Hurricane Season: Building a First Aid Kit

by pharmacy on July 27, 2016

first aid kitSummer is when hurricane awareness comes to the forefront of the collective consciousness. The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and lasts until November 30. Now is a good time for individuals to review their first aid kit and make sure they have all necessary medical supplies easily accessible or included in their hurricane preparations.

Basic Supplies

Building a fully stocked first aid kit is quite an endeavor. Most authorities recommend building it slowly, so the financial burden is not excessive. Start with the items that would have the most immediate impact on safety and well-being if they were not available and build towards a more comprehensive kit. The following list is not exhaustive but is a good starting point:

  • Adhesive tape
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Aluminum finger splint
  • Antacids
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antihistamine
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Breathing barrier
  • Butterfly bandages, assorted sizes
  • Calamine lotion
  • Cold medications
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cough suppressants
  • Cut tape
  • Disposable nonlatex gloves
  • Elastic wrap bandages
  • Eye shield
  • Eyewash
  • First-aid manual
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Instant cold packs
  • Laxatives
  • Nonstick sterile bandages
  • Pain relievers
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Plastic bags
  • Roller gauze
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Soap
  • Triangular bandages
  • Tweezers

There are numerous federal agencies which have compiled resources for emergency preparedness. The general federal preparedness site Ready.gov has instructions for building an emergency kit and other preparation information. The CDC has a comprehensive guide as well.  There are also many companies that offer premade emergency and first aid kits for consumers who find the idea of preparing one entirely on their own to be overwhelming.

Prescriptions

In addition to the basic supplies, people should also make sure their prescriptions have enough refills and that they have several weeks of their medications on hand in case of an emergency. In the aftermath of a hurricane, deliveries may be delayed and it may be impossible to quickly refill necessary prescriptions. If the prescriptions require special storage or handling, that should also be considered. Coolers with ice or instant cold packs may be necessary to keep refrigerated medications safe for use. If so, these items should be included with the first aid preparations.

Pharmacists can include information on the importance of keeping the first aid kit stocked during hurricane season and throughout the year. Emergencies rarely provide advanced notice. Constant vigilance in regards to personal health and safety should be something patients with medical issues are constantly aware of and prepared for. Use hurricane season to help make your patients more aware of this need in order for them to be prepared for the next hurricane or unexpected emergency.

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