This article has been medically approved by Pharmacist Sumaiya Patel - GPhC Reg No: 2215078
A well-stocked first aid kit means you can deal with minor injuries at home, but what do you need? In our article below, we’ll look at a basic first aid kit to get you started.
Storing your first aid kit
All packages should be sealed and kept in a cool, dry place. Ideally it should be kept out of reach of children, but not locked away for easy access.
You may also want to consider having 2 first aid kits, one for in the home and one for in the car.
What to keep in your kit
- Plasters in a variety of sizes and shapes
- Small, medium, and large sterile gauze dressings
- At least 2 sterile eye dressings
- Triangular bandages
- Crepe rolled bandages
- Safety pins
- Disposable sterile gloves
- Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- Sticky tape
- Skin rash cream like hydrocortisone or calendula
- Cream or spray for insect bites and stings
- Antiseptic cream
- Painkillers like paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen (or infant paracetamol for children)
- Antihistamine cream or tablets
- Distilled water for cleaning wounds
- Eye wash and an eye bath
In case of emergencies, you might want to consider taping important number to your first aid kit. These can include the doctor, the hospital, and a neighbour if you need extra help.
A basic first aid manual or app on your phone may also be useful.
Do first aid kits expire?
Yes! Over time plasters can lose their adhesiveness, bandages can deteriorate and lose their sterility, wipes can dry out, and gloves can lose their functionality. It’s important to keep track of an items expiry date and replace it when you need to, especially medication.
The expiry date of a product is normally printed on the label. Typically, there will be an egg timer next to a year and month. This is when the product expires and needs to be replaced.
Not all products have an expiry date, however sterile items often do. If a product is sterile and doesn’t have an expiry date, you should check with the manufacturer to find out how long it can be kept. If a non-sterile item doesn’t have an expiry date, it’s down to personal judgment as to whether it is still suitable to use. Nevertheless, you should consider replacing these items every 3-5 years, as long as they have been stored appropriately.