By Angela Davis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The combination of great weather this week and a national holiday Thursday means many of us will be enjoying ourselves outdoors. But accidents happen, so make sure you have quick access to a few essential first aid supplies.

Mitch Peterka, a former EMT, is now an injury prevention specialist at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital.

“If you can just take a little bit of time to put all the items together, then you know all you have to look for is your brightly colored red bag,” he said.

Firstly, you will want to have gauze pads and non-adhesive dressings, lots of band aids, and anti-septic towelettes.

“Another thing you want to have is at least one pair of non-latex gloves. You may not think of this right away. You already have one injury on your hands and if you don’t take precautions to protect yourself, you could have a bigger case down the road,” Peterka said.

Peterka said the most common injuries come from falling.

“If your child is biking and they fall off and scuff knee, there is going to be dirt that is introduced, so you can use this to clean that out. Kill any germs that are in there,” Peterka said.

A pair to tweezers will help you pull out any debris. Ace bandages and a roll of gauze with medical tape are good to have.

Plus, it’s good to have instant cold packs for ankle or wrist sprains, or bumps to the head.

“Doesn’t have to be kept in a freezer. All you have to do, and I can show you, is to squeeze it. And then you can feel it. It’s cold. Instant. Seconds,” Peterka said.

Peterka recommended two types of creams to keep in your first aid kit; hydrocortisone for itching from bug bites and stings, and bacitracin ointment to kill germs.

Safety pins are good to have to hold together an improvised dressing. And a little pair of scissors to cut off a sock if there’s foot injury.

You should also include pain relievers like Tylenol and anti-inflammatory medications like Motrin.

The key is to have that first aid kit close by, so maybe keep one in a glove compartment of your car or van, another in your backpack if you are on a long bike ride or hike and another one inside your home.

Again, keep everything together in a bag or box, instead of having the items scattered about.


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