Knowing how to deal with minor medical injuries and illnesses is especially important when serving abroad. Is your team ready to respond?
Whenever possible, it is a good idea to have someone on premises who is a trained medical professional.* He or she can do an immediate assessment of any illness or injury and either administer first aid or take action to get additional medical help. If a medical professional is not available, at a minimum, you should have someone on staff who is trained in basic first-aid skills, CPR, and AED use. This person should be the point of contact for all injuries and illnesses and should document all medical-related incidents.
First-aid kits are relatively easy to assemble. Regardless of whether or not you are buying one and adding to it or creating your own, here are some items to consider including in your first-aid kit:
- Durable container
- Sterile, non-latex gloves
- Sterile compresses, gauze, and dressings
- Cleansing agents (soap, antiseptic wipes and/or hydrogen peroxide, alcohol wipes)
- Antibiotic, burn, and hydrocortisone ointments
- Adhesive bandages in several sizes
- Adhesive cloth tape]
- Medical tape on a roll
- Instant cold compresses
- Breathing barrier with one-way valve for CPR
- Eye wash solution
- Thermometer (oral, non-mercury/non-glass)
- Scissors and tweezers
- Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Aspirin and non-aspirin pain relievers
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid manual
- Emergency phone numbers (including 24/7 assistance line)
Pro tip: Check your kit regularly to ensure it’s well-stocked.
Store your first-aid kit out of reach of children, but ensure it is easily accessible for adults. Check your kit regularly to ensure it is well stocked. Inspect all ointments and medications to ensure they are not beyond their expiration dates. Replace flashlight batteries and update first aid manual and phone numbers.
Immediately after an incident (and treatment), document the incident by including the following information:
- Date, time, location of injury/illness
- Full name and contact information of injured/ill person
- Type of injury/illness and description
- A course of action (basic first aid, transportation to a medical facility, etc.)
- Circumstances surrounding the injury or illness
- Other people involved and witnesses to the incident
*Note: Medical professionals are often not covered for malpractice outside of their employment.