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First Aid Kits Are Essential When Driving Abroad

By: Norman Thomson - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
First Aidkit Bandages Accidents

In some countries in Europe, learner drivers have to undertake training in first aid before they can obtain a drivers licence. The first few minutes after a road accident are important. Of course, emergency services cannot arrive on the scene immediately, so any first aid that can be given to casualties may be the difference between life and death. Of course, you do not have to be properly trained in first aid to use a simple first aid kit.

In some European countries, such as Austria, it is mandatory for a first aid kit to be carried in a vehicle. In most other countries, it is highly recommended. The tourist travelling to any foreign country should always carry a well-stocked first aid kit. Minor cuts and bruises happen all the time, not just as a result of road accidents. A trip or fall while getting out of a vehicle is not uncommon. In these circumstances, having a first aid kit handy is most advantageous. No one wants to be involved in a car accident, or witness an accident. However, they do happen and having some bandages and plasters may help to reduce blood loss in the early stages of an injury.

The Essentials of First Aid

So what should be carried in a first aid kit? Well, firstly it is important to realise what first aid is all about. The essential elements of first aid can be summed up by the ABC acronym: A is for airways; B is for breathing: and C is for circulation. There is probably little that can be carried in a first aid kit that will help treat blocked airways. Nor is there much that can be done to help people with breathing difficulties, other than position then comfortably and reassure them. Dealing with the A and B of first aid is where proper training is needed.

C is for circulation, and it is here that a first aid kit can be very useful. Blood loss can affect people very quickly. A simple clean bandage applied quickly can prevent unnecessary blood loss and can help the body's clotting process. it can also drastically reduce the risk of infection, which is probably the most important aspect of using a first aid kit. First aid kits therefore, should have a range of sterile bandages and adhesive tape. Most pharmacies sell bandages in a range of sizes, and usually these are sealed in foil wrappers, which help to keep them sterile. As well as bandages, it is a good idea to have some wound dressing pads and gauze swabs.

Buying First Aid Kits

First aid kits can be purchased from most pharmacies and stores that specialise in equipment for motoring. However, many of the kits contain items that should be used with caution. For example, many kits will come with cream for treating burns, but several first aid organisations stress the importance of not putting on creams when a person suffers a burn. Instead, the area should be covered with a sterile dressing so that it is kept clean and dry. Unless specifically trained, a person giving first aid should never attempt to ‘treat’ injuries. The aim of first aid is to help prevent further damage and infection, leaving treatment to the professionals.

Sometimes you might also find items such as cotton wool, tweezers and even a magnifying glass! Again, caution must be exercised with these items. Cotton wool will cling to wounds, making them difficult to clean later. Tweezers and magnifying glasses suggest prodding around open wounds, something that should never be undertaken, unless properly trained to do so. Even if there is foreign body visible in a wound, the best action is not to start poking around. Instead, a ring pad can be constructed with a bandage and secured in place with some tape. This will help keep the wound clean and dry.

So, the essentials of a first aid kit are:

  • A range of sealed bandages
  • Some adhesive tape
  • Scissors
  • A range of different plasters
  • Protective gloves. These should always be worn when administering first aid to an injured person
  • Antiseptic wipes are also useful to help reduce infection

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