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How to put together a DIY first aid kit for under $20

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As the weather warms up a lot more of us will be heading to the great outdoors, or even just out into the garden to enjoy the sunshine.

Many people will venture to exotic and sometimes remote locations on summer holidays.

Here are a few things that should be in everyone’s summer first aid kit

  • Rehydration salts ($4 for 5 sachets) – can be used to treat dehydration from vomiting/ diarrhoea, a big night or as part of the treatment for heat stress or stroke.
  • Sterile Saline (approx. $3 for 5 10mls ampoules) – for flushing eye injuries from burns or a foreign object or to clean cuts or grazes.
  • CPR face shield ($2) – in order to provide safe breaths as part of CPR in the event of drowning, cardiac arrest or sudden collapse.
  • Crepe bandage ($2) – for sprains, fractures, snakebites or bleeding.
  • Triangular bandages ($1) – for bleeding, head wounds or turn it into a sling.
  • Gloves (0.50c) – it’s important to protect yourself first.
  • Thermal blanket ($1) – to protect against excessive heat loss in hypothermia, drowning or as the weather cools down at night.
  • Combine dressing ($1) – use it with a bandage to control bleeding.
  • Band-Aids ($1 for 10) – for all those minor cuts and grazes.
  • Instant ice pack – ($2.50) (total $19) – for soft tissue injuries; strains or sprains.

A few things to grab from around the house

  • Plastic bags (cheap emesis bags, rubbish bags and rain covers).
  • Pen and note pad – record essential details.
  • Water in bottle (treat burns, heatstroke or dehydration).

Always remember

  • Tell someone where you are going ad when you expect to be back (especially in remote locations).
  • Call for help early in an emergency (often it may take a long while to get to you).
  • Get the knowledge to use the equipment properly – consider enrolling in a first aid course.
  • Always supervise children in pools and waterways – drowning is silent and quick.

A few tips on saving money

  • Shop around and consider online.
  • Dressings are often expensive – consider buying a basic first aid kit with the dressings in it and add to it.
  • You don’t need names brands of everything – in an emergency you won’t care and you can save a significant amount of money that way.
Many of the prices come from comparing in store or online actual prices as of October 2017, consider any medical advice in this article as a guide and always seek medical advice when needed.

Written by Dr Rebecca Devitt

Dr Rebecca Devitt

Dr Rebecca Devitt is a pharmacist and doctor who lives and works in rural NSW with her husband Tim.

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