First aid must haves for college students

One of the bad things about leaving home for college is that mom isn’t there any more to kiss your boo boos or provide first aid for you. Nope, big bad college students have to treat their own scrapes and cuts.

Simple first aid knowledge comes in handy for college students. (Credit: Meme Center)

Simple first aid knowledge comes in handy for college students. (Credit: Meme Center)

So what are the must have first aid tools that every dorm-bound individual needs? And are there any tips and tricks, aka life hacks, to spur on healing from the minor bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes that happen in life?

What’s in your first aid kit?

One way to ease mom and dad’s concerns when you are no longer under their roof is for them to know that you are prepared for all emergencies. A well-stocked first aid kit can help with that. In “Don’t Forget First Aid – Send Your Child to College Prepared,” a contributor to the blog MomsWhoThink offered suggestions for what college students must have in terms of first aid supplies, including:

Cuts, burns and scrapes:

  • Adhesive bandages  having a variety of shapes and sizes is a good idea. Go with flexible-fabric for the grown-up look, or grab kids’ character bandages for a fandom statement.
  • Non-stick gauze
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Aloe 

Sprains and strains:

  • Elastic bandage for wrapping injuries
  • Hot packs
  • Ice packs  consider getting the crush-to-activate type for easy storage 

Basic pain and irritation relief:

  • Acetaminophen (the generic name for Tylenol) and Ibuprofen
  • Antacids for indigestion
  • Benadryl for bug bites or allergies
  • Cough drops, sore throat lozenges and cough medications (but not anything with DMX or “tussin,” which may not be allowed on campus)

Don’t forget:

  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Thermometer
  • Eye wash

First aid life hacks

But what if you’ve misplaced your carefully prepared first aid kit? Eric Ravenscraft gave some tips and tricks in his June 26, 2013, post for lifehacker, “How to Treat Minor Injuries Without a First Aid Kit,” but with a caveat—“nothing stated here is an acceptable substitute or a replacement for having proper first aid gear and training. Treating burns, broken bones, or bleeding without proper equipment should be the backup of your backup of your backup plan.”

Minor cuts

  • Wash with clean water.
  • Place anything soft and absorbent AND CLEAN on the wound, such as paper towels, tampons or strips of clothing.
  • Use any kind of tape to adhere the padding; you can also tie a piece of cloth around the wound, but not so tight as to cut off circulation.

Soothe minor burns

  • Run burned area under cool water.
  • Wrap with something that won’t stick; again clean paper towels or cloth will do. 

If you have a serious cut, burn or broken bone it is important to seek medical attention at once. Ravenscraft also recommended downloading the Red Cross app that provides emergency first aid instructions and contact information.

Other first aid tips and tricks

Still looking for a few fun and easy life hacks to impress friends with your MacGyver-esque skills? Users on LifeTricks have posted some ideas in their “First Aid Treatment” category.

  • Paper cut? Apply some chapstick to heal that right up.
  • Splinter? Spread glue over the splinter, let it dry and peel it off.
  • Minor burn? Apply mustard to take the heat away, while numbing it. Or try honey—it is antibacterial, will keep the skin moist and provides a barrier to prevent infection.
  • In pain? Sometimes looking away and breathing normally can help. Remember this the next time you need a shot or are having blood drawn.
  • Cut or scrape? Sprinkle the area with turmeric, which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
  • Something in your eye? Fill a bowl, big enough to fit your face, with water. Put your face in and open your eyes.
  • Bee sting? Place a cut onion on the affected area. An ingredient in the onion will break down the chemical that causes the swelling and pain.
  • Burned your tongue? Put sugar on it to cool it down.
  • Got a headache? Place your hands and feet in warm water and apply an ice pack to the back of your neck and head.
  • Motion sick? Suck on a lemon or eat olives to reduce the excess saliva that comes from motion sickness. If you are nauseated, try smelling rubbing alcohol.
  • Throat sore? Eat marshmallows—the gelatin in them will coat and soothe.

These first aid life hacks might not be as good as having mom take care of you, but they will do in a pinch and who knows? They may soon become your must haves when life roughs you up.

Do you have a first aid kit? Have you learned any tips or tricks for treating minor injuries? Share your insight and help in the comments.

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