Hand sanitizers, medical masks and thermometers are some of the products flying off the shelf as people stock up in reaction to a worsening outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. You might have to brave long lines and empty shelves looking for these items that you should already have in your emergency medical kits.
The ready-made first aid kits that you can buy at the store or online are packed with the basic items needed during a regular first aid emergency situation. But, they are not prepared for pandemics, so you’ll need to make sure that your kit has what will come in handy during a viral health situation like bird flu, Ebola, or coronavirus.
Every first aid kit should have at least the basics when you buy it – but you can build onto that kit by adding what it’s lacking. You can find some first aid kits that are specifically built for pandemic use – or you can just create it yourself by adding items one or two at a time.
You want to start out by making sure your kit has at least a week’s supply of the prescription medications that every family member uses on a regular basis. Don’t forget to add medicines to treat allergic reactions since this can spring up without warning.
Your kit should also have a list of numbers that you can reach out to in case of an emergency. You’ll need a flashlight and fresh batteries in the kit. These items are necessities because you don’t want to try to administer first aid treatment to someone when you’re in the dark.
In the kit, you need sterile dressings that are big enough to cover large wounds. But you also want to have a hardy supply of bandages in assorted sizes. Plus, you’ll need medical tape to put on the dressings so they’ll stay in place.
Antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone ointment and alcohol wipes are staples that should be in every kit. Pain medication should be the kit as well. You’ll want a thermal blanket to use to protect the injured from cold, to cover them from bad weather or to wrap around them in the even that they’re in shock from the injury.
You’ll want a mouth shield in case you have to give CPR to someone. During a pandemic, you may not know if the person you’re treating is disease or virus free, so you’ll need to protect yourself as you’re giving CPR.
For that same reason, you’ll need a supply of gloves, facemasks, biohazard bags and a way to protect your clothing from being contaminated. There should be a pair of scissors in the kit that are strong enough to cut through clothing.
Hand hygiene is important to help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy. Washing your hands often is recommended, but if access to soap and water is not available, you’ll want some hand sanitizer to minimize getting and spreading germs.
You’ll need a supply of anti-diarrhea medicine to treat that ailment along with medications that can ease nausea. Don’t forget to plan for dental emergencies in your kit. Have a supply of topical gel to relieve toothaches.
You can find supplies that can help you temporarily pack a cavity to relieve pain, too. Most importantly, if you’re dealing with a disease where fevers are an issue, invest in fever reducers and items to help you keep hydration levels stable.
With the current COVID-19 coronavirus scare, now would be a good time to review your first aid supplies and make sure your kit is ready for a pandemic outbreak.