Having a stomach upset or headache with no pharmacy nearby? “I wish I had paracetamol” keeps sounding when pains are becoming severe and there is no medication nearby and no one to help out. One is then reminded of keeping near some painkillers and other small medications for emergencies. Generally, this is referred to as First Aid.
First aid is the assistance given to any person suffering a sudden illness or injury,with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery. It includes initial intervention in a serious condition prior to professional medical help being available as well as the complete treatment of minor conditions, such as applying a plaster to a cut.
The common kits mostly found in the homes may contain:
Alcohol or non-alcohol antiseptic wipes
- Band aids
- Cotton Balls
- Cotton Swabs
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Eye wash
Medication can be a controversial addition to a first aid kit, especially if it is for use on members of the public. It is, however, common for personal or family first aid kits to contain certain medications.
Lifesaving; aspirin used to treat pain, fever, or inflammation
Pain killers; Paracetamol (also known as Acetaminophen) is one of the most common pain killing medication, as either tablet or syrup. Anti-inflammatory painkillers such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen can be used for treating sprains and strains
codeine which is both a painkiller and anti-diarrhea.
- Oral re-hydration salts
- Antihistamine such as diphenhydramine for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and other allergies. They can give relief when a person has nasal congestion, sneezing, or hives because of pollen, dust mites, or animal allergy.
- Absorption, such as activated charcoal
- Emetics to induce vomiting, such as syrup of ipecac although first aid manuals now advise against inducing vomiting.
- Smelling salts(ammonium carbonate)to arouse consciousness.
- Antiseptics / Disinfectants
- Antiseptic fluid, moist wipe or spray- For cleaning and disinfecting a wound.
- Alcohol pads- sometimes included for disinfecting instruments or unbroken skin (for example prior to draining a blister), or cleaning skin prior to applying an adhesive bandage. Alcohol should not be used on an open wound, as it kills skin cells and delays healing.
- Medicated antiseptic ointments- for preventing infection in a minor wound, after it is cleaned. Not typically used on wounds that are bleeding heavily.
- Burn gel – a water-based gel that acts as a cooling agent and often includes a mild anesthetic such as lidocaine and, sometimes, an antiseptic such as tea tree oil
- Anti-itch ointment
- Hydrocortisonecreamis used to treat redness, swelling, itching, and discomfort of various skin conditions.
- Calamine lotion for skin inflammations.
It is recommended that all kits are in a clean, waterproof container to keep the contents safe and aseptic. Kits should also be checked regularly and restocked if any items are damaged or are out of date.
BY YAA AGYEMANG DUAH