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      First Aid Kit Basics: Containers

      First Aid Kit Basics: Containers

      If you've ever put together a first aid kit, you've probably spent a lot of time thinking about what goes into it. But it can be just as important to consider your first aid kit container. The container you choose to house your first aid kit will have an impact on how, where, and when you can use your kit. There are pros and cons to any of the containers you choose. Read on to learn a few of them.

      First Aid Kit Basics: Container Pros and Cons

      Plastic First Aid Containers: You may choose to keep your first aid kit in a plastic container. This is a classic choice, and is often used for pre-made kits. Plastic cases are inexpensive, durable, and give you lots of space. Depending on its size, you may find that a plastic container is not particularly portable. This makes it a good choice for use in the home or in small workspaces.

      Metal First Aid Containers: Metal first aid kits give your contents added protection against the elements. Because they're waterproof, they're a great choice for outdoor situations. The downside is they are quite heavy, which reduces their portability. Metal containers make sense for outdoor work sites, as well as situations where your kit may encounter heavy use.

      Cloth Bag: A cloth first aid container usually features many zippers, pockets, and compartments. This can be a great way to keep your contents organized. They usually feature a handle or strap, which increases their portability. The downside to cloth containers is their lack of durability. We recommend saving cloth containers to low use situations, such as a car kit.

      Backpack: A backpack first aid kit builds upon the benefits of the cloth kit, providing plenty of organizational options with superior portability. It's easy to sling a backpack on your back and hit the trail with what you need. Again, the downside of this type of kit is durability. It's a good idea to use this container for situations where you'll be on the go, and avoid using it in heavy use areas.

      Makeshift First Aid Containers: It's not always necessary to purchase a separate container for your first aid supplies. If you're creating a kit for a very specific low use situation, makeshift containers can work just as well, or even better. Food storage containers give you a small, sturdy, weather-proof space for a few supplies. Ziploc bags are lightweight, waterproof, and easy to fill with what you need - perfect for hiking. Waist pouches can be a smaller alternative to cloth bags and backpacks, while a plastic storage bin gives you a large, durable stand in for a plastic or metal container.

      The right container can make a big difference in how safe and accessible your first aid supplies are. Don't be afraid to get creative, but do make sure the container you choose is right for your situation.

      6 First Aid Hacks You've Never Heard Of

      6 First Aid Hacks You've Never Heard Of

      We all have minor injuries from time to time. It's easy to get stuck in a routine for treating them. But you may be surprised at how many unusual ways there are to treat common ailments. Keep some of these unusual first aid hacks in mind to treat some of life's little mishaps.

      6 First Aid Hacks You've Never Heard Of

      1. Apply Honey to Cuts: Do you keep honey in your kitchen? It's time to move it to your first aid kit! If you find yourself without an antibacterial product to treat a minor cut or scrape, you can use honey instead. Clean the cut with warm water, then apply a thin layer of honey. Honey's antibacterial properties will help keep infection at bay.
      1. Use Glue to Remove a Splinter: Splinters might not be life threatening, but they can definitely make your day a whole lot worse. Get rid of them quickly by applying a thin layer of glue over the area. Peel the glue off when it's dry and watch the splinter come with it.
      1. Deal With Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are annoying at best and carriers of serious disease at worst. Repel them using store bought repellents, or by rubbing basil leaves on your skin. If you have a little more time, try steeping basil leaves in boiling water for 2-3 hours, then spraying the cooled water around your house. If you do end up with a bite, rub a banana peel over it. The sugars will help draw out the fluid, reducing that annoying itchiness.
      1. Treat Insect Stings: If you happen to run afoul of a bee or wasp, you know how painful the stings can be. Your first step after a sting is to inspect the area and remove any stingers left behind. If you've been stung by a bee, put a paste of baking soda and water over the site. If you've been unlucky enough to be stung by a wasp, reach for the apple cider vinegar. Soak cotton balls in it and gently apply to the sting.
      1. Banish Bruises with Pineapple: This one might seem particularly odd, but you can use pineapple to reduce bruises. Inside every piece of pineapple is an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain helps reduce inflammation, which is useful when getting rid of bruises. Rub a piece of pineapple directly onto the bruised area to hasten healing.
      1. Use a First Aid App: Not sure how you would react in a first aid situation? Having a first aid app on your phone can put your mind at ease. First aid apps contain important information to help you effectively respond to any crisis that comes your way. Save valuable time by having the tips you need right at your fingertips. Pair it with a first aid kit and you'll be ready for anything.

      The 6 Most Common First Aid Mistakes

      The 6 Most Common First Aid Mistakes

      Medical knowledge changes over time. Commonplace first aid tactics from your mother or grandmother's day can quickly become outdated. Unfortunately, this leads many people to make mistakes in emergency situations.

      Here are six of the biggest first aid mistakes that people still make today. Do you know fact from fiction?

      The Six Most Common First Aid Mistakes

      1. Putting Butter on a Burn: Did your mother ever tell you to put butter over a kitchen burn? It turns out this trick can actually impede healing. A burn is more likely to become infected if there's a layer of grease on top of it. Next time, skip the butter and reach for cool (not ice-cold) water. Seek medical attention if the burn damages several layers of skin or covers a large area.
      1. Leaning Back with a Bloody Nose: It's almost instinctive: your nose starts to bleed, so you pinch it and lean back. Unfortunately, this response can cause blood to flow down your throat, triggering irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. It also makes it easy to swallow blood, which may lead to vomiting. Instead, lean forward and pinch your nose just below the bridge.
      1. Using Heat to Treat Frostbite: Minor cases of frostbite can be treated at home, but be careful not to treat too quickly. Using water over 108 degrees, sitting close to a fire or heater, or using a heating pad on high can all cause further damage to your skin. Instead, think low and slow. Get out of the cold, use lukewarm water (between 100 and 105 degrees) or a heating pad on low to gently warm your skin.
      1. Creating a Tourniquet: They do it all the time on TV. Someone gets a cut on an arm or leg, and their friend creates a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. In real life this is a recipe for permanent damage or even amputation. Instead, use a clean cloth to apply pressure to the wound. Don't hesitate to call 911 if the bleeding is dangerously heavy.
      1. Using Ipecac Syrup After Ingesting Poison: It may seems counter-intuitive, but unless you've been instructed to do so by a poison control expert, don't do anything to induce vomiting. If you do, the toxic or caustic substance could do more damage on its way back up. Instead, look for symptoms. If there aren't any, call the poison control center at 800-222-1222 for advice. If the person is having difficulty breathing, is drowsy or agitated, or is having a seizure, call 911 right away.
      1. Putting Heat on a Sprained Ankle: When it comes to sprains, think cold, not hot. Applying heat to a pulled muscle can cause blood vessels to dilate. This allows more blood into the area, which can increase swelling. Instead, keep the area immobilized and apply a cold compress for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.

      7 Unusual First Aid Products

      7 Unusual First Aid Products

      A well stocked first aid kit can help you get out of an emergency situation. However, not everyone is lucky enough to have a kit available when they need it. That's where unusual first aid products come in. The six items on this list can be surprisingly handy when the unexpected strikes. Make sure you have them on hand.

      7 Unusual First Aid Products

      1. Safety Pins: Chances are you already have a few of these hanging around. Safety pins are useful for holding bandages together to help cover a wound. Sterilize the sharp end and you have the perfect tool for removing splinters. You can even use them to help immobilize an arm while on the trail: pin your sleeve to your torso to reduce movement until you can find a better sling.
      1. Tampons: Tampons are small, sterile, easy to carry, and extremely absorbent. All of these traits make them perfect for first aid. Their most common first aid use is for addressing nose bleeds. In some situations they can also help plug larger wounds, but be careful: they can be difficult to remove. Only use them for wounds if you are in a life-threatening situation and have no other option available.
      1. Vaseline: Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is easy to keep on hand. While it won't disinfect a wound, it can help keep contaminants out. Dab it on cuts after cleaning them to keep new contaminants from settling in. You can also put a small dab on a biting tick. The tick will let go in order to breathe, allowing you to remove it easily.
      1. Super Glue: Super glue shouldn't be first on your list for closing wounds, but in a pinch it's better than nothing. Use it to glue small wounds (2 inches or less) shut. Don't attempt this on wounds that have irregular edges, are on your face, or are particularly deep. Make sure to clean the wound before closing it, and keep an eye on it over the next few days to ensure bleeding doesn't start again.
      1. Dental Floss: Strong and sterile, unflavored dental floss is a viable alternative to sutures in a life-threatening situation. Dental floss has also successfully been used as a tourniquet, but this is a risky solution that should only be attempted in dire circumstances.
      1. Towel: The humble towel is a viable (and sometimes more effective) alternative to gauze squares for compressing a wound. Simply wrap a clean towel around the cut and apply pressure.
      1. Duct Tape: You may know duct tape from its dozens of household uses, but it can be just as handy in first aid situations. Use it to hold down bandages, remove ticks, and even fashion a makeshift sling. Best of all, you probably already have some on hand.

      First Aid Kit Basics: Bandage Types

      First Aid Kit Basics: Bandage Types

      If there's one thing a first aid kit wouldn't be complete without, it's bandages. The variety of bandage shapes, sizes, and materials can be a little overwhelming for anyone unfamiliar with first aid. Get to know your first aid kit a little better by familiarizing yourself with the basic bandage types available in most kits.

      First Aid Kit Basics: Bandage Types

      Adhesive Bandage

      Adhesive bandages are something you've most likely encountered in your day to day life. Each bandage features a strip of flexible material that is sticky on one side, a small piece of absorbent pad, and a coated paper covering. They are available in a variety of sizes and brands.

      You're most likely to use an adhesive bandage when dealing with a minor wound. After cleaning the wound and applying an antibacterial ointment, remove an appropriately sized adhesive bandage from its packaging. Lay the absorbent pad against the wound, then attach the bandage using the sticky strips. Change the bandage if it gets dirty or wet.

      Roller Bandage

      Roller bandages are a common sight in first aid kits. Consisting of a continuous strip of cotton gauze or crepe, they're well suited for a number of first aid applications. These bandages come in a spectrum of elasticities. The more elastic a roller bandage is, the better it is for applying pressure to a wound.

      To use a roller bandage, start by applying a sterile dressing to a clean wound. Begin by holding the rolled end of the bandage (known as the head) up, then slowly wrap the bandage around the dressing. Work your way up from the bottom, going an inch at a time. Ensure you have enough coverage by overlapping each layer of bandage by a third as you go. When you reach the end of the dressing, secure and cut off the bandage.

      Triangular Bandage

      A triangular bandage is suited for creating slings. This makes them useful for supporting injuries to soft tissue and immobilizing broken bones. Triangular bandages are generally made of thick cotton.

      Correct use of a triangular bandage depends greatly on the type of injury you're using it to address. Refer to the first aid instruction booklet found in any well-stocked first aid kit to learn more about how to best use this bandage.

      Tubular Bandage

      Tubular bandages are almost exactly how they sound: tubes of thick, elasticized gauze. They are available in different widths and strengths. These bandages are best used for compression and immobilizing joints.

      The application of tubular bandages is relatively simple: slowly slide it up the affected limb until it covers the injured body part.