The ultimate holiday first aid kit

If you are setting off on holiday whether it’s, walking, cycling, going to the beach or just a day trip, make sure you take a well stocked first aid kit with you. Below are some of the essential items we recommend to take in your First Aid kit to keep you and your family safe

‘Having a fully stocked first aid kit on hand can make all the difference when a minor accident happens, whether it’s in the home, on the road, on holiday or in the workplace,’

…says Dr Lotte Newman, a St John Ambulance Medical Advisor.

‘The kit should be kept in a convenient location, with items being replaced immediately after they have been used. It’s also important to regularly check the kits to ensure that the appropriate items are not out of date. Coupled with a knowledge of first aid, using a first aid kit could mean the difference between life and death.’

Here is a guide to what you need to include in the perfect holiday first aid kit.

Thermometer

Normal body temperature is 37 degrees centigrade and a fever is defined as anything over 38 degrees. Digital thermometers are fast and accurate.

Antiseptic solution or cleaning wipes

The most well-known brands include Dettol Wound Wash, TCP and Savlon which all contain germ killing agents for use on broken skin, bites and stings. Check your supply is in date and that the top is fastened properly to prevent contamination by bacteria. Apply using sterile cotton wool.
For minor cuts and grazes clean the wound and surrounding area using running water and use antiseptic to protect against infection. Apply a plaster or dressing when the wound is clean and dry.

Eye wash

Individual pods are best because larger packs can get infected once opened. Break the seal and squeeze the vial to allow solution to flow across the eye.

Plasters

These come in all shapes and sizes and do various jobs. You may like to include a selection.

WATERPROOF let air in but keep water and germs out.

HYPOALLERGENIC are suitable for sensitive skins and are easy to remove.

HAEMOSTATIC plasters help to stop bleeding and promote clotting of blood.

CUSHIONED provide protection against knocks and bumps.

Dressings

HYDROCOLLOID DRESSINGS are good for minor cuts and grazes which are weeping or bleeding. They are specially designed to absorb excess fluid.

WATERPROOF FILM DRESSINGS are clear dressings for wounds which are dry,useful because they are transparent and you can monitor healing progress

SKIN CLOSURES are thin sticky antiseptic strips which hold together theedges of deep cuts and grazes.
If cuts and grazes are minor and the bleeding is under control, clean under cold running water, apply antiseptic and apply plaster or dressing once the area is dry.

Minor burns and scalds should be cooled rapidly under coldrunning water for ten minutes. Cover with sterile nonfluffy dressing.

Antihistamines

Well-known brands include Piriton and Zirtec and can give fast acting relief against mild allergic re-actions such as hay fever with symptoms including sneezing, itching watery eyes and runny nose. One tablet gives 24 hour relief and is suitable for children over six.

Antiseptic pain relieving spray

These contain mild, fast acting local anaesthetic and is useful for relieving minor burns, bites , stings and grazes.

Latex gloves

If you are giving someone first aid it is essential to protect yourself from infection via blood and vomit. Keep a pair handy in the car.

Tweezers

These are surprisingly useful for removing small pieces of wood, metal or glass stuck in the body. Clean the area then use the tweezers to pull out the splinter. Squeeze the wound gently, clean and apply a plaster. If you are unable to remove the splinter seek medical advice.

Crepe and support bandages

These are very useful for strains and sprains. Rest the limb and elevate slightly. Apply an ice compress and use a crepe bandage or pull over support bandage to help reduce swelling.
Apply Arnica Cream to reducing bruising and inflammation.

Painkillers

These include Paracetamol, Aspirin and Junior syrup pain relief. Paracetamol is preferred by many doctors for a quick-acting, comprehensive pain relief suitable for fevers, colds, flu and muscle pain, but stick to the prescribed dose on the packet. Children should be given junior preparations such as Calpol. Check your painkillers have been stored in a clean, dry place and that the use by date has not expired. Don’t forget to pack a 5 ml dose spoon to administer children’s preparations. Feverfew and kava kava tincture is an excellent herbal remedy for headaches especially those caused by too much sun.

Re-hydration solution

Sachets of re-hydration mixture, containing a blend of salts and sugars can be mixed with water and drunk in cases of sickness and diarrhoea.

Travel sickness pills

Popular brands include Quells and Kalms. There are also travel band bracelets now available which work on an anti-nausea pressure points on the wrist and are useful for drivers as they have no drowsy side-effects. Ginger is a great natural remedy for motion sickness. Grate cubes of fresh ginger and wrap in cling film to chew during a journey, or simply nibble a ginger biscuit.

Don’t forget to keep a pair of clean sharp scissors and safety pins inside your first aid box so they are there when you need them.

Finally, don’t hesitate to get urgent medical help if the person has:

  • Stopped breathing.
  • Is unconscious and if their lips are going blue.
  • Has a deep wound, or is bleeding badly
  • Has a serious burn or chemicals in their eyes.
  • Consumed something poisonous.
  • Broken a bone.
  • Been bitten by an animal or snake.
  • Punctured an eye or ear.