When faced by a pandemic, you must stay indoors to avoid catching the virus. At a crisis like that, it will not be safe for you to run to the hospital if you were to fall victim to an injury. Therefore, you must have a first aid kit within reach. After all, accidents do not knock on your door before happening. A first aid kit will provide you immediate help at an emergency.
You might be also interested in: Winter Survival: A Miniature Guide
Scale of Preparedness
If you are subjected to a pandemic, it’s given that you will be bound to the perimeters of your house or a shelter. In that case, to set up a first aid kit you should focus on the injuries or accidents that might occur within the boundary.
Moreover, you must decide how prepared you want to be to buy just the right items for the first aid kit, neither more nor less. This is important because just like you, others will be stocking up on essentials as well. The last thing you should do at a time of crisis is panic-buy which prevents others from purchasing the essentials they need.
That being said, you must consider possessing enough items that would replace medical treatment. It’s all about the perfect balance.
Conduct a Risk Analysis
Setting up a first aid kit for a pandemic survival is more methodical than you think. To avoid buying items that you might not need based on your previous experience with mishaps, perform a risk analysis before you set up a first aid kit. This will help to identify what the most essential items are. You must build a practical first aid kit that fits your needs.
First, make a list of hazards that are possible in your home for yourself and whoever you are living with. They may include anything from burns in the kitchen to paper cuts. Next, assign a score of 1-5 for each, 1 having the least possibility to occur and 5 having the most. The injuries/accidents that are rated the highest should be your priority while setting up a first aid kit.
Additionally, you must take into consideration any medical condition that could be potentially life-threatening. For example, for an allergy Benadryl and an Epi-Pen could be a lifesaver. Or for a diabetic patient, oral glucose should make a huge difference during a low blood sugar episode.
Basic First Aid Items for Setting up a First Aid Kit
In any event, few basic items should be included in any first aid kit.
Setting up a First Aid Kit: Band-Aids
This is an obvious item essential to a first aid kit. Ensure that there are a bunch of Band-Aids at your disposal. Knuckle and fingertip Band-Aids come in handy for their specific purpose. You may also opt for waterproof options or fabric ones as they hold for a longer period.
Setting up a First Aid Kit: Wound Cleaning Agent
A wound cleaning agent works the best to prevent a small cut leading to an infection. You must keep antiseptic wipes in the kit. A small bottle of hydrogen peroxide works wonders too. Alcohol wipes could be an alternative but they sting. Therefore, stick to using the other options if you’re dealing with a wound or cut on children.
Setting up a First Aid Kit: Antibiotic Ointment
Another element that prevents infection is an antibiotic ointment. You may purchase a tube of Neosporin or individual packets of antibiotic ointment.
Gauze is crucial for bleeding control. The basic ones come in the form of 4×4 gauze pads and rolling gauze. To stop bleeding, place a few gauze pads on the wound and apply pressure. Next, you must wrap the wound with the rolling gauze to secure the gauze pads. Pressure should be applied until the bleeding stops.
A deep cut, also known as a laceration might keep the wound gaping open. This leads to the deeper layers of tissue open and causes infection. To avoid that, you must use butterfly closures to keep the edges together. Pressure must be applied on the wound to control the bleeding. Then, use gauze to wrap up the wound. In a non-pandemic scenario, the ideal decision would be to seek medical help. However, speedy treatment using butterfly closure has to be the only option during a crisis.
Nitrile Exam Gloves
Gloves prevent you from coming in contact with someone else’s body fluids or blood which may be harmful to you. You must be cautious while treating someone else especially during a pandemic since you do not know what the injured person might be carrying. Besides, your dirty hands might act as a catalyst to the infection for the injured person.
Triangular bandages are one of the most all-inclusive items that should be included in a first aid kit. They can be used for multiple purposes such as using it in the form of an arm sling to treat a fracture or alternating it as a pad to control bleeding. You can also use it to support a bone injury like an ankle fracture or a broken leg.
You must be prepared for a burn since it can happen to anyone at any point in time from touching a hot stove to running your hand under extremely hot water without checking. Therefore, you must keep simple burn gel packets that can be placed on the burn before wrapping it with sterile gauze.
Medication for basic ailments must be kept in the first aid kit. For reducing a fever or relieving pain, Tylenol and Paracetamol work well. Ibuprofen suits for relieving pain as well as reducing inflammation which will come in handy for some injuries. Mild allergic reactions can be controlled with Benadryl.
Supplementary items for Setting up a First Aid Kit
Apart from the basic items required for setting up a first aid kit, you must also add a few other components. The list includes tweezers, alcohol wipes, medical adhesive tape, surgical tape, insect bite swabs, bandage scissors, instant cold packs and a barrier device for CPR.
Additional items for a Pandemic Survival
To protect yourself from a contagious disease, it’s pertinent that you keep specific items in your first aid kit that help prevent the catch or spread of the disease. Although a first aid kit is supposed to come to use once you get an injury or ailment, desperate times call for desperate measures. So, you might as well have the necessary survival items in the same first aid kit.
A standard pandemic survival kit list should include respiratory masks (KN95 or N95), antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer packs, nitrile exam gloves and personal tissue packs. Also, you must keep re-sealable storage bags and biohazard infectious waste bags within reach.
Setting up a First Aid Kit
Consider setting up 4 separate pockets in the first aid kit for specific purposes.
First Aid Pocket
This should include the Band-Aids (fabric, waterproof, knuckle, fingertip), butterfly closures, antiseptic wipes, wound cleaning agent and antibiotic ointment packets.
This pocket should consist of the items that you would need to urgently attend to a serious injury. The items are gauze pads, rolling gauze, triangular bandages, surgical tapes, burn gel packets.
Pandemic Specific Pocket
All the items mentioned for a standard pandemic survival kit should be placed in a separate zip-lock pocket.
All the over-the-counter medicines should be kept in a separate pocket.
Setting up a First Aid Kit: Storing a First Aid Kit
The best place to store a first aid kit is in the central spot of the house, based on the layout of the house. A kitchen is a good option since most family activities take place there. If you have children in the house, you must keep it in a high cabinet, far away from their reach.
Setting up a First Aid Kit: Training
A pandemic will cause stress to more or else everyone. But having to treat yourself or a loved one during the absence of medical assistance will make it worse. Consequently, you must know how to treat an injury or deal with a medical emergency. If possible, get yourself the basic training on first aid via online courses or organizations that offer courses near you.
After setting up a first aid kit at home, you may practice the basic steps with the assorted items. Also, train the other members in your family so that at the time of an emergency they can help you or themselves.
A first aid kit is mandatory not just during a pandemic but at all times. But its necessity increases during a global crisis, given that you may not be able to receive the medical assistance required. It can help to treat injuries, reduce or prevent infections and even save lives. On that account, you must set up a first aid kit at the start of a crisis, if you do not have one already. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletters and leave a comment a below.