Make your own first aid kit

Make your own first aid kit

Summer’s here! People are outside biking, hiking and playing sports – and getting cuts, bruises, insect bites, sprains and broken bones.

If you don’t have one, it’s a good time to put together a first aid kit.

Your first aid kit should be stored in a clearly labeled shoe box, an unused tackle box, or another type of hinged box and used only to store first aid supplies.

The following kit items recommended by the American Red Cross can be placed in a shoe box or plastic container.

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 roll of adhesive cloth tape
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of pain reliever
  • 1 space blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pairs of large, non-latex gloves
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
  • Scissors
  • Roller bandages
  • 10 sterile gauze pads (3 and 4 inches square)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury, non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First Aid instruction booklet

If your family has special health needs or allergies, you may need to customize your kit to prepare for allergic reactions or other health emergencies that result from pre-existing conditions.

You may also want to include a list of your family’s emergency numbers.

You should make every effort to restock any supplies that you use.

CPR For Family and Friends

Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center
Menard Center-Rehab Services Entrance
601 South Center Avenue
Merrill, WI 54452
Dates:    July 27, 2010
September 29, 2010
November 23, 2010

Time:    6 – 9:?? p.m.
Cost:    $ 10

Description: This class is for anyone to learn adult, child and infant CPR and rescue choking. This session does not require any testing or provide certification. Contact Carol at  715.539.5075 to register

Heart Saver CPR

Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center
Menard Center-Rehab Services Entrance
601 South Center Avenue
Merrill, WI 54452

Dates: September 16, 2010; December 9, 2010
Time: 12:30 – 2 p.m.
Cost: $ 50

Description: Initial training, advanced registration required. Call 715.539.5089 for more information.

CPR Recertification Classes   

Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center
Menard Center-Rehab Services Entrance
601 South Center Avenue
Merrill, WI 54452
Dates: August 5, 2010;
September 2, 2010;
October 7, 2010;
November 4, 2010;
December 2, 2010
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Description: CPR re-certification classes. Various prices. Contact: Sharon at 715.539.5089 to register

First Aid Tips

What you should do during a life-threatening emergency

During an emergency, seconds count.

REMAIN CALM. There will be time for emotion later.

First, remember your ABCs –

A is for Airway
The first step is always to make sure the injured person’s airway is not blocked and there is nothing in his or her mouth that can cause a choking hazard. If anything is in the mouth, clear it with your finger.

B is for Breathing
If a person is not breathing, administer artificial respiration using the breathing barrier (with one-way valve) from your first aid kit.

C is for Circulation
Check the person’s pulse. The second step is to check for pulse and signs of bleeding. If the person is bleeding heavily, stop the flow of blood with pressure and in life-threatening cases a tourniquet.

Remember, you should NEVER move a person who has a serious neck or back injury unless you have to save him or her from imminent danger.

Keep the injured person lying down and quiet. If injuries are extensive, cover the person with the space blanket from your first aid kit to keep them warm.

If the person is nauseous or have vomited and there is not a head or neck injury, turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking.

If the person is unconscious or semiconscious person, do not try to wake them up by slapping or shaking the person. Also, do not give a person with limited consciousness liquids.

Call 911. If someone is with you, have one person call while the other administers first aid. Be prepared to tell the 911 dispatcher all the pertinent details of the injuries. Ask for assistance in how to handle the situation until the ambulance arrives.

Check to see if the person is wearing a medical identification bracelet or other emblem that identifies special health issues.

First aid to treat bleeding

Use a pair of non-latex gloves from your first aid kit to protect yourself. You will also need an appropriately sized gauze pad or absorbent compress dressings from your first aid kit.

And remember DEPT to stop the bleeding


If possible ELEVATE the wound above the heart

Apply pressure to PRESSURE POINTS where blood vessels are close to the skin. These are usually major arteries, the femoral artery near the bikini line; the brachial artery located between the elbow and the shoulder and the popliteal artery located behind the knee.

Apply a Tourniquet in life threatening situations. ONLY USE A TOURNIQUET WHEN A PERSON IS IN DANGER OF BLEEDING TO DEATH. A tourniquet can cause the loss of a limb. NEVER apply a tourniquet to someone’s neck.


Shock is a life-threatening condition.

Shock is characterized by cool, clammy skin; rapid weak pulse; shallow rapid breathing; low blood pressure; thirst nausea or vomiting; confusion or anxiety; faintness, weakness, dizziness or loss of consciousness.

To administer first aid to someone in shock, have the person lie down and elevate his or her legs at least 12 inches off the ground or floor – unless the injury is to the head, neck or chest. If there is injury to the spine, don’t move the person unless the there is imminent danger.

Tooth Loss

If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it may be able to be reimplanted by a dentist if care is given within 30 minutes.

Call your dentist immediately

Gently rinse the tooth and place it back in the socket between the gum and cheek – make sure you do not swallow the tooth. It may be transported in a small container of milk. You can use tap water if milk is not available.


Choking can occur anytime a person eats or when small children put foreign objects in their mouths.

When a person is choking, they cannot talk, cough or breathe. They may turn a bluish or ashen color. You can use the Heimlich Manuever to dislodge the food or object.


For people older than one year of age, stand behind the person and wrap your arms around the person’s waist.

Make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb side of your fist against the person’s abdomen, just above the person’s naval – well below the sternum.

Grasp your fist with the other hand and give quick upward thrusts into the abdomen to cause the food or object to pop out. Use force appropriate to the person’s size.

If you are alone and choking, lean over the back of a chair forcefully.

If the person losses consciousness, gently lower him or her to the ground and start CPR and call 911. Between each rescue breath look for the object in the mouth – if you can see it remove it. Don’t just sweep the mouth with your finger, you may drive the object deeper into the person’s airway.

If a baby is choking, put the baby face down on your forearm so the baby’s head is lower than his or her chest. Support the baby’s head in your hand against your thigh. Use the heel of one hand to give back blows between the baby’s shoulder blades. Repeat four times.

If the baby is still choking, turn the baby face up on your thigh with the baby’s head pointing to the floor. Please two or three fingers on the lower part of the baby’s breastbone and give up to five upward thrusts. Look for the object in the baby’s mouth – if you can see it remove it.

If the object is not dislodged, begin rescue breathing and call 911.


Do not perform CPR if a person’s heart is still beating or the person is breathing on his or her own.

The following steps are based on instructions from the American Heart Association.

Check for responsiveness. Shake or tap the person gently. See if the person moves or makes a noise. Shout, "Are you OK?"

Call 911 if there is no response. Shout for help and send someone to call 911. If you are alone, call 911 and retrieve an AED (if available), even if you have to leave the person.

Carefully place the person on their back. If there is a chance the person has a spinal injury, two people should move the person to prevent the head and neck from twisting.

Open the airway. Lift up the chin with two fingers. At the same time, tilt the head by pushing down on the forehead with the other hand.

Look, listen, and feel for breathing. Place your ear close to the person's mouth and nose. Watch for chest movement. Feel for breath on your cheek.

If the person is not breathing or has trouble breathing:

  • Cover their mouth tightly with your mouth.
  • Pinch the nose closed.
  • Keep the chin lifted and head tilted.
  • Give two rescue breaths. Each breath should take about a second and make the chest rise.

Perform chest compressions:

  • Place the heel of one hand on the breastbone -- right between the nipples.
  • Place the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand.
  • Position your body directly over your hands.

Give 30 chest compressions. These compressions should be FAST and hard. Press down about 2 inches into the chest. Each time, let the chest rise completely. Count the 30 compressions quickly: "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30, off."

Give the person 2 more breaths. The chest should rise.

Continue CPR (30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths, then repeat) until the person recovers or help arrives. If an AED for adults is available, use it as soon as possible.

If the person starts breathing again, place them in the recovery position. Periodically re-check for breathing until help arrives.


Bruises usually occur after a bump or fall when blood vessels under the skin tear or rupture and blood leaks into surrounding tissue. This causes the black and blue color.

To treat a bruise, including a black eye, apply ice or cold packs for 10 minutes several times each day for the first 48 hours. If possible elevate the bruised area. If there is still pain after the first 48 hours, apply heat with warm towels, a hot water bottle or a heating pad.

If there is blood in eye, a change in vision, severe pain in the eyeball get emergency treatment.

Stopping a bloody nose

Most bloody noses are minor. However, in the event of head injury when there is no other signs of injury to the face may indicate brain hemorrhage. Call 911 immediately.

To stop a bloody nose, begin by leaning the person forward to prevent the blood from flowing down the throat blocking the airway or entering the stomach where it may cause vomiting.

Pinch the nose just below the bridge which pushes the blood vessels against bone or cartilage for five minutes. After five minutes, check to see if the bleeding stops. If bleeding has not stopped, pinch the nose again and hold for 10 minutes.

Seek medical attention if the bleeding does not stop, if the person feels lightheaded, dizzy or weak.


When treating a cut, stop the bleeding by applying continuous pressure over the wound for 15 minutes. Wash the cut well with soap and water.

You should leave small cuts unbandaged unless they will become irritated, If a cut needs bandaging but not stitches, apply antibiotic ointment to keep the cut from sticking to the bandage. Apply an adhesive strip across the wound to provide continuous pressure. If the cut is long use more than one bandage.

Apply a clean bandage at least once a day; change the bandage if it gets wet.

Stitches may be necessary if:

  • If the cut has jagged edges or gapes open
  • If the cut is more than ¼ deep and is located on joints, hands, face or may cause scarring
  • If the cut goes down to the muscle or bone
  • If the cut continues to bleed after 15 minutes

If stitches are needed, it should be done within 8 hours of the injury. Wash the cut well with soap and water. DO NOT apply antibiotic ointments or antiseptics until after the injury has been examined by a health care provider.

Sprains and strains

A simple way to remember the treatment of sprains and strains is to remember to RICE it.

R is for Rest – Do not put weight on the injured joint for 24 to 48 hours

I is for Ice – Ice it for the first 48 hours. The cold will reduce pain and swelling and promote healing.

C is for Compression – Wrap the injured area with an eleastic bandage. Don’t wrap it too tightly. If the area feels numb, tingles or feels cool, loosen the bandage.

E is for Elevation – Try to elevate the injured area above the heart to minimize swelling.

Create a splint

If the sprain or strain is severe, you may want to splint the area until you can see your health care provider.

You can create a split by wrapping or tying the injured area to a stick, cane, rolled up newspaper or other stiff object. Position the splint so the injured area cannot bend. If you suspect a broken bone, immobilize the joint above the break and the joint below.

You can also splint an injured toe or finger by taping it to the neighboring finger or toe.

Treating a broken bone

If you suspect a broken bone, Keep the person still and calm and examine him or her for other injuries.

If the skin is broken, it should be treated immediately to prevent infection. Don't breathe on the wound or probe it. If possible, lightly rinse the wound to remove visible dirt or other contamination, but do not vigorously scrub or flush the wound. Cover with sterile dressings.

If needed, immobilize the broken bone with a splint or sling. Possible splints include a rolled up newspaper or strips of wood. Immobilize the area both above and below the injured bone.

Apply ice packs to reduce pain and swelling.

Take steps to prevent shock. Lay the person flat, elevate the feet about 12 inches above the head, and cover the person with a coat or blanket. However, DO NOT move the person if a head, neck, or back injury is suspected.

Check blood circulation in areas beyond fracture

Check the person’s blood circulation by firmly pressing the skin beyond the fracture site. (For example, if the fracture is in the leg, press on the foot). The skin should turn white or pale and return to normal color in about 2 seconds. If the skin is pale or bluish, there is numbness or tingling and a loss of pulse circulation is poor. If trained personnel are NOT quickly available, try to realign the limb into a normal resting position. This will reduce swelling, pain, and damage to the tissues from lack of blood.


  • DO NOT move the person unless the broken bone is stable.
  • DO NOT move a person with an injured hip, pelvis, or upper leg unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must move the person, pull the person to safety with the shoulders of a shirt, a belt, or pant-legs.
  • DO NOT move a person who has a possible spine injury.
  • DO NOT attempt to straighten a bone or change its position unless blood circulation is hampered.
  • DO NOT try to reposition a suspected spine injury.
  • DO NOT test a bone's ability to move.


Treating burns

There are three levels of burns: First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin. They cause pain, redness, and swelling. Second-degree (partial thickness) burns affect both the outer and underlying layer of skin. They cause pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. Third-degree (full thickness) burns extend into deeper tissues and cause white or blackened, charred skin that may be numb.

Third-degree burns require immediate medical attention
Minor burns will usually heal without further treatment. However, if a second-degree burn covers an area more than 2 to 3 inches in diameter, or if it is located on the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or a major joint, treat the burn as a major burn and seek medical attention.

First aid for minor burns
If the skin is unbroken, run cool water over the area of the burn or soak it in a cool water bath (do not use ice or ice water). Keep the area submerged for at least 5 minutes. A clean, cold, wet towel will also help reduce pain as it lowers the skin temperature and lessens the severity of the burn.

After flushing or soaking, cover the burn with a dry, sterile bandage or clean dressing to protect it from pressure and friction. If the burn is an area that does not need protection, leave it uncovered.

Over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve pain and swelling. Do NOT give children under 12 aspirin. Once the skin has cooled, moisturizing lotion also can help.

Make sure the person is up to date on tetanus immunization.

Do not use salve, butter, great or oil on a burn

After 2 or 3 days of healing, apply aloe to sooth minor burns

Do not break blisters. If a blister breaks, clean the area by running tap water over it applying mild soap. Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the burn with a non-stick sterile dressing.

Treating bug bites

Bee stings, spider bites or other insect bites usually cause a local reaction at the bite site with pain, swelling, redness, and itching.

If you are stung, remove the stinger by scraping or flicking it out. Don’t squeeze the stinger, you may release more venom. If the stinger isn’t visible, assume that it was not left in the skin.

If you are bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider, apply ice and seek medical help immediately.

Apply ice or a cold pack to the bit or sting. Some people apply a paste of baking soda, unseasoned meat tenderizer and water to the area to relieve pain and decrease reaction.

Take an antihistamine to relive pain, swelling and itching.

If you have allergic reactions to bee stings, your first aid kit should contain an epinephrine syringe. Check with your health care provider or pharmacist to determine when and how to use.

Wash the area with soap and water.

Don’t scratch, you could cause infection. 

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