Reviewing Your First Aid Inventory

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Now since we have time on our hands and medicines are the topic of conversation everywhere, it is a good idea to check what is in our medicine cabinet. Simple coughs and colds and minor headaches are usually treated with medicines we know work well for us and have relieved the condition in the past. Having dependable supplies on hand that are still able to work effectively is vital. When was the last time you went through your medicine cabinet and checked the expiration dates of your medicines?  Discard those cough syrups that are hidden in the back of the medicine cabinet that you used years ago. (I just found a bottle from 2017 that was hidden behind a gift bottle of cologne.)  Do you have the cough syrup, head cold medicines and other items in stock that your family prefers or feel works best for them?  It is always wise to restock and keep supplies current and look for sales on the items you might need.  Having the supplies on hand will insure you are ready when they are needed and you don’t have to head out to the store when you are sick. Speaking of discarding medicines, check with your town to see if they have a program that collects outdated pill or capsule medications.  A pharmacist friend told me his town has collection days when people can drop off their outdated or no longer needed pills.  His local fire department collects them and safely incinerates these medications.  Some police departments also have large metal bins for these types of medicine deposits. Pills should NOT be flushed down the toilet, which can contaminate the water supply.

Have you checked and updated your home first aid kit lately?   Is the Poison Control Center telephone number clearly posted by your telephone for all the family to read?  Most families pack a first aid kit high up on a shelf away from the children. Let your family members know where it is stored if it out of sight, and think about locating it within reach of everyone.  Show your children where it is and what is in it.  You may be the person hurt and have to depend on a child to get the first aid kit for you.  Being prepared and going over the contents with the child before an emergency happens is a good idea. (Of course that is if the child is at an age to understand these instructions.)  Do you also have a fully stocked first aid kit in the car, complete with a flashlight and fresh batteries?   It is also a good idea to have an extra cell phone charger cord that you can leave in your console and not worry if you forgot one at home, if your phone dies and you are on the road. Keep an old blanket in the car or purchase a solar blanket for emergency situations.  A solar blanket looks like a large piece of crinkly aluminum foil, but is lightweight and durable.   It is made for warmth and particularly for keeping a patient warm that may be going into shock.  Keep extra bandages in the auto kit and heavy, sterile cloth for severe wounds.  If you have to have an infant or toddler, a clean, new diaper could be used if a wound produced a flow of blood that was heavier than gauze or bandages could handle, whether you are home or in a car.  Being prepared with all the proper materials is of the utmost importance, but knowing what to do is even more critical.