sterile Gauze Pads

These are perfect for placing on burns, bad scrapes, or larger cuts that need help clotting.

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Medical Tape

This is to hold the gauze in place, and can even be cut into strips to hold large cuts together until the injured person can be stitched up at a hospital.

Scissors

For cutting the aforementioned tape, or cutting a gauze pad into a particular size/shape. They’re also good for cutting away fabric in case of serious injuries, and can come in handy in ways you probably couldn’t dream up right now.

Tweezers

Necessary to remove slivers, bits of gravel, and other nasty bits.

Hydrocortisone Cream

To alleviate itching and swelling from reactions to insect bites and bee stings.

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Cloth Bandage and Clips

These are ideal for immobilizing wrist, ankle, and knee injuries, and can also be used as a makeshift sling. It’s of vital importance to familiarize yourself with bandaging techniques for different injuries so that in case you ever need to use them, you’ll know what you’re doing.

Chemical “Instant” Ice Pack

A rather brilliant invention, the “instant” ice pack is a plastic sack that contains chemicals which, when the pack is crushed, will meld together to create a cold effect. Though it’s advisable to always have an ice pack in your freezer, these chemical packs are great for keeping in your car, or at home: you never know when someone will use the freezer pack to keep their lunch cold, so having a backup plan is always good.

A Thermometer

In case someone’s running a fever, you can monitor their temperature and determine whether there’s improvement, or extra help needed.

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Pain Relief Medication

Ibuprofen is ideal, but acetaminophen is also handy to keep on hand. They do serve different purposes: the former is good for muscle and injury pain and for reducing inflammation, while the latter is better to bring down fevers and alleviate headaches, and is safer for pregnant/nursing women.

In addition to all of these items, every first aid kit should also contain a laminated—or otherwise waterproofed—list of emergency phone numbers, such as local hospitals, primary care physicians, other healthcare workers (naturopaths, chiropractors, therapists), next of kin/emergency contact, family members, and even veterinarian(s) (in case of emergency pet first aid). There should also be a first aid manual on hand in case the caregiver’s mind goes blank under duress.

You may wish to put a reflective blanket in their kit to help treat shock, as well as a bottle of spring water, Gatorade (to help balance electrolytes if the patient is dehydrated), and some energy bars that can be used to boost blood sugar. These are especially important for a car’s first aid kit in case of any accident—your own, or someone else’s that you’re providing assistance for.

 

When in doubt about something to add to your first aid kit, remember that it’s always better to have something and never need it, then to need it and not have it on hand.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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