10 first aid essentials for your family holiday

Do you have these items in your first aid kit?
Do you have these items in your first aid kit?

With summer in full swing, chances are that lots of fun and adventures are on the cards for kids and adults alike.

However, it’s also a good time to make sure you have an up-to-date first aid kit for any scrapes, bruises and minor injuries, whether you are at home or away this summer.

Here are our top 10 first aid essentials:

Plasters: You need a variety of different sizes and shapes to cover cuts, and waterproof ones are a great idea if you’re planning on splashing around at the beach or in the pool.

Bandages: Perfect for twists and simple sprains. Pack triangular bandages and also crêpe rolled bandages. When applying a bandage, ensure it’s not too tight. A simple test is to press down on the skin, or a finger or toenail, below the area of the bandage. It will appear pale initially when you remove the pressure but the colour should return within a couple of seconds. If it doesn’t, the bandage is too tight and should be reapplied.

Tools: Don’t forget safety pins, scissors, tweezers (essential for taking out splinters and stings before they get infected) and sticky tape.

Thermometer: Preferably a digital one. Remember, the normal body temperature is 36.5 to 37.5 degrees Celsius. Anything above this could indicate a fever.

Creams: It’s always a good idea to have a few creams on standby. A simple antiseptic ointment can be useful for minor cuts and grazes as well as a cream or spray to apply to insect bites or stings. A mild steroid cream, hydrocortisone, can be bought without prescription and can be useful for rashes. A word of caution though, hydrocortisone should not be used on the face, or on children.

Pills: You will need painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), ibuprofen and maybe consider travel sickness pills. Antihistamine tablets (or liquid for children) are useful for mild allergic reactions, such as following an insect bite or for seasonal hay fever.

Antiseptic solution: You’ll recognise these as well-known brands such Dettol, TCP and Savlon, all of which contain germ killing agents for use on minor skin cuts and grazes, bites and stings.

Rehydration solution: Sachets of rehydration mixture, containing a blend of salts and sugars, can be mixed with water and drunk in cases of sickness and diarrhoea, and can be a great help in terms of getting people up and about again. Also useful for hiking.

Gloves: If you are giving someone first aid, be sure to protect yourself from infection via blood or vomit by wearing gloves. Some gloves contain latex, so if you have a latex allergy, get latex-free gloves instead.

First Aid Manual: Keep a manual handy of the most common injuries, such as burns, stings, cuts and breakages. Download the Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance apps to your mobile device so you have a handy guide to first aid on the go.

Have a great and safe holiday!

Dr Alexandra Phelan is a working NHS GP and member of the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service. Visit www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/onlinedoctor/ for further information.