The Importance of the correct First Aid Box

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Imagine yourself getting injured or sick while you are at home, workplace, or traveling to your favourite holiday destination and you do not have any first aid equipment readily available.

What is a first aid box? 

A first aid box is a collection of medical supplies and equipment that is readily available to be used in case of a medical emergency.

Why is it crucial to have one? 

A medical emergency or illness can occur at any given point in time and it is crucial that the basic first aid equipment that is found in a first aid box is immediately available in order to assist in treating or managing the medical injury or illness. Imagine a family member or co-worker cuts themself and you do not immediately have safety gloves and bandages available to assist the person in need. First aid is a lifesaving skill that can save a person’s life, but this can only be done if you have a correctly stocked first aid box available.

types of first aid boxes

Different types of first aid boxes:

There are a variety of first aid boxes available and these all depend on where they will be utilised.

The general content of a first aid box predominantly stays the same and it is only the quantity of medical supplies inside the box that differs. There are mainly three types of first aid boxes available, but a first aid box can be put together for any specific situation. The three main types of first aid boxes are:

·  Home first aid box which is normally a nylon bag

·  Office / School / Factory first aid box which is normally a metal first aid box and appropriately marked

· Travel/motor vehicle first aid box which is normally a nylon bag

Benefits of having a first aid box.

The benefit of having a first aid box, irrespective of the type of first aid box immediately available for when someone gets sick or injured is that you will have the medical equipment readily available to assist or even save that person’s life until the emergency services can arrive on the scene in order to take over the patient management from you and transport the patient to the nearest most appropriate medical facility.

Put together an accurate first aid box

The content for first aid boxes is governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, General Safety Regulations. These guidelines will give the intended user a clear guideline as to the minimum content of a first aid box. These first aid boxes can be bought directly from Absolute Health Services. If you would like to put your first aid box together you will be able to purchase most of the content from your local pharmacy, you are allowed to add more of the items on the prescribed content list, but not less, you can also add additional items that you personally feel you would like to have in your first aid box.

first aid essentials

First Aid Box Essentials

The below inventory control sheet is as per the General Safety Regulations from the OHS ACT with the prescribed minimum content

Minimum Contents of a First Aid Box

1Wound cleaner / antiseptic (100 ml)1
2Swabs for cleaning wounds (50)10
3Cotton wool for padding (100 g)1
4Sterile gauze (minimum quantity 10)10
5Pair of forceps (for splinters)1
6Pair of scissors (minimum size 100mm)1
7Safety pins12
8Triangular bandages4
9Roller bandages (75 mm x 5 m)4
10Roller bandages (100mm x 5 m)4
11Roll of elastic adhesive (25 mm x 3 m)1
12Non-allergenic adhesive strip (25 mm x 3 m)1
13Packet of adhesive dressing strips (minimum quantity, 10 assorted sizes)1
14First aid dressings (75mm x 100mm)4
15First aid dressings (150 mm x 200mm)4
16Straight splints2
17Pair of large & pair of medium disposable gloves2 Pair large & 2 pair medium
18CPR Mouth pieces or similar devices2
19Blood spill kit1
first aid box

What should not go in a first aid box 

No form of medication is allowed to go in a first aid box as a first aider is not allowed to hand out any form of medication, even something as simple as a headache tablet. If you do hand out any form of medication and that person has an adverse effect on the medication you handed to him/her might lead to a lawsuit against you. All first aid boxes should be checked on a monthly basis, the above checklist can be used for the inspection.

The reason for checking the content of your first aid box is to ensure that none of the items in the first aid box has reached their expiry date and also to make sure that the items used during the month on any possible medical emergencies have been replaced. Remember a first aid box at school, the office or factory is not there to provide staff with their personal medical equipment, the first aid boxes are there for the trained first aiders to assist anyone who needs medical assistance.

Absolute Health Service can assist with the provision of various types and sizes of first aid boxes. Once you used any disposable item from the first aid box you do not need to replace the entire first aid box, you are welcome to contact Absolute Health Services who will be able to assist you in replacing the relevant items.

Some Suggested Extras For a Family Holiday First Aid Kit

Make sure all your prescription medication is packed in. For prescription medication it is a good idea to take your doctor’s prescription with you, or to get a fresh prescription before you leave, just in case your bags (together with your medication) go missing.

Make sure you take enough sunscreen, with a SPF factor of at least 50, as severe sunburn is the quickest way to end your holiday. During summer even a short-unprotected exposure to sun can end in disaster. Make sure that you take some after-sun cream just in case, like Aloe Vera cream, After Burn cream or Freeze After Sun gel. There are many products available that will provide relief and start the healing process for severe sunburn.

We often find that our stomachs may take a while to adapt to the new area, food and snacks etc. and the following may come in handy:

  • diarrhoea medicine.
  • antacid.
  • oral rehydration salts
  • motion sickness medicine.
  • mild laxative
  • water Purification tablets

Don’t forget the insect repellent. Should the insects be able to still get to you through the repellent, make sure you take antihistamine and some Insect Bite anti-itch gel or cream. If you will be going to a known malaria area, speak to your doctor at least a month before you depart to start on the malaria medication. There are several different medications available to prevent you from getting malaria and your doctor will choose the one most suited for you.

For the general aches and pains, over the counter medicines will be a wise choice for your first aid kit. Here are some examples:

  • ibuprofen pain medication.
  • decongestant and cough mixture.
  • antibacterial or antifungal ointments
  • oral rehydration salts
  • ear drops (especially for warm swimming pools)

It is very important to stay hydrated during the holiday and although we tend to take in enough liquids, we often don’t replace the electrolytes we lose. Keep a few bottles of Powerade or Energade at hand for a quick and effective way to replace the electrolytes.

First Aid Kit Checklist

Ensure that you always have a correctly stocked First Aid Box in your workplace as per the Regulation 7.

Download our free checklist to keep on hand so that your are to respond to emergencies effectively.