Life Hacks | Did You Know

18 Items You Should Always Have In Your First Aid Kit But Probably Don't

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Emergencies happen without warning, and being prepared is the best way to ensure that you are able to help yourself or another person even before a doctor is able to treat them.

In addition to learning important live-saving maneuvers such as CPR, you should always keep a first aid kit in your home, vehicle and office.  

Of course, first aid kits come packed with all the supplies you would need in an emergency, however, there are some unexpected items that you should include because they could come in handy in the most surprising ways.

For instance, if you get stung by a bee, the stinger can be scrapped off using the edge of a plastic card, like a driver's license. This works better than tweezers, which could release the venom if you squeeze too hard.

Here are 18 more items you should always include in your first aid kit:

1. Tampons

Tampons aren't just for women on their period. You'll be thankful there's one around when you need to stop certain bleeding wounds and severe nosebleeds.

Instead of tilting your nose (you should never), keep it in a neutral position then use your fingers to pinch your nose shut for about 15 minutes. If the bleeding doesn't let up, insert a tampon and make your way to the nearest hospital.

Pick up a box of 50 unscented tampons for $2.99 here.

2. Condoms

Condoms aren't solely used as a contraceptive. The rim on the rubber can be used as a tourniquet to slow down or stop bleeding.

It may not work on all body parts, but it's perfect for fingers and toes. It can also be used to store water that can be used to irrigate a wound that contains debris.

You can snag a pack here.

3. Portable charger

There's nothing more terrifying than finding yourself in an emergency and not being able to call for help.

If you're going to be on the go a lot, keep a portable charger as well as an extra charging chord in your kit to act as back up for your phone.

This little gadget will be especially useful when you find yourself in a remote area with no access to an outlet or electricity.

Get a portable charger here.

4. Jell-O

You're probably thinking, "WTF would I need Jell-O for during an emergency?" Well, the sweet powder comes in handy when you need to remedy low blood sugar.

Jell-O mixed with water has plenty of sugar and electrolytes to help a person recover without causing dehydration, unlike soda or caffeine-based drinks.

Get a pack of Jell-O here.

5. Super glue

Super glue is for more than just repairing broken items around the house. It can be extremely useful in an emergency where you need to keep a small laceration closed, just ask Christopher Sampson, MD, an emergency physician at University of Missouri Health Care.

Dr. Sampson told Reader's Digest that he keeps "super glue to close tiny lacerations," adding, "It is similar to the glue we use in the emergency department."

Get a bottle of super glue here.

6. Duct tape

The household staple doubles as a first-aid item in many different ways. Duct tape can be used to create a pressure dressing to stop wounds from bleeding. It can also be used to splint a broken finger, arm or leg, and can even work as a sling.

Get a roll of duct tape here.

7. Aloe vera gel

You already know just how useful aloe vera gel can be for sunburns, so why not keep some in your first aid kit to treat other minor burns?

Just make sure to only use 100% pure aloe vera, which you can get right here.

8. Antiseptic wipes

One of the most common mistakes we make while treating minor cuts and scrapes is using rubbing alcohol to disinfect them.

The best way to clean the wound is by using water, then use an antiseptic to prevent infection.

Dynarex antiseptic towelettes are a great addition to your emergency kit, and unlike alcohol-based wipes, these do not sting.

Just make sure you aren't allergic to any of the ingredients before you use the towelettes.

Get it here.

9. Bottled Water

Of course, we should all avoid buying and using bottled water as much as possible to help with the reduction of plastic waste. However, you may want to keep a bottle or two around in case something goes wrong.

Clean water is incredibly useful in certain emergency situations, so having extra bottles of water with you when you plan to be away from home is a must.

In addition to wound irrigation, water can be used to remedy dehydration, treat small burns, and create a cool compress for small cuts. The water bottle can also be used as an eye flush by simply poking a hole on the top of the cap.

Click here to stock up on bottled water.

10. Benadryl

You can't always predict when an allergic reaction will happen, so having the right medication at all times is necessary.

While severe allergic reactions may need stronger medicines like an EpiPen followed by immediate medical attention, minor ones can be relieved with over-the-counter antihistamines.

There are dozens of brands that offer various forms of antihistamines, but always look for a fast-acting formula, like the Benadryl liquigels, which you can get here.

11. Cash

You just never know how money will come in handy when you're caught up in an emergency.

The spare bills and change you stash in your kit could be helpful in the event you're in an area where there is no cell reception and you need to use a payphone or to buy an item that you may have left out of your kit and need immediately.

12.   Trash bags

Trash bags can be used in a multitude of ways during an emergency. If you're outdoors and it happens to be raining or snowing, use a trash bag to cover your first aid kit as well as the injured area to protect it from the elements.

If you don't have a clean space for the injured person to lie down, you can place a garbage bag on the ground first. If you don't have a proper sling or duct tape, cut a garbage bag in strips and use it to fashion a sling.

Get garbage bags here.

13. Wooden ruler

If you're unable to get immediate medical attention after breaking a bone, a wooden ruler can be used to stabilize the fracture.

Just use it along with some bandages, duct tape or garbage bag strips to create a splint.

Get a ruler for under $2 here.

14. A towel

While those small gauze squares are helpful, sometimes they're not enough to stop certain bleeding wounds.

If a gash is too big, wrap a large, absorbent towel around it and apply pressure. Alternatively, you can just fold the towel several times, place it on the cut and apply direct pressure until you can get treated at a hospital.

Get it here.

15. Oral re-hydration salts

There are a number of common issues that could lead to dehydration, including heat-related emergencies, over-exertion and food poisoning.

Although you can use the aforementioned Jell-O trick or give the person an electrolyte-filled drink like Gatorade, oral re-hydration tablets will replenish fluids lost in a jiffy.

These tablets are especially formulated to not only help re-hydrate, but to ensure your body retains the electrolytes for a while.

Get it here.

16. A lighter

A lighter is essential for your first aid kit, especially if you're someone who spends a lot of time in the great outdoors.

Use it to start a fire, sterilize equipment, or as a light source during an emergency.

Get a pack of 5 lighters for just $7.

17. Bacitracin

Like anti-septic wipes, anti-bacterial ointment goes a long way when you need to treat a cut, scrape or burn.

Apply it on the wound after cleaning it with water to prevent infection

Get a box of 144 individual ointments here.

18. Stainless steel tweezers

Tweezers are for more than just plucking your eyebrows. If you find yourself in the middle of an emergency, tweezers can be used to remove splinters, shards of glass or other small objects that have found their way into a wound.

Get a pair of tweezers here.

How many of these items do you already keep in your emergency kit?

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Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.