First Aid Must-Haves for Every Emergency Situation

Essential first aid items are contents of your emergency kit that can help you treat or manage an injury or medical condition. Not all medical emergencies require the same tools or equipment. Below, we’ll take a closer look at your “must-haves” for specific situations.

Doing first aid can help you completely treat an injury or help a person survive and continue living healthily. In more severe instances, first aid can help minimize an injury or increase the chances of a person’s survival.

It can be challenging for others to deal with emergencies with a calm head. That is why it is crucial to master your emotions in such circumstances and be prepared.

Basic contents of a first aid kit

You might have come across readily-assembled first aid kits in your local drugstore. You might have even encountered one at the personal care aisle of your grocery store. Even department stores may have a few kits on their shelves.

First aid kits are sold in many places because they are considered an essential commodity for every household. While you can quickly whip out your phone and dial 911 in the event of an emergency medical event, there are a lot of “primary steps” you can do while waiting for help.

The essential first aid items you will usually find in a kit are as follows:

  • Assorted medication
  • Adhesives
  • Bandages
  • Sterile dressings
  • Tools such as scissors, tweezers, syringes, or spoons
  • Cotton balls and/or cotton swabs
  • Thermometer
  • Antiseptic
  • Sanitizers or disinfectant

Must-haves for cuts, abrasions, and bleeds

Many common injuries involve the damage or puncture of the skin. People can easily accidentally get cuts, scrapes, or wounds. The primary thing you need to do in managing wounds is to stop the bleeding. For this, you will need the following:

Sterile gauze

To stop bleeding, you will need to apply pressure in the area. You can do this safely by putting a sterile gauze on top of the wound and pressing on it until the bleeding stops. You may have to do this until help arrives if it is a severe or deep wound.


Once the bleeding stops, you will want to wash the area with soap and water and apply an antiseptic ointment or cream to prevent it from getting infected. 

Adhesives and bandages

Depending on the location and the size of the wound, you might only need a small band-aid or a gauze wrapped with a bandage to protect the wound before it gets further treatment at the hospital or until it heals at home.

Must-haves for burns

The first thing you can do to help a person suffering from burns is to remove the cause of the burn. For example, if a lighted cigarette is causing it, the first thing you would do is to get rid of the cigar. 

If the causative agent is too large (such as a house fire), remove the person from the burning agent instead. Dousing the burned area with cold water for at least 20 minutes is the next step. The following first aid essential items can also help:

Burn gel

A burn gel works by wicking away the heat and decreasing the temperature of the burned surface. It prevents the burn from penetrating deeper into the skin and causing more damage. If you do not have cool running water readily available, a burn gel can help if applied immediately.

Clear cling wrap

If the burn causes the skin to slough off, you will need to protect the injury from outside contaminants. You can’t do this with a regular bandage as the fibers may stick to the burn and make things worse. A clear cling wrap is more effective.

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Must-haves for allergies and stings

Allergies are common. They happen to a lot of people everywhere, with many possible triggers. It could be food, substances from the environment, and sometimes animal bites such as bee stings. It might not sound like a big deal, but if an allergy gets so severe, it might cause a person to go into anaphylactic shock and die.

Here are some of your must-have essential first aid items for allergies, stings, and bites:


An epinephrine autoinjector is a lifesaving device that delivers a metered epinephrine dose to someone who is experiencing severe anaphylaxis. It is injected into the thigh and immediately relieves the symptoms while the person waits for help or gets transported.

Oral antihistamine

It would also be useful to have oral allergy meds in your kit for milder cases of allergies, such as experiencing a runny nose, excessive sneezing, or itchiness. An oral antihistamine can relieve these mild symptoms so you can continue to function in your daily activities. You can take them for several days or for a period recommended by your physician.


Tweezers come in handy for splinters, but they are essential when managing bee stings. When a bee stings, it leaves behind the stinger and the sac containing the irritating substance. The sac continues to deliver the substance while the stinger is still attached.

For this reason, it is vital to remove the stinger as soon as possible. Gently brushing it off may work, but you may need tweezers if it is embedded deeply enough.

Rash cream

Some stings and allergies may cause itchy patches on the skin. These are called hives or urticaria. A person may find it extremely difficult to avoid scratching these as they are highly itchy. To relieve the itchy feeling, a rash cream that soothes and calms the area could help prevent all the scratching that might damage the skin.

Must-haves for sprains, strains, bone dislocation, and fractures

Falls and other similar accidents may cause someone to displace, strain, sprain, or break certain body parts. It can be anywhere, but the bones in the limbs are usually susceptible. The main aim of first aid in such situations is to keep the affected area still and steady until help arrives.

Cold compress

If the injury is minor, and there are no broken or displaced bones, a cold compress can relieve the pain. It also helps prevent too much swelling in the area.

Splint and Sling

Splinting is done with a rigid object to keep the affected part immobilized. This is important if you suspect a broken bone since any further movement can aggravate the injury.

Pain medication

Injuries such as these can put the person into a lot of pain. Some over-the-counter medications may not take all the pain away, but it can help minimize it so that the person will feel at least a little bit better.

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