First aid can be defined as emergency treatment given to an injured or ill person to alleviate pain or worsening of the person’s condition until professional medical help can be obtained.

Everyone should learn to give first aid; it can help to:
1. save lives
2. assist an accident victim
3. spot danger
4. get expert help in an emergency
5. offer assistance to someone who is very upset

First aid can be given by anyone who is trained to do so. It is important to understand the steps to follow to ensure your safety and that of the injured person.

A first aid kit has the set of materials and tools used to give immediate treatment to an injured or ill person. It comes in many shapes and sizes; it can also be tailored to meet your needs. A first aid kit should be available in cars, homes, schools, offices and public places. Materials required can be purchased from pharmacies.

A checklist to make sure you have all you need in your first aid kit
• Adhesive tape
• Adhesive bandages (all sizes)
• Non adhesive pads – for covering wounds and burns
• Triangular bandage – as a sling, towel, tourniquet
• Elastic bandages – for wrapping sprained joints etc.
• Non latex gloves (large sizes)- for infection protection and can also be used to make ice packs
• Sterile gauze pads – for covering and cleaning wounds, as a soft eye patch
• Lotion (calamine) –for itching rashes and insect bites.
• Topical corticosteroids, such as over the counter Hydrocortisone 1% for rashes.
• Topical gel or cream for burn relief
• CPR Mouthpiece
• Non-aspirin pain reliever, like paracetamol or ibuprofen in both adult and child doses
• Tweezers to remove splinters and ticks
• Safety pins (large and small)
• Scissors
• Antiseptic wipe packets to clean wounds when soap and water aren’t available
• Antiseptic fluid like Dettol® or Savlon®
• Antibiotic ointment to keep cuts, scrapes, or burns from getting infected
• Rehydration fluid like ORS(Oral Rehydration Salt)
• Antacid – for indigestion
• Cold pack(s)
• A blanket
• Thermometer (non- glass)
• Medicine measures or syringes
• Flashlight
• First aid manual
• Directions for requesting emergency assistance
• Emergency phone numbers

Please ensure you know how to properly use all of the items in your kit, especially the medications. Train others at home or work to use the kit; you may be the one who needs first aid.

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