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

        • sakshi says:

          i love you

      • Kate says:

        Use it all the time. The Doctor said that the glue they used at the hospital was the same as regular superglue except it was coloured purple so they could see it better, to make sure it was covering the would properly.

        • Kate says:

          *wound properly

      • Jughead920 says:

        Stings no worse that alcohol, I had my dog cut his paw open once, while back packing, and had little option to use super glue. Worked great and he handled it well

    • 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…….

    • Debbie Maddox says:

      I have always heard that doing the superglue thing leads to cancerous issues.

      • Jonathan Doupe says:

        I certainly hope it’s not carcinogenic, and I very much doubt it. Reason being, I had a full ceramic hip replacement in 2009 when I was 38 at Wrightington Hospital (where the hip replacement was pioneered by Mr Charnley). It’s the centre of excellence for the western world. Anyway back to the point, my incision was super glued up all 10″ of it or so, bar two stitches, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the incision. The scar is like somebody made a line with a red ball point pen, virtually non existent compared to the others left by my local hospital after 3 other ops on my hips, and they have had the best part of 30 years to heal and disappear, so yes, Superglue is an excellent addition for a first aid kit when used correctly.

    • Joe F. says:

      literature summary of this issue from”wise guy website”:
      Using superglue to close a wound is possible, but not advisable. While using glue that you can buy in the store to close a wound would work, it also may produce extreme skin irritation and skin death when purchased in over-the-counter form. There are medical superglues that are often used in place of stitches to close certain types of wounds.

      Superglue is made of a substance called cyanoacrylate. When it comes into contact with liquids like water, it forms a plastic mesh that will keep skin, or anything someone wants glued, neatly bonded together. Regular superglue has methyl alcohol, however, which creates heat in order to produce the bonding effect. Using this type of glue to close a wound in deep tissue could result in killing some of the surrounding skin cells.

      It is true that the US military used superglue to close wounds during the Vietnam War. Most of the studies of problems resulting from use were recorded during this time. It is likely that doctors did save many lives with this procedure, however, because it gave them time to transport patients to M.A.S.H. units where they could have needed surgery.

  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.

    • Ben says:

      A BP cuff is pointless if you don’t know what the information means or how to solve that problem.

  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.

      • Debbie Maddox says:

        Build the immune system with whole foods and essential oils stock essential oils therapeutic.

        • abnormalist says:

          Let me be the first here to say

          You are an idiot

          “essential” oils are snake oil, and while “whole” foods dont hurt you, they are in no way a replacement for actual medical care or medication. Please keep this hippy dippy crap to places that wont actually affect other peoples lives.

          • D. Masters says:

            What nonsense. Food was the first medicine known to man. Modern medical care is what is used when the body/being is sick and at dis-ease. If one is sick it is because that have not been in good health to start with; the notion that if you are sick, you have messed up some how. True health is predicated upon the ability to a.) block disease, b.)prevent disease from taking hold and c.) get rid of disease quickly if it takes hold. This is accomplished by having a strong, fit and integrated vessel in the first place. The food one eats, the things one puts into one’s body effects all of this. Herbs and essential oils work and are real and pre-date modern medical by several thousand years and is in fact the first ‘medicine’. Do you really think that pharmaceutical companies actually come up with these medicines chemically alone? They don’t. The essential compound come from the rain forest. So if you think that you can eat fast food frequently and live healthy you are wrong.

          • rick says:

            Food is not medicine, it’s not a wonder drug. If that was a fact, people would have never died before modern medicine. The story in which you tell is like abnormalist said, snake oil salesman. If all we need to do is eat “healthy ” foods, no Medicine would ever be need. I will say certain foods will mess with some people’s health but I wouldn’t recommend the ” junk food is satan ” routine of whole foods. If that’s all you ever needed was essential oils; cancer, MS, polio, etc wouldn’t exist, and that’s just a load of bull pucky.

    • 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.

      • Corey says:

        There have been studies as long as it is in a SEALED package, it has up to 95% potency after 40 YEARS.

  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.

      • LJ Morales says:

        This is so true and funny – always a good idea to keep your eye
        on the BIGGER PICTURE and don’t sweat the small stuff.

        I have YUNNAI PAIYAO in my emergency kit – it is a Chinese Herb used to stop the bleeding, pain and swelling immediately. Comes in little ball pills or powder. This a life saver.

        Another herb is CURING PILLS for stomach problems.

        YIN CHIAO pills are great for balancing the system just when you begin to feel something coming on. Two compressed pills usually do the trick before bedtime.

        Ask for these at any Asian market or buy it online.

        A favorite homeopathic remedy is Oscillococcinum by Boiron.
        This too, is great to take just when a sore throat, flu or cold is coming on. Ten Tiny white pills wipe out that symptom so nothing continues to magnify into real discomfort. I take it before boarding a flight to ward off the air-borne germs that are flying around the cabin.

    • e says:

      not in florida it isn’t

    • Joe says:

      Really Bob ???????

  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 !

    • Ben says:

      You are incredibly right. And it doesn’t have to be rural, in the U.S. at least, only major metropolitan areas have a fully paid service. So cities and small counties with large populations (normally around cities). Your local fire department can provide very cheap or free education in first aid or basic medical care as well as access to smaller medical supplies like gauz and bandages. Highly suggested.

  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.

    • rezmut says:

      Pick up a copy of “Mountaneering Medicine” by Dr. Fred Darvill- it’s written for anybody with a reasonable amount of commen sense, and contains a list for a medical kit that is a great place to start.

  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.

      • Ben says:

        Just because this looks like a good place to put this…

        A myth about snake bites says to apply a turniqute. Dont. The bitten area will swell regardless and you can create larger problems such as burst blood vessels and killing tissues. The best thing like others have said is have the antivenom. When bitten the damage is done trying to keep it from spreading won’t help.

        This is in accordance with the Maryland State EMS Protocols 2015. In case you needed verification

  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?

    • Ben says:

      Activated charcoal is good for neutralizing ingested chemicals. Situations include: over doses on asprin, nyquill, etc. It wouldn’t be terrible to have but I wouldn’t make it a priority

  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.

    • Dude says:

      agreed the kit above is missing some basic bleeding control like tourniquets. Quik clot won’t help if you’re missing an arm.

      • Ben says:

        That is a very good point. I would also suggest learning how to make one with other medical supplies.

        Ex: two crevats (triangle bandage) and an object at least 6 inches long to tighten it with. Takes a minute to learn and could be helpful to know.

  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

    • anthony512 says:

      Lidocaine 2% can be prescribed by a doctor if he is willing to write the script. I explained it was for my end of the world kit, with a chuckle he wrote me a script of 10 little bottles. cost about 50 bucks 5 years ago. it does have a shelf life but last week I had to use some and it still going fine

    • Sc327 says:

      Amazon sells it. $19.99

  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

  31. jmae says:

    Antibiotics are available at pet supply stores and farm stores. You will have to calculate dosage so mark the bottle with dosage/weight ratios.

  32. emem emmanuel says:

    oral drip

  33. Andy says:

    I usually get wounded, so the most often used contents are band-aids, bandages, and gauzes. Not to include alcohol 70%/95% and antiseptic. I also stashed decent amount of paracetamols, vitamins, and electrolytes. In the equipment department, an X-acto knife, scissors, and gloves are always ready

    In a pinch, tea, honey, sugar, and salt would help a lot in upset GI tracts

  34. Tony O'Malley says:

    Great list and ideas. Where would be a cost-effective place to buy all these items in the UK?

  35. Mlb says:

    Tea tree oil, it’s an antibiotic, anti fungle,solvent, also good for bug bite, heck it’s good for just about everything

  36. Michelle says:

    I’m a paramedic. Carry quite a few items specific to my licence level. Also have many years of wound care and infection. Take advantage of first aid and higher levels of care classes if you can! Even volunteer to learn and help out with those around you who are giving wound care and learn the techniques. It’s all golden if you come to need it. Other than those mentioned in the article and comments, I also carry nebules of saline (15 ml) that are fantastic for flushing debris from wounds. Also a spray product called Seaclens for flushing and cleaning wounds. I carry lots of disposal nitrile gloves (LOTS), alcohol gel to use on them if I have to (good for starting fire in gauze as well), epinephrine and antihistamine (both tablets and liquid). Also carry some silver impregnated sterile gauze called Aquacel Silver which is the gold standard (no pun intended) to treat very much infected wounds. Expensive but an amazing product. Also use essential silver gel for smaller skin issues which works like a charm. Add in glucose tablets, and big band aids. In the field I never use small ones…go big or go home :). Also carry iv set ups etc etc but that’s more in my 911 kit.

  37. Joel says:

    What bag is in the picture?

  38. Ajay says:

    tampons are good for plugging puncture wounds

  39. Adam says:

    You’re missing anti-diarrhea pills. Might sound funny to some, but it can be debilitating when in the context of a serious illness.

  40. Chris Bay says:

    As simple as having some bandaid in your wallet helps in need when you are hiking. at least you will have something to put on when u get scratch or your hiking shoe starts acting up….

  41. Mary WIlson says:

    It is very helpful for hcctc school.

  42. Joe68 says:

    Spent a lot on gear and put kits together, even started a local unit!

    But then cancer slapped me and the wife hurt her back, decided to go old school!

    Easier to plan when you decide to defend what you’ve earned! Traded an extra pistol for a Remington 870, and we ain’t going anywhere!!

    Original plan was to keep people in their homes, where you have food, med supplies, etc…

    Then I got put in the hospital and it all went to crap.

    Point is, lots of folks aren’t physically able to bug out, and should consider staying there!

    What will you need if walmart is gone, not closed, GONE?

  43. Jughead920 says:

    You need tactical bacon… could save a life…

  44. geo says:

    Superglue is ridiculous guys!

    • Ben says:

      On the contrary my friend, any cut smaller then an inch it is magic. But after that you are right. From there it’s gauz and bandages, enjoy the scar.

  45. Susan says:

    I put in an arm brace to help stabilize injured wrist. Also,I have Vitamin D which is important for older people,to help keep bones strong.This is in addition to regular vitamins.

  46. Andrew Beattie says:

    I’ve added a Sawyer Extractor to my kit. It’s made to remove snake and spider venom, stings, splinters, and pretty much anything else you’d need to suck out of your skin. Comes with different heads for different sized wounds, and will even pop a pimple for you in a pinch. Pretty handy gadget, and beats the heck out of sucking snake venom out of a bite. It’s also designed to be used with one hand, which is a plus if you’re using it on yourself.

  47. Sara says:

    Not sure if anyone mentioned: bright headlamp (to see hands-free), mylar blanket (to keep the injured warm), penlight, fever cooling patch, transpore tape, salonpas pain relief patches, instant cold pack, children’s ibufrofen/tylenol (don’t need water to swallow), small plastic bag for garbage disposal (think bloody gauze).

  48. monish khan ansari says:

    Ors is very useful medicine in first ait treatment

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