June 26, 2014 5:37 pm
Updated: November 25, 2014 11:36 am

Top five tips for your first aid kit

Watch above: Dr. Samir Gupta gives five tips for your first aid kit

TORONTO – Many Torontonians will likely head out of the city to cottages or camps to celebrate the first long weekend of the summer.

But accidents happen and travellers venturing out of urban areas should be sure to keep a first aid kit handy.

Dr. Samir Gupta advises people to fill their first aid kit with items that will help with two types of medical concerns; minor ailments like cuts and scratches and medical emergencies.

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“You really want to have stuff in there that will enable you to deal with [a minor ailment] without having to run to the pharmacy or the doctor,” he said.

Gupta recommends filling your first aid kit with sterilizing wipes and antibiotic ointment to sterilize a wound, various bandages and gauze to cover the wound, tape and scissors to apply bandages properly and disposable gloves.

For more serious ailments, he recommends keeping a stock of basic medications including anti-diarrhea pills, antihistamines, and medications for pain and fever.

He also recommended a thermometer and a first aid manual.

“In [case of a medical emergency] you want things in there that are going to buy you time as you make your way to urgent medical care,” he said.

Aspirin can be given immediately after a suspected heart attack or stroke, he said.

Top five tips for your first aid kit:

1. Keep it handy

Keep a kit in various locations

“Make sure you know where it is. Keep one in the car, keep one at home and make sure you can find it quickly in that emergency situation,” he said.

2. Check Expiry Dates

Checking the expiry dates of medications is especially important.

“Check the expiry dates before you put it in,” he said. “Every three to six months check again [and] replace things that are expired.”

3. Include your own personal medications

Gupta recommends including a few days’ supply of your own personal medications – like a puffer – in case you forget them at home.

4. Include bug spray and sun block

Bug spray and sun block aren’t commonly thought of as something to include in a first aid kit, but Gupta noted they are increasingly being thought of as medical supplies because of West Nile Virus from mosquito bites and the chance of developing skin cancer from prolonged sun exposure.

“We don’t want people running out of these things,” he said.

5. Take a course

“If you’re facing a cardiac arrest in front of you, what you really need is the skill set to perform CPR in order to save that person’s life and for that you need to have taken a course.”

“The equipment in that first aid kit is really only as good as the skill set of the person who’s using it.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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