My family’s first-aid kit has seen plenty of action over the years. The tweezers have regularly removed ticks and the baby wipes have saved us from poison ivy outbreaks. The plastic card has earned a permanent place in our kit since we discovered its leech removal abilities, and we always carry small bottles of meat tenderizer and Benadryl after our run-in with yellow jackets.

Our first-aid kit includes a couple of items we use all the time, which helps ensure that I use the kit regularly and know when it’s time to replenish certain supplies.

As the weather warms and your family gears up to hit the trails, it’s a good time to take a few minutes to organize your first-aid kit.

Here’s an inventory of the Almeida family’s kit (which we consider a constant work-in-progress) to get you started.

* Band-Aids: We used to stock a variety of character and tattoo Band-Aids when the girls were younger because a minuscule scratch on a finger threatened to prevent us from moving another step. We still stock a variety of sizes and styles because even as teens, only the perfect one will do.

* Hydrogen peroxide: A small bottle of this is a must as my girls refuse any contact with the “nasty” alcohol square.

* Anti-itch cream: In the summer someone always has a mosquito bite. And although scratching a bite isn’t a big deal, it can become an all-consuming irritant (especially if the bite is hard to reach while wearing a backpack).

* Baby wipes: A multi-purpose item that has been helpful after the misguided steps we’ve taken into a poison ivy patch. By wiping our skin to remove the resins, we’ve been able to avoid an outbreak. Although soap and water are best, the key is to get the resins off quickly.

* Meat tenderizer: A paste of water and tenderizer helps reduce the swelling of bee stings. This was a tip we learned from a pharmacist, and after our run-in with yellow jackets everyone in my family can attest to the fact that this odd-sounding remedy really does work.

* Gum: This always helps calm down my girls when they get anxious or hurt.

* Tweezers: We use these primarily for tick removal but also for the occasional splinter.

* Moleskin: This stuff works a thousand times better than Band-Aids for blisters on your feet so it gets lots of use on our longer hikes (we pack a small pair of scissors as well).

* Plastic card: I discovered the benefit of an expired plastic credit card while trying to remove leeches from my daughter. The firm, but flexible, scraping of an old plastic card does the job well and it works on newly attached ticks as well.

* Eyeglass mini screwdriver: If you have a child with glasses then you know that if they’re going to have a problem with their glasses, it’s going to be somewhere really inconvenient. This little item came in handy fixing our flashlight once on the trail too.

* Baby powder: This is great for sweating feet as well as the all-consuming irritant of chafed thighs and for sand removal between toes.

* Sunblock and insect repellent: I keep these items in the first-aid kit because I use them frequently and this ensures I’m familiar with my kit’s inventory.

* Other items we carry include: antibiotic cream, Ace bandage, medical tape, ibuprofen/acetaminophen, feminine hygiene pads, nail clippers, emergency heater blanket, whistle, sewing kit, waterproof matches, safety pins, hair elastics, hand sanitizer and a flashlight.

I’d like to say our kit is light and easy to carry, but it’s not. The girls have a smaller first- aid kit for our shorter adventures when we’re not far from our car (and our larger kit).

But I think it’s important to be prepared for an emergency (the real ones as well as the ones contrived by the little people in your life) when you’re spending time outdoors. Oh, and trust me that the gum and preferred Band-Aid requests should be accommodated. That’s a small price to pay for solid insurance for a fun family adventure.

Assistant News Editor Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 791-6334 or at: [email protected] or Twitter: wea1021


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