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Saturday, May 10, 2014

building a household first aid kit the herbal way

No matter where in the world you live, if an accident or emergency happens, certain equipment and medicines are always essential.

Your household First Aid Kit is an important tool.

Here is a starting point that you can use to build your own household first aid kit.

  • clean, sharp scissors for cutting bandages 
  • tweezers 
  • digital thermometer with a memory
  • gauze pads of more than one size, individually wrapped
  • rolled gauze 
  • sports tape for wrapping gauze in place safely 
  • bandaids of various sizes 
  • stretchy tape wrap, the elastic rubbery type that sticks to itself but not to skin, for clean and easy wrapping of bandages over broken skin, or for wrapping a thumb bandaid in place on a toddler's hand
    (speaks from experience? why, yes!) 
  • sports wraps, the cloth type for wrapping sprains and strains 
  • activated charcoal, for drawing out poisons from snake, spider, scorpion or other insect bites
    (even if you are going right to the hospital with a rattlesnake bite wound, it's a good idea to shake on activated charcoal to start absorbing the poison as well as tightly wrap the limb above the wound to stop blood flow while you're traveling) 
  • comfrey leaf, the knitting herb, for poulticing nasty bruises and bone fractures that don't require setting 
  • plantain, for poulticing bites or sunburn, and to help dull pain
  • echinacea purpurea tops, for adding to any other herbs to speed white blood count to the wounded area and help dull pain
  • clean cheesecloth or other gentle fabric, stored in a plastic bag to keep clean, for use with herbs in a poultice, or for simply pressing to staunch a wound.
  • Rapha Salve, clearly labeled with all ingredients and uses, for antiseptic antibiotic use on all broken skin wounds
  • Arnica Salve, clearly labeled with all ingredients and uses, for anti-inflammatory use on bumps and bruises but not broken skin
    (use plastic or metal containers for all salves, to avoid another crisis in case of a broken glass salve jar)
  • a small bottle of children's acetaminophen (paracetemol) chewables, with a child safe lid, for quick use after nasty knocks etc.
  • a sturdy plastic cup for any type of use needed, even if just to give the upset child a distracting drink of water while cleaning a wound

  • all other pain medication, antibiotics, etc 
  • cinnamon sticks, for another form of child distraction if needed 
  • cough and cold medicines and tinctures 
  • essential oils 
  • sunburn cures 
  • all other types of non-emergency sterile equipment or tools, such as blood pressure machine or ankle brace 
 I keep all my "Essential" kit in one box together, and my "optional" items are stored elsewhere, some in one other easy grab box, and my essential oils live in the kitchen cupboard next to my homemade  tinctures and teas. In the case of a true emergency, however large or small, I have to act efficiently and I only want to dive through a few things before I find what I need. Even small emergencies are so much more urgent and dramatic when a small child is hurt and crying, so parents and guardians especially would be sensible to divide up emergency supplies in this manner.

Yes, I do have a large apothecary. However, while I know I can find what I need relatively quickly in an emergency, my husband would have a harder time digging through, even after being told exactly what to find. The small amount of herbs in the essential First Aid kit are there, and clearly labeled in non-breakable spice tubs, so that finding a cure is made as simple as possible for him. The herbal salves are used just like regular antibiotic ointments or bruise creams, but since the dried herbs require just a little more know-how I have also taped an index card with a few short descriptions of each herb on the inside of the box lid.

What changes or additions would you make to your household essential first aid kit?

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