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What Should Be In a Home First Aid Kit?

It's important to have a well-stocked first aid kit in your home so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries while keeping a cool head. The best home first aid allows you to effectively administer urgent and basic care to an injured or ill person before a doctor, or emergency services arrive.

What is a home first aid kit?

A home first aid kit is an important item for every household to respond to common injuries and sudden health conditions. It should include a range of medical dressings, tools, medications, and other devices and be safely stored in the house. Many drugstores sell fully equipped first aid kits, or you can put one together yourself using a home first aid kit checklist.

What are the main rules of keeping a home first aid kit?

Having a first aid kit means you are better prepared for an emergency, which can arise at any time. But there is more to just getting a kit and storing it. There are a few things to keep in mind when stocking and maintaining the contents to ensure you have a functional and valid first aid kit ready when you need it.

Consider chronic illnesses and past diagnoses

Take into account each family member and any health conditions that could arise and include relevant items in the home kit like an anaphylactic pen for severe allergies, blood sugar monitor for diabetes, or snake bite antidote if you live rurally.

Buy only proven medicines

Due to the rising number of fraudulent pharmaceuticals on the market, avoid purchasing any drugs that are cheap and suspicious, and be especially cautious when buying medicines online.

Buy only what you need in an emergency

Avoid excessive stockpiling on products that could expire and deteriorate. First aid kits can save lives and significantly lessen the effects of an injury, if correctly stocked. One of the most crucial aspects of health and safety at home is keeping a first aid kit properly supplied – not overly supplied.

Keep track of medicine expiration dates

Consistent 6-monthly checks should be made to ensure that everything in the first aid kit is still within the use-by dates. Replace anything that has expired.

Consider storage conditions

Keep the first aid kit locked up and out of children's reach in a cool, dry location. The box must be sturdy, properly labeled, and be able to accommodate the home first aid essentials.  A sealed and robust unit will preserve the sterility of the supplies and safeguard them from moisture and dust.

What should be in a home first aid kit?

While you may need other devices such as a defibrillator if someone at home has a heart condition, or a blood sugar monitor for diabetes, there are a few necessities that should be in everyone’s first aid kit.

Health Devices

A pulse oximeter and thermometer should be included as the oximeter monitors oxygen levels, lung function, and heart rate while the thermometer measures body temperature. It is important to have these on hand if a family member is suddenly ill or is running a suspected fever.

Dressing materials

For minor scrapes, cuts, or severe lacerations, include a range of items for different dressings such as adhesive bandages, gauze dressing pads with and without alcohol for sterilization (depending on the wound). Roll bandage and microporous tape secures the dressing and bandage, and cotton wool is used for cleaning, padding and protection.

Medicine for the treatment of skin injuries: wounds, cuts, burns

Antiseptic gel or cream is used to clean wounds and prevent infections caused by bacteria, and antiseptic spray, burn gel, gauze dressing pads, tweezers, and topical antibiotics are other useful items to include for skin injuries.


By keeping basic pain medication that has few interactions and can be administered to children and adults helps to provide quick relief from painful symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medicines should be avoided as they can interfere with other medications or may not be suitable for those who have conditions like stomach ulcers.

For colds and flu

Having a cold and flu kit can be a lifesaver when viruses suddenly hit a household. Keep paracetamol, electrolyte rehydration sachets, vitamin C, lozenges, antiseptic oral spray, and mint and eucalyptus rub to help soothe cold and flu symptoms and speed up recovery.


Medication to bring down fever is an important addition and can include ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, paracetamol or mefenamic acid. Choose antipyretic meds that are also safe for children.

Help with stomach problems

Indigestion and heartburn is often caused by fatty or spicy foods or eating too much too fast. Antacids and other remedies like Pepto-Bismol can come in handy for the occasional indigestion-relief. However, a doctor should be consulted if these symptoms persist.


Allergy symptoms can prevent sleep, induce excessive scratching, teary eyes, sneezing, coughing, and skin ailments. Hay fever gel, antihistamine tablets and cream are beneficial in treating allergic reactions and itchy rashes and should be kept in a home first aid kit.


Include natural or light sedatives, melatonin, valerian, or sedating antihistamines that can help infrequent sleep disruptions or episodes of insomnia without having to get a prescription.

Remedies for pain in the heart

Artery relaxers, blood thinners, or aspirin can help relieve heart pain and lower blood pressure in an emergency. This is particularly useful to keep in a first aid kit if there are members of the household who are prone to heart issues or at higher risk of sudden chest pain.

Why is it important to have a first aid kit in every family?

Accidents and injuries can occur at any time. To look after ourselves and those around us, a home first aid kit helps to effectively react without panicking. In an emergency, even a minute’s delay can cause irreparable damage. A first aid kit offers basic and instant care for common injuries and as a first response before getting medical treatment. In many cases, a well-equipped kit can prevent further injury or health complications making it an indispensable item for the home.


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