First Aid Kits: Don't Leave Home Without One

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By News Team on June 2, 2022

Accidents can happen any time and anywhere, and if you are exploring in the great outdoors, your safety and comfort depend on being prepared for any mishaps.

Karen Kuehl, M.D., is an Emergency Medicine physician at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. She's also a Wilderness Medicine expert.

As an an expedition doctor on Mt. Everest, she has seen her share of injuries in the wild. She advises everyone to always carry a fully stocked first aid kit, whether you are heading out on an extended camping trip or just going on a day hike.

Some of her top items for any first aid kit include:

  • Band-aids
  • Moleskin to prevent blisters
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Instant cold packs
  • An elastic compression bandage such as an ACE Bandage
  • Sunscreen
  • Any needed medications

“If anyone in your group takes a daily medication or might need a medication like an EpiPen, always make sure you have that with you,” she said.

Always let someone know exactly where you are going, what route you plan to take and how long you will be gone.

“It is also a good idea to make sure at least one other person in your party knows how to use or administer the medication.”

Another item that Dr. Kuehl always brings along is not exactly what you might think of as part of a first aid kit, but it is crucial in the event of an accident: a cell phone. Some wilderness areas won't have service, but it never hurts to always take along a fully charged phone.

Don't lose sight of your surroundings when you use your phone, though. Just like distracted driving, distracted hiking and water sports can have tragic results, so remember: safety before selfies!

Whether you expect to have cell service on your trip or not, Dr. Kuehl recommends that you always let someone know exactly where you are going, what route you plan to take and how long you will be gone.

And aside from having the first aid kit on hand and ready to go, everyone should learn some basic first aid. Visit or check to find a class near you.

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