30 Things you should have in your Medical First Aid Kits

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First Aid Kits are one of those preparedness items that people often neglect. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to get the same attention that things like survival knives, guns and bugout bags get. But when you think about it, a first aid kit is something that’s probably going to get more use than any other item in your survival stash.

Emergency Medical Kit Bag

A Way to Stop bleeding and Close wounds:

Every good medical kit should have items that can be used to help stop bleeding, close and protect cuts, and help prevent infection from setting in.

  • Duct Tape – Yes, duct tape. It can be a life saver when dealing with a cut or wound where medical help may be too far off to quickly reach. Duct tape can quickly and safely pull together an open wound, and can buy you time until you can reach medical help.
  • Butterfly Sutures – Another great way to close up small wounds is to use something know as a butterfly suture. These types of adhesive strips pull the edges of a small cut together in the same way as a doctor’s sutures.

When using duct tape or butterfly sutures to close a wound. Carefully clean the wound and wash out any foreign materials or debris. If you have some sort of antiseptic, apply it to the wound and dry the area. Start in the middle of the wound and apply strips to close the edges. Working your way towards the edges, gently bringing the two sides together and taping them shut.

Ways to Prevent Infection:

During a survival situation, where sanitation issues may become a problem, keeping your wounds clean and covered is extremely important. Infection can set in quickly, so you need to stay on top of any open wounds. That means it’s important to carry the following items:

  • Gauze
  • Adhesive wound dressings
  • Antibiotic ointments and creams
  • Broad spectrum oral Antibiotics – This may be difficult to come by since you need a prescription, but some doctors may be willing to prescribe them as a preventative measure if you’re going to be on an extended trip out in the wilderness. Erythromycin, Ciprofloxacin and Amoxicillin are all broad spectrum antibiotics.
  • Antiseptics and Disinfectants – Peroxide, Isopropyl Alcohol, PVP Iodine Ampules and Antiseptic wipes are all things that need to be in your kit.

Pain Management Items

Depending on you condition, pain can be a debilitating and even deadly thing if it causes you to lose hope or give up. Having a way to treat and manage pain, as well as decrease inflammation, is an important part of every emergency medical kit.

  • Aspirin, Tylenol or Ibuprofen
  • Codeine or some type of pain killer
  • Chemical Ice Bags
  • Lidocaine

Dealing with Allergies

Even if you don’t think you have allergies, there are certain things that can still cause an allergic reaction. In some cases, especially in people who have food allergies, allergens can cause life threatening anaphylaxis reactions that need to be treated immediately.

  • Antihistamine – Benadryl, otherwise known by its generic name Diphenhydramine HCl, is one of the best antihistamines on the market and is something that should be part of everyone’s kit.
  • Antihistamine creams
  • EpiPen or Epinephrine – For those with a life-threatening allergy, having an EpiPen with you at all times is essential. They can help stop an anaphylaxis reaction and buy you time until medical help arrives.

Items Specific to Your Unique Medical Needs

No one kit is right for every person. That’s why special attention needs to be put into developing a kit for yourself and your loved ones. I advise staying away from prepackaged kits, unless you’re using it as a foundation to build off of.

  • Make sure your kit is stocked with extra prescription medications if you have a medical condition that requires you to take medication.
  • OTC Meds – If you routinely take Over the Counter medications to treat conditions like arthritis, nausea, etc… make sure you have an ample supply in your kit.

Your Kit should also contain at least some of the following items:

  • Emergency dental kit
  • Sterile needles and surgical blades.
  • Splints – SAM and air splints
  • Quick Clot Gauze
  • Grooming and cleaning tools – Finger nail clippers, soap, Antiseptic wipes.
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Disposable thermometers
  • Disposable gloves
  • Sterile eyewash & eye dressings
  • Sunblock
  • Vaseline
  • Burn creams and dressings
  • Medical manuals and basic first aid instructions.

What do you have in your medical kit?


Responses to " 30 Things you should have in your Medical First Aid Kits " Please share your thoughts...

  1. Joe says:


  2. Pickdog says:

    Superglue is good for closing wounds.

    • Bill M says:

      Correct. Cyanocrylate was originally manufactured for closing surgeries.. until it was discovered that Doctors were getting stuck to the patients… one thing led to another.. Voila!.. Superglue

    • Katniss says:

      I’ve heard that works but I don’t want to try it.

      • Texas Rocks says:

        I have six children. All but one of them have been repaired by super glue. The first two went to the ER and the doctor cleaned the wound and glued it. We haven’t been back to the ER since. Now it’s almost like a badge of courage, the kids think it’s awesome that they get to use super glue on their cuts. It’s so easy to do my kids have done it themselves.

        • matt h says:

          I have been repaired by superglue 12 times and I am only 14 I even had 11 stitches in my toe

    • Finn says:

      only real worry with superglue is making certain you wash and clean the cut as well as you can. in an end-of-the-world scenario you dont want to have to deal with an infection on a closed wound if you can avoid it. always remember the small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol wipes, or at least good clean water and soap. before you glue it!

    • LMT says:

      Yes it is, BUT do not get near the eye….true story, at the ER, took my son for a cut above the eye, Doctor used “superglue” to close the cut and the glue dripped into his eye. Long story short, immediately took him to our Ophthalmologist and his eye was fine after being flushed for 1 hour, BUT he said that had we not gotten him in, the glue would have hardened and he would have lost his sight…….

  3. JimShyWolf says:

    All the above plus: B-P cuff, stethoscope; splints (made of 1/4″ mesh wire w/duct-taped edges; Neosporin (anti-bacterial); face masks; airway rebreather tube kit; mouthguard (for M2M); rubberized chest apron; alcohol wipes; mercurochrome iodide; emergency blanket; only one EMT field guide; a few other ‘small’ items too numerous to mention.

  4. vq5p9 says:

    Antibiotics have a pretty short shelf life. I think I would skip those.

    • Carter says:

      Plenty of natural antibiotics available for the INCH bag, Honey should be at the top of the list

      • Bryan Brouhard says:

        What is the INCH bag? Thx

        • jazmine barber says:

          yeah what is the inch bag

          • Brian says:

            INCH bag is an “Im Never Coming Home” bag I.N.C.H.

    • Zane says:

      Most anti-biotics such as amoxicillin, tetracycline, doxycycline, augmentin have a several year “best used by date” not to mention studies show that if stored properly they are good for several years afterwards. Get a good prepper book on emergency meds and look up fish antibiotics on eBay. Honey may be ok for cuts and burns but it’s not gonna help sepsis or cellulitis.

  5. Bob says:

    Also, it is a felony to possess medicine unless a government approved individual has written you an exemption.

    • Eric says:

      If we are at the point of needing survival gear/supplies/equipment, are we going to worry about getting arrested for posessing it? I would be more concerned with getting killed by someone who wants it.

    • e says:

      not in florida it isn’t

  6. scram says:

    If you live in a rural area, join the fire dept, and or ambulance dept. you’ll get a free education and learn absoulute invaluable info, techniques,and experience in fire fighting, rescue, and EMS..And, you’ll be doing the BEST thing for your community !

  7. Spec says:

    All that stuff is fine and dandy but you should get the knowledge to use it befor you buy it. First aid classes and CPR classes are nearly free through the red cross…Taking EMT classes at a comunity college would be very helpful.

    • clifton murphy says:

      and its usually free. you just need to join a volunteer rescue squad. I became a paramedic for absolutely no money. The rescue squad will “sponsor” you and the community college doesnt charge you.

    • thatguy says:

      Even if you dont know how to use it. just having it with you can save your own or someone elses life. Someone else might know how to use it or maybe you just figure it out bc people are dying

  8. tacoma boy says:

    Extra perscriptions you are taking.

  9. Melanie says:

    Hand sanitizer?

  10. Jim54 says:

    I would leave out the codeine phosphate.

  11. jay cee says:

    I am a trained nurse,Paramedic and combat medic (UK) so i carry a comprehensive kit. I would add tampons,panty liners heavy absorbency, which make great wound plugs like gauze, and dressings. They have many other uses too,tampons for fire starting. Petroleum jelly as a sealant,also added to cotton wool a long burn firestarter, steristrips and tinc benzoin for wounds, safety pins, potassium permanganate crystals (add to sugar firestarter),add to water purple dye signal, or antifungal for feet)

  12. jay cee says:

    small wooden tongue depressors (or popsicle type sticks)for finger splints, thermometer strip type, 4 triangular bandages minimum, 4 crepe support bandages,blister kit-molefoam, moleskin,occlusive dressing, plastic bags (can be used for sucking chest wound also)(if you dont have asherman seals etc),burn jel and dressings,(burns are common outdoors),2 pairs artery forceps 1 straight 1 curved many uses,1 needle holder forcep easier to suture if you know how,useful also for sewing repairs,Iodine and eye dropper (water purification), small lighter for sterilising needles, nitrile gloves at least 4 pairs, sterile plastic dressing forceps (tweezers) for wound cleaning using cotton balls or gauze swabs

    • rebelstomper says:

      Was an EMT for a time in the US, a 3m wound stapler may be a good investment when you can’t use sutures, i.e. on yourself without help.

  13. George says:

    The medical kit you describe is an excellent baseline of products that are needed. I have read some of the other comments and I agree with jay cee. The items described are a great complement to the baseline you describe. I believe that the superglue, stapler, and RX antibiotics. I think you have to prepare for minimum of 72 hours of emergency care.

  14. Carolyn says:

    What Medical Guide do you suggest?

    • rebelstomper says:

      Carolyn, that all depends on your skill level. Just a book won’t help if you have little or no hands on experience. So let’s say you start out with American Red Cross First Aid course and go from there. Then you can get into more advanced training and books. I.E. Medicine for Mountaineering, Emergency War Medicine, ect.

    • Tony says:

      Study your book. Shouldn’t have to pull it out when the emergency happens.

  15. ben says:

    I really suggest having a snake bite removal kit (I would put at LEAST 2 in my kit just depends on how much my pack weighs (They are not very heavy) I would like to have a bakers dozen)

    • Eric H says:

      Consensus by experts in wilderness medicine suggests that kits like the “extractor” do nothing to treat envenomations. The appropriate anti venom is the only definitive treatment….just don’t get bit again by it cause it only works once.

  16. STParamedic says:

    not going to lie, looking at this list its very comprehensive but a lot of this stuff is not really suitable for first aiders, and also i see a lot of stuff that wouldn’t be available without a prescription

    • EricM says:

      In the US only 3 of the items would need a prescription. Codeine, Epipen, and the antibiotics. There are plenty of OTC painkillers that would work in a pinch. An Epipen would be great, and if you or a family member have asthma or bee sting reations, you most likely have a prescription already. There are plenty of animal grade antibiotics on the market, but without knowing exactly what strain of infection you are dealing with it is kind of pointless, or possibly dangerous. Maybe learn how to run Gram stain tests and ID the bug and have a reference book to determine the proper antibiotic.

  17. Amus says:

    What about activated charcoal?

  18. 7H3 1337 J3573R says:

    In my med bag is almost everything as this one. But a few particular items I bring for not me but my friends and family. Contact casings and contact solution. As well as Witch Hazel. At my Wal*mart they have it there looking like Alcohol but in yellow not red, next to the Peroxide.

  19. Jerry says:

    I carry duct tape but its kept in my survival kit. Yes it can be helpful just will supper glue but I keep a blow out kit and a survival kit. I’m sure you could pare these down to one unit but prefer to keep them separate.

  20. Tom says:

    The first thing I added to my kit that I’ve NEVER seen anyone mention – a spare (cheap) pair of GLASSES! Just a pair of readers from the dollar store, but if I wouldn’t be able to do anything if I didn’t have my specs, and this way I can guarantee I’ll be able to see what I’m doing.

    • Gail says:

      You are SO right Tom! I keep several pairs of different strength in my FAK, as well as, extras for myself.

    • jt ohio says:

      Oddly, I have my old pair in my go bag, with clip on polarizedsunglasses. My thought, if something happens and I’m wearing my contacts, I have a few days before I’d be blind as a bat!!!!

  21. Daniel says:

    I see a lot of survival websites suggesting prescription painkillers and antibiotics, how is someone supposed to procure these? I’ve spoken to different doctors and telling them that I wanted them for a med kit wasn’t sufficient enough for a script.

    • Off Grid Survival says:

      The Antibiotics shouldn’t be a problem if you’re asking for them for emergency preparedness purposes, or your traveling on an extended backpacking trip in the wilderness or something of that nature. Since painkillers are a controlled substance in most areas, and are a big problem for law enforcement, (responsible) doctors will not write a prescription without a valid medical problem.

  22. J says:

    A quality torniquet soft wide or a cat TQ, Chest seals, reflective blanket.

  23. CAK says:

    A must have for me is a magnifying glass. This is extremely helpful with splinters, eye debris and getting the grit out of wounds.

  24. meera says:

    thankyou so much………..

  25. Robin says:

    Thank you for a great list and all of the comments with additional suggestions. I’m working on a mater list for our first aid kit and see several things that I’ve missed. Very helpful.

  26. Jon says:

    Always remember that knowldge is the best item in your kit. All the gear in the world is useless if you don’t know how to use it. Learn as much as you can, then prepare for the worst- for instance if you lost your kit and need a bandage; go for a pine tree. The sap works almost and well as glue on a wound and has some slight antiseptic and pain relieving properties.

  27. Dave says:

    Where in the world do you get such things like Lidocaine. It is a numbing agent for suturing wounds. If you had it you would also need a small needle and a sringe

  28. Juan says:

    You did not mention a reference medical/remedies/knowledge book. A tourniquet, a mirror for self-care, a permanent marker to write needed info. about the injury in case you have to leave, emergency blanket, matches, Q-tips, cotton balls, knife, razor blades, …

  29. G-Race says:

    Thanks Everyone, for all the suggestions

  30. hi says:

    a jaket or a coat

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