First Aid Tips

Basic knowledge of First Aid can be really useful when out and about.

We’ve heard and read about it a thousand times, if you are setting off on holiday whether it’s, walking, cycling, beaching or just day tripping, make sure you take a well-stocked first aid kit with you!

According to a recent survey, a staggering 80 per cent of us are not equipped to deal with minor medical emergencies in our own homes – let alone when we’re out and about taking a break.

This not only puts us and our families at risk, but it also means that we are making thousands of unnecessary emergency visits and calls to GP’s and emergency units for relatively minor, simple to treat conditions such as grazes, blisters and splinters.

The ultimate holiday first aid kit

‘Having a fully stocked first aid kit on hand can make all the difference when an accident happens, whether it’s in the home, on the road, on holiday or in the workplace,’ says Dr Lotte Newman, a St John Ambulance Medical Advisor.

‘The kit should be kept in a convenient location, with items being replaced immediately after they have been used. It’s also important to regularly check the kits to ensure that the appropriate items are not out of date. Coupled with a knowledge of first aid, using a first aid kit could mean the difference between life and death. ‘

Here is the NHS guide to what you need to include in the perfect holiday first aid kit.


These include Paracetamol, Aspirin and Junior syrup pain relief. Paracetamol is preferred by many doctors for a quick-acting, comprehensive pain relief suitable for fevers, colds, flu and muscle pain, but stick to

the prescribed dose on the packet. Aspirin can cause stomach irritation in some people and has been linked with Reyes Syndrome in some childhood illness. Children should be given junior preparations such as Calpol.

Check your painkillers have been stored in a clean, dry place and that the use by date has not expired. Don’t forget to pack a 5 ml dose spoon to administer children’s preparations. Feverfew and kava kava tincture is an excellent herbal remedy for headaches especially those caused by too much sun.  There are lots more Herbal remedies-for-children too!

Antiseptic solution or cream

The most well-known brands include Dettol Wound Wash, TCP and Savlon which

all contain germ killing agents for use on broken skin, bites and stings. Check your supply is in date and that the top is fastened properly to prevent contamination by bacteria. Apply using sterile cotton wool.

For minor cuts and grazes clean the wound and surrounding area using running water and use antiseptic to protect against infection. Apply a plaster or dressing when the wound is clean and dry.


These come in all shapes and sizes and do various jobs. You may like to include a selection.

FABRIC give long lasting protection with extra sticking power.

WATERPROOF let air in but keep water and germs out.

HYPOALLERGENIC are suitable for sensitive skins and are easy to remove.

HAEMOSTATIC plasters help to stop bleeding and promote clotting of blood.

CUSHIONED provide protection against knocks and bumps.

BLISTER PLASTERS are specially made to help blisters heal. To use, ensure blister area is clean and dry and apply centrally – if the blister doesn’t heal, becomes infected or bleeds continually, seek medical attention.


HYDROCOLLOID DRESSINGS are good for minorcuts and grazes which are weeping or bleeding. They are specially designed to absorb excess fluid.

WATERPROOF FILM DRESSINGS are clear dressings for wounds which are dry, useful because they are transparent and you can monitor healing progress

SKIN CLOSURES are thin sticky antiseptic strips which hold together the edges of deep cuts and grazes. If cuts and grazes are minor and the bleeding is under control, clean under cold running water, apply antiseptic and apply plaster or dressing once the area is dry. Minor burns and scalds should be cooled rapidly under cold running water for ten minutes. Cover with sterile non fluffy dressing.


Well-known brands include Piriton and Zirtec and can give fast acting relief against mild allergic re-actions such as hay fever with symptoms including sneezing, itching watery eyes and runny nose. One tablet gives 24 hour relief and is suitable for children over six.

Antiseptic pain relieving spray

These contain mild, fast acting local anaesthetic and is useful for relieving minor burns, bites , stings and grazes.


The traditional glass stick varieties are cheap, but can be difficult to read, especially in the middle of the night. Newer varieties include sticky strip forehead thermometers which are good for taking the temperatures of babies and young children and easy-to-read digital ear thermometers which give clear accurate results within one second. Normal body temperature is 37 degrees centigrade and a fever is defined as anything over 38 degrees.

Latex gloves

If you are giving someone first aid it is essential to protect yourself from infection via blood and vomit. Keep a pair handy in the car.


These are surprisingly useful for removing small pieces of wood, metal or glass

stuck in the body. Clean the area then use the tweezers to pull out the splinter.

Squeeze the wound gently, clean and apply a plaster. If you are unable to remove the splinter seek medical advice.

Crepe and support bandages

These are very useful for strains and sprains. Rest the limb and elevate slightly. Apply an ice compress and use a crepe bandage or pull over support bandage to help reduce swelling. Apply Arnica Cream to reducing bruising and inflammation.

Re-hydration solution

Sachets of re-hydration mixture, containing a blend of salts and sugars can be mixed with water and drunk

in cases of sickness and diarrhoea.

Travel sickness pills

Popular brands include Kwells and Kalms. There are also travel band bracelets now available which work on an anti-nausea pressure points on the wrist and are useful for drivers as they have no drowsy side-effects. Ginger is a great natural remedy for motion sickness. Grate cubes of fresh ginger and wrap in cling film to chew during a journey, or simply nibble a ginger biscuit.

Sharp scissors and safety pins

Don’t forget to keep a pair of clean, sharp scissors for cutting bandages or gauze to size.  Or for cutting hair or clothing from around a cut.  The safety pins will help secure bandages.

Various and recommended kits:

St Johns Ambulance and Boots have introduced a Children’s First Aid Kit


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