This past weekend was a painful reminder of how important it is to always have basic first aid supplies on hand. While pulling weeds in my garden, I accidentally rolled off of a loose landscaping block and tumbled to the pavement below. Fortunately, I didn’t break anything and didn’t require stitches (plus it got me out of doing additional yard work.) After my spill, I did what any adult does when she or he is hurt or sick—I called my parents, who also happen to be recently retired from the medical field.
Nurse Jayne and EMT Chris have a collective 41 years of first aid experience between them and definitely have more insight than most. They also had three kids close in age to keep out of harm’s way, and I was the clumsiest of them all. Clearly nothing has changed much. Midway through our chat, I realized they were giving me more than triage tips; they were giving me a blog idea…and a reason to organize my disaster of a medicine cabinet.
23 minutes and two stories from my childhood later, we came up with Chris and Jayne’s five items (in no particular order) to have on hand in case of a fall, cut or other non-emergency:
- Bandages (assorted sizes) – Add these to your list the next time you shop so you always have them on hand. You never know when you might nick your finger while opening a can or even cutting an avocado.
- Sterile gauze pads – Keeping bandages handy may seem like a no-brainer, but gauze pads may not be as obvious. Gauze pads are highly absorbent and may be used to help stop bleeding or cover a larger wound.
- Disposable gloves (latex-free) – These are a helpful staple for any first aid kit.
- Antiseptic wipes (alcohol-free) – Keep your wound clean and help prevent infection without the painful sting of alcohol.
- Self-adhering bandage/cohesive bandage (coban) – This wrap works like a tape that sticks to itself but not to skin. It can be a great way to temporarily hold gauze in place, and I was grateful that I just happened to have a roll on hand.
Obligatory medical disclaimer: Please know that I am not a medical professional and these are only suggestions. Always, always, always check with a licensed healthcare professional who is best equipped to assess your unique situation.
At the end of the day, I’m not badly injured (except for my pride), the landscaping block is still loose, the weeds are still in my garden and they will definitely be there tomorrow. Because you know what? I’ve learned that life is too short to worry about weeds.