Aug 24, 2021 | Samuel Albert
photo by Roger Brown/pexels
A basic first aid kit is the first line of defense against kitchen injuries and mishaps. Unfortunately, accidents can happen to everyone, even for careful people like us. Busy morning hours and careless handling are two of the main contributing factors.
The best kitchen first aid kit is the one that provides instant care in multiple scenarios. Be prepared for any injury from cuts, burns, slips, hot spills, and the onset of symptoms like irritation, dizziness, and allergies. Also, consider the family members’ age group, their medical history, and environmental factors for considering the assembly of the kitchen first aid kit.
What to Consider Before Buying or Making a Kitchen First Aid Kit?
Although you might share your location with a few others, your family might have a unique medical history. Thus, your first aid kit should be able to cater to family-specific issues in addition to the common ones. Here’s what you should factor in while planning the kit’s contents.
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Medical History: Some medical issues and allergies can cause emergencies. Thus, it would be best if you kept supplies for immediate treatment in such cases.
Age Groups: Kids could face a diverse range of problems as compared to adults. The same goes true for elders too. Take a note of the mixed age groups in the house and the issues that they might encounter. For example, kids are more prone to cuts and scratches. At the same time, elders need immediate medical supplies for emergencies like heart attack, stroke, falls, etc.
Geography: Environmental dangers vary with geographical locations. These could be related to mosquitoes, pests and animals, seasonal allergies, or local plantations. Here, understanding your environment will help you pack the right instant care supplies in the kit.
Well! In this article, we will be covering some essential first aid kit elements.
Essential Contents of a Kitchen First Aid Kit
Yes, we know we can’t predict what specific situation you or your family might face. But we can tell you the basic items you will need when you incur any common kitchen injuries. And here’s a list of what you should add to your kitchen first aid kit for different injuries and medical emergencies.
1. For Burns and Fires
How many times have you heard of people facing severe injuries or fatalities due to accidental fires in the house? While massive fires do make it to the limelight but those causing minor injuries don’t. And one can also experience burns from accidental contact with a hot plate or a utensil. So here’s what you should keep handy for any such occasions.
Fire Extinguisher: Cooking distraction is one of the leading causes of home fires making a fire extinguisher an essential part of the safety kit. Having a quality extinguisher and learning how to operate one could help you prevent a massive fire outbreak. You can ask for basic training from a local fire department. Also, put fire-safe cooking tips into practice to reduce the chances of a mishap in the first place.
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Sterile Dressing and Burn-Friendly Bandages: Imagine cooking in the kitchen, and your kid suddenly bumps into you. You might accidentally touch a hot utensil or a plate, getting a burn, and it is just one of the many causes that can lead to an injury. Quick access to sterile dressing, gauze, or roller bandage can help get the much-needed first aid treatment. In case of a burn, treat the affected area with cool water for a minimum of 10 minutes before covering it with a sterile dressing. Hydrocolloid bandages also work great as a first-aid solution to burns.
2. For Wounds (Cuts, Scratches)
This session covers the most at-home injuries, especially in the kitchen. For example, how many times have you by mistake partially cut your finger while cutting vegetables? Careless handling of a super sharp knife, cutting vegetables in a hurry, and preparing food during the rush hour are times that we are susceptible to cut injuries.
Tweezers: Did you ever break a glass and then tried to pick up its small pieces? If yes, you might have experienced small shards cutting your finger and penetrating inside. That’s where tweezers turn out to be of use. Tweezers efficiently pull out those glass shards, or any other foreign particle lodged deep inside your skin. Once the wound is clear, cleansing and applying bandages are the next steps.
Antiseptic Solution: The immediate action for a wound or a laceration is cleaning and disinfecting it. This prevents the spread and progression of the infection to the surrounding healthy tissues. You can get numerous over-the-counter antiseptic ointments and creams. However, several items in your kitchen can also serve the purpose, like ginger, garlic, turmeric, onion, etc. Just make sure how you should use them before opting for one of them.
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Wound Cleanser Spray: This one’s an easier-to-use solution for cleaning and flushing cuts and scrapes. Add a wound cleansing spray to your kitchen first-aid kit and use it to clean the wound of dirt and debris. Besides cleansing, the saline solution also promotes healing. Moreover, it doesn’t have a complex medical formulation and only comprises sterile sodium chloride and purified water.
Antibiotic Cream: After cleaning the wound, you will need to apply an antibiotic over the affected area. Using an antibiotic cream enables the body to fight against active bacteria. Antibiotics are used against bacterial infections and are available in creams and other medication forms. You can get an over-the-counter cream from a medical store to add to your first-aid kit.
Aloe Vera Gel: Besides antibiotic creams, aloe vera gel also serves as an effective antibacterial agent. The plant has been in use for treating skin irritations, minor cuts, burns, and abrasions. It promotes wound healing due to the presence of vitamins and minerals. It enhances collagen (a protein that promotes wound healing) production with the glucomannan present in the gel.
On the affected area, apply a thin aloe vera layer directly or dress the wound with a bandage soaked in the gel.
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Finger Cots, Waterproof Band-Aid, and Knuckle Bandages: When you are the only one handling most of the cooking tasks, you can’t stay away from the kitchen. Using a regular bandage for slight cuts won’t hold firm against water, oil, and routine work. Waterproof Band-Aids and knuckle bandages, on the other hand, will help you keep working without further damaging the infected area.
Preventative alternatives you can use during cooking include kitchen gloves and finger cots. They provide extra protection for your hands during those cutting and slicing tasks.
3. For Slips and Spills
Ever had an unexpected fall in the kitchen? The main reason for this type of mishap is spills and slips. For example, if there’s water or oil spilled on the kitchen floor, you may slip over it and fall or bump into something. Although this can cause serious internal injuries, a first-aid treatment can help relieve pain and contain the damage.
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Ice Packs: Cold therapy is an excellent way of reducing pain and swelling. Even after all that care, sauce, water, or any other liquid may find its way to the kitchen floor. And this wet ground can easily cause a slipping hazard. In that situation, take out the ice pack and apply ice to the affected area as soon as possible. Applying ice is a quick remedy to control pain and reduce swelling. You can also use a refrigerant gel ice pack for immediate relief.
Baking Soda: Another way that spills can cause a disaster is by igniting a fire. Do they? But how? Consider grease. When boiling, frying, or simmering, there are possible chances of spilling some around the stovetop. The spill could cause small flames. Panicking won’t help here, and you should turn off the burner at first. However, if the grease spreads outside the cooking pan, sprinkling baking soda on the ignited area can help kill the fire.
Now you know how a small spill can be dangerous and what you can do to prevent a mishap with a readily available kitchen ingredient.
4. For Allergies and Irritations
When we referred to medical history, this was the section that we aimed for. You might find your kid or another family member allergic to something in the kitchen. Or there could be chances that you already know about one but forgot, and the person gets an allergic reaction. Instead of rushing straight to a doctor, you can use your first-aid kit for the first line of treatment.
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Saline Eye Solution: Working in the kitchen can be fun until a flying grain of pepper or salt lands into your eye. It would be more irritating if it’s a grain of spicy pepper. Keeping a saline eye solution at an easy reach in the kitchen will help you get rid of the irritation and get back to the cooking. Immediately rinsing your eyes with the solution also works if you accidentally get any unpleasant liquid into your eyes.
Antihistamine Tablets: Another reason for irritation while being in the kitchen could be an allergy to something close at hand. Get some over-the-counter anti-allergic medicines to counter such a situation. Most common medications include antihistamine tablets. So, keep in mind to buy a strip of these tablets when you are out shopping.
However, first-aid treatment can be given to only people who have low to mild allergy symptoms. The person exhibiting a severe reaction to food, or another item should be rushed immediately to the hospital.
5. For Pain Relief
As already stated, slips and bumps in the kitchen can cause pain, but those are not the only reasons. You might, in addition, suffer from headaches, muscle strains, sprains, or general aches while cooking. So, when you are still required to work in the kitchen, you can take painkillers to get some relief. Over-the-counter pain medicines can be used for instant relief, and you can get these filled easily from any medical store.
6. Other Items
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Besides the list above, several items come in as additional support to providing the first aid treatment. You can add the following to your kitchen first aid kit for emergency use:
- First aid manual
- Cotton balls
- Face masks
- Lubricants such as petroleum jelly
- Examination gloves
Tips for Effective Kitchen First Aid Treatment
Always Use Hand Sanitizer: You might have a stock of sanitizers from that pandemic shopping in your store. You shouldn’t avoid using them even after the situation gets normal. It is highly recommended to use sanitizers before and after working in the kitchen to prevent cross-contamination. However, before/after attending to infection, using the sanitizer prevents infection spread and ensures quicker healing.
Stop Bleeding First: Blood loss can be dangerous. Thus, if anyone happens to bleed from a cut, get a kitchen towel or use your hands to apply pressure to stop the bleed and close the wound. Pressing firmly on the opening area for around 5 seconds could be enough to arrest the bleeding. Then, you can proceed with cleansing and bandaging parts.
React Quickly to Burns: Wait! Quick doesn’t mean panic. For any skin burn, place it under cool water and get a cold compress from the kit in the meantime. This act would help ease the pain, cool the area, and avoid the occurrence of blisters. Even if any blister appears, don’t pop it.
Never Underestimate Injury Severity: Although applying these first-aid treatments will seem to cure the problem, you shouldn’t miss visiting a doctor. In many cases, it merely serves as a symptom suppressor, and it gives you enough time to get the required medical attention.
Store the First Aid Kit at Easy Reach
There’s no use in making a first-aid kit if you can’t reach it on time. So after you assemble one, look for a place that you and other family members can easily access. A quick way of resolving this issue is by being proactive and thinking about areas prone to accidents/emergencies. However, it would help if you also tried to keep it safe from younger children who might not know how to use it. In short, the storage place should be quickly accessible by responsible members of the family to tackle emergency medical needs.