It’s dinner time! You’ve got your recipe out. The veggies have been washed. You’re busy chopping them to go into the dish when suddenly, the knife slips and ouch!
It’s a common accident. One of many that can happen in a moment’s notice and luckily doesn’t typically warrant a trip to urgent care, or worse, the ER. But, the injury still needs to be tended to. Where’s the first aid kit and better yet, is it filled with the essentials?
Follow this simple guide to make sure you’re prepared for whatever life’s mishaps get thrown your way. And remember, you may even be able to use the funds in your flexible spending account (FSA) to purchase these items.
Before getting started: A quick FSA refresher
What is a flexible spending account (FSA)?
Flexible spending accounts are used to pay for eligible medical, dental and vision expenses that aren't covered by insurance. They're typically available through your employer health plan and funds don't roll over to the next year.
Each year, you can determine how much you want to contribute to your FSA. This money is available on day one of the plan year and is automatically deducted pre-tax. Similar to health savings accounts, the Internal Revenue Service sets limits Opens PDF on how much employees can contribute to their FSA and what you can purchase with the money.
You can view your FSA funds by visiting myWellmark® Opens New Window or through the company your employer uses to administer your FSA.
Better to be overprepared than left using paper towels and scotch tape
Depending on your household, your first aid kit needs will vary. If you have little kids, you might need more band aids — and they might need to display the face of a favorite character. If you have seniors at home, you might need a blood pressure cuff. It all depends on your unique situation, but this will give you an idea of what to have on hand.
First aid kit basics
The American Red Cross External Site recommends having the following basics in your first aid kit. The amounts suggested are based on a family of four. It’s a great idea to have a first aid kit in your home and in the car. You can purchase pre-made first aid kits or assemble your own. If you’re planning to use FSA dollars to stock your kit, make sure to double check that everything qualifies as a medical expense External Site.
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 emergency blanket
- 1 breathing barrier External Site (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
- 1 3-inch gauze roll (roller) bandage
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 3 x 3-inch sterile gauze pads
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- A thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
- 2 triangular bandages
Additional items for your first aid kit
Again, depending on your household, you may need to have a few more items on-hand. These could include:
- Blood pressure monitor External Site
- Calamine lotion
- Antiseptic solution (hydrogen peroxide)
- Sunburn relief gel or spray
- Throat lozenges
- Lubricating eye drops
- Diarrhea medication
- Antacid tablets
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizer
- A first-aid manual Opens PDF
- Flashlight with extra batteries
We all know accidents happen and when they do, everyone in the house should know where the fist aid kit is and be able to get it easily. It’s also a great idea to have a plan External Site should a real emergency happen and talk to kids about how and when to call 911.
For more information on emergency preparedness, the American Red Cross External Site has helpful resources.