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The ins and outs of your first aid kit

Having a well-stocked first aid kit on hand in an emergency or in the event of a minor injury can be incredibly useful, if you know how to use the contents. Your kit should be tailored to you, your family, workplace and recreation. Some useful items to include in a basic kit are:

  • Dressings and tape
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Bandages
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Saline
  • Gloves
  • Scissors
  • Triangular bandage
  • Resuscitation mask
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • First aid booklet

Your kit doesn’t need to be expensive, a car kit can start from $19.99 but be sure to ask your pharmacist if you need anything specific adding in. At Ahuriri Pharmacy, we make up kits for homes, businesses, recreational boats and massive fishing boats. Each has different requirements and so are made to suit the purpose it will be used for. Some items will go out of date in your kit or be used up so regular checks and top ups are a good idea.

Knowing what each item is used for and how to use it is very important. Let’s take a look at common uses for the contents of your kit: 

  1. Gloves should be worn by the first aider to protect yourself and reduce the risk of infection. Wash your hands first if possible.

  2. Antiseptic wipes or liquid or saline can be used to rinse a wound before dressing it. Sterile saline is handy for rinsing the eye out. Run the saline from the nose side of the eye across the eye ball while the head is tilted to the side.

  3. Dressings will vary from bandaids for minor cuts to thick combine dressing pads and help to stop bleeding and protect the area from infection. Some dressings will have a shiny film over the absorbent pad that should be placed shiny side down onto the wound and held in place with tape or a bandage. Choose a dressing 2cm bigger than the wound and replace the dressing as you see discharge coming through to the other side.

    If the wound is more severe, use a thicker “combine” dressing to control the bleeding. A combine dressing is a bandage, pad and dressing in one unit. The pad goes onto the wound and can be secured in place by wrapping the shorter end of the bandage around the body part. Then firmly wrap the other end of the bandage around and tie off with a knot.
  1. Bandages are used to hold dressings or splints in place and apply pressure to restrict movement, support and reduce swelling. Apply firmly to the area without cutting off circulation. Triangular bandages are particularly versatile, often used for slings, they can also be folded into a rectangle for an absorbent pad or bandage. If using for a sling, place the point of the triangle to the elbow, the top corner over the opposite shoulder and place under the arm. Wrap the half of the triangle hanging down over the front of the arm and over the other shoulder. Tie at the back and tuck in the corner near the elbow.

Remember to seek medical help for an injury and to call 111 in an emergency. First aid courses are run regularly in Hawke’s Bay to refresh your knowledge of what to do in an emergency. If you would like to receive a reminder email to check your kit six monthly, click to register.



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