A few weeks ago I wrote a post about First Aid and how even in common household situations it is a good idea to have some basic First Aid supplies and knowledge on hand. It only takes a small slip with a chef’s knife for an evening cooking dinner to turn into a trip to the urgent care center or emergency room for stitches. Having the proper supplies on hand and knowing how to use them can sometimes save hundreds of dollars in doctor’s bills and insurance costs.
There are a few things that you can find in a kitchen pantry that might be useful for a First Aid situation, such as granulate sugar, which can be used to treat deep puncture wounds and gunshot wounds. The sugar creates osmotic pressure on the wound and can help stop bleeding as well as create an antibiotic seal. Sugar was used in the Napoleonic wars to help treat gunshot casualties on the field and it’s just as effective now as it was then. A diluted mixture of either bleach or distilled vinegar can also be used to clean minor wounds in lieu of commercial antibiotic and antiseptic solutions.
But, for the most part, the best thing for first aid that you’ll find in a kitchen pantry is going to be the first aid kit itself. And, since the Kitchen Pantry Survivalist is all about keeping cost down and pinching pennies wherever possible, I thought I’d show how a First Aid kit can be built from the ground up at the dollar store for a lot less than most commercially available kits.
- Basic Kit
For the basic kit I wanted to spend only $10 or less. The important thing for this kit is that it provide the necessary elements to handle minor day-to-day scrapes, cuts, and other similar injuries. This is where the mom or dad would turn when a child fell off a bike and scraped a knee or got a nasty splinter playing in the yard. The kit I built is pictured above and contains the following:
1 plastic shoe-box type container
1 roll waterproof tape
3-pak of hand sanitizer
10-pack gauze pad
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
1 rolled gauze (3″ x 2.5yds unstretched)
45 tablets diphenhydramine antihistamine
25 pack of adhesive waterproof bandages
1 pair tweezers
This kit, complete with the box to contain it, would cost $9 before taxes at the dollar store. With the supplies in this kit everything from a minor scrape to a decent size cut could be treated effectively. The only thing that isn’t really there is some form of aloe for burns, but that can easily be solved by keeping a live aloe plant.
- Expanded Kit
There is no small measure of irony in me writing on First Aid essentials. My wife would testify that I am possibly one of the most accident prone people on the planet and as a result most of my First Aid knowledge comes from first hand application. Knowing and embracing my own personal history of minor catastrophes ending in stitches, casts, braces, MRI’s, etc., I decided to show what a little extra money can purchase as well. The above pictured kit was also assembled at the dollar store and cost just $25.74 with tax included. I’ll state at the outset that there are two things missing from this kit…. a burn remedy and nitrile gloves. The burn remedy I explained above and I doubt nitrile gloves have made it to the dollar store yet. There are latex gloves at the dollar store, which would be better than nothing in an emergency, but there’s always the risk of a latex allergy causing complications.
The expanded kit contains the following:
2 elastic bandages
3 rolls of rolled gauze
20 gauze pads
55 adhesive bandages
20 knuckle and finger bandages
1 roll water proof tape
1 roll athletic tape
1 tube triple antibiotic ointment
3 small bottles of hand sanitizers
1 tube of hydrocortisone cream
10 face masks
1 pair tweezers
1 pair scissors
60 Asprin tabs (81mg)
10 Ibuprofen soft gels (200mg)
24 Acetaminophen caplets (500mg)
45 Diphenhydramine tablets (25mg)
60 Antacids (500mg)
1 plastic shoebox container
With this relatively inexpensive kit as a base, you can easily outfit any household for common to moderately severe injuries. If you want to go the extra mile, small additions like suture kits, quick cold packs, and a few other items, you can outfit this basic kit to be a full on trauma response kit. There will be another post down the road that outlines some strategies for augmenting a basic kit like the setup above to make it more versatile for true emergencies and traumatic injuries. Some of the necessary materials and equipment to make those kinds of augmentations can be expensive and I’ve found that purchasing them one at a time can spread the cost out and make it more affordable in the long run.
Whether you choose to start with a basic $10 set-up for minor scrapes and scratches, or you choose to dive in head-first into the market of mega-kits to outfit a small hospital, every home needs some form of First Aid supplies on hand. The fact is you just never know when a night cooking a nice Italian pasta dinner is going to turn into a trip to get a thumb stitched back together (yes, I’m speaking from personal experience…). And in those first few moments after an injury, having the proper supplies on hand to render First Aid can mean less time healing afterwards.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe!!!