Health Advocate Blog

Summer is an ideal time to update your first aid kit

The summer months bring lots of fun, but also have the potential to bring lots of injuries due to increased time outside in the sun, with the bugs, and being more active.  While preparing for your family to go away on vacation—or even just on a day trip—can be stressful and time-consuming, you’ll want to arm yourself with the essentials that can help you and your family have a safe trip.  Be prepared for sunburns, scrapes and more by creating or updating your first aid kit.  Below, check out our recommendations about what to include in your kit.

Summertime essentials:

  • Sunscreen, to guard against sunburn
  • Chapstick with sunscreen/SPF
  • Aloe, which is great for soothing sunburns
  • An anti-itch lotion such as Calamine in case you encounter poison ivy
  • Antihistamines to combat summer allergies
  • Eyedrops, to help with dry eyes brought on by allergies
  • A small magnifying glass that can help identify a tick on your skin
  • Tweezers, to remove foreign objects like ticks or splinters from a picnic table
  • Insect repellent, to keep away mosquitoes and other bitey bugs

Everyday essentials:

  • Several different sizes of bandages
  • Rubbing alcohol prep pads
  • Gauze
  • ACE wraps
  • A bandana that can be made into a quick sling
  • Small scissors
  • Latex gloves
  • Antibiotic ointment to use on cuts
  • Cotton balls
  • Hydrocortisone cream to help lessen skin irritations
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • A small bar of soap
  • An on-the-go cold pack that can be used to reduce inflammation
  • Contact information for all your doctors, including pediatricians, allergists, dentists, and other specialists.  Also include phone numbers for your local emergency service providers and a phone number to reach Poison Control.
  • A written list of all prescription medications you and your family members currently take; also note on this list which medications, if any, you or your family members are allergic to.
  • Any prescribed or over-the-counter medications your family regularly takes, including epinephrine/Epi-Pens, antacids, pain relievers, etc.

While you’re updating your first aid kit, don’t forget to check the expiration dates on any medications, creams, and other treatments that are already in your kit.  If you find expired items, dispose of them safely and replace them with items that have not expired.

Keep all your first aid kit materials in one container, like a duffel bag that zips closed, and make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight.  Keeping it in the trunk of your car might help keep it cooler and out of the sun.  Make sure everyone in your family knows where and how to access the first aid kit in case of an emergency.

Looking for ways to save money on the items in your first aid kit?  If you have a small family, consider scouring the travel aisle of your local drugstore for smaller-sized supplies, whose cost may be cheaper than buying a regular-sized item.  If you have a larger family, you could try a wholesale store like Costco or BJ’s—you’ll be buying in bulk, but you might get a better value buying a pack of three as opposed to one single item.

For more tips on how to save money on healthcare essentials, visit The Healthcare Survival Guide at