Putting together a monsoon-ready first aid box

Dr Md. Shakeel Ahmed, Head of Emergency and Trauma Department, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, shares how a small, handy, first-aid kit can work wonders in this monsoon

Putting together a monsoon-ready first aid box

Rains bring relief from the scorching heat and bring a sense of happiness amongst children and youngsters who love the showers. This, however, is the busiest season for doctors across the country, as rains bring along viral, fungal and bacterial infections, and other diseases as well.

Keeping a first-aid kit handy for monsoon is an ideal way to stay away from common illnesses and combat minor injuries. Whether you are traveling or staying at home, emergencies do not knock; so, it is good to stay prepared.

A handy little first-aid kit stored in an easily accessible place is a must; this helps you treat injuries and some common illnesses.

This first-aid kit should contain the following items:

  • Anti-mosquito cream
  • Pocket CPR mask
  • Thermometer
  • Fever medications (like Paracetamol)
  • Anti-allergy medicines (like Cetrizine or Levocetrizine)
  • Antacids (like Pantoprazole or Ranitidine or Gelusil) to combat acidity
  • Antiemetics (like Ondansetron / Domperidone) to combat nausea or sensation of vomiting
  • Analgesic sprays (like Volini) to combat pain and sprain
  • An antiseptic solution like (Dettol or Savlon) to reduce the possibility of infection, sepsis
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Painkillers like Diclofenac/ Tramadol (check for allergies with the doctor before stocking & consuming)
  • Flashlight
  • Betadine / Soframycin creams to apply on injuries
  • Distilled water packs
  • Gauze pieces, cotton rolls, and pads
  • Roll and crepe bandages
  • Small scissors and tweezers
  • Adhesive tapes
  • Band-Aids of different sizes, regular and waterproof
  • A pair of disposable gloves
  • A pair of extra warm clothes, if it is a large bag
  • Spare mobile charger, if you are going outdoors
  • List of contact numbers for emergencies, that of your physician, closest hospital, and local ambulance services

In case of a fall or an accident, follow these simple steps:

  • Clean your hands prior to touching the person who sustained injuries or cuts
  • Wash the wound well to remover any dirt, apply an antiseptic solution
  • Apply antiseptic ointment and dress the wound
  • Keep the wound clean and dry to avoid any other infections
  • In case of deep wounds, severe pain, deformity or excessive bleeding, seek medical help immediately

Apart from various emergencies, cold, cough, malaria, dengue, stomach infection, diarrhoea, fever, typhoid, and pneumonia are some of the diseases which make it to the top of the list in this season.

Here’s how you can prevent these diseases

Dengue and Malaria: These diseases are spread by mosquitoes. Preventing mosquito bite is a most important factor in preventing these diseases.

  • Ensure improved water storage
  • Ensure proper waste disposal
  • Strictly avoid water stagnancy
  • Use mosquito repellents during the day and night
  • Use proper clothing with full sleeves
  • The kit should contain mosquito repellents; symptoms such as fever, myalgia (pain) can be treated with medications in the kit.

Fever, cold and cough: Sudden weather change often causes Viral Fever, characterized by fatigue, chills, body aches, and fever. The illness is contagious and spreads through infected droplets in the air, or by coming into physical contact with infected secretions.

General duration of a viral fever lasts from 3-7 days, with the severity of the fever being the highest in the first three days.

  • One must ensure that they do not get wet in the rain or stay in wet clothes for a long period
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Boost immunity by eating vitamin C rich foods and green leafy vegetables. One must also keep a safe distance from an infected person.
  • Medications to treat these flu-like symptoms should be there in the first-aid kit

Stomach infection or diarrhoea: Gastroenteritis or food poisoning is quite common during the monsoon season, and the high humidity helps in the growth of disease-causing bacteria. The common symptoms are abdomen pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Fever can develop, and one may feel the sense of malaise or weakness through the course of the illness. The mainstay of treatment is hydration.

Antacids, Antiemetics along with Probiotics can be used to treat this illness. First-aid can include Oral Rehydration Solutions or powder.

Jaundice and typhoid: These diseases are caused by contaminated food or by consuming food and water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person.

Symptoms include high-grade fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and fatigue. Prevention includes providing clean drinking water, better sanitation, and proper handwashing. Aggravation of symptoms or poor oral intake needs medical attention.

Pneumonia: It is an infection of lungs with the wide range of possible causes and can affect any age group. It can be a serious or life-threatening illness. Symptoms resemble Flu-like illness but can be severe. Prevention includes vaccination at childhood and even at adulthood.

Other ways are:

  • Regular hand wash
  • Covering of mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Refraining from smoking
  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising 4-5 days a week

Leptospirosis: Is an uncommon illness caused in monsoon, by bacteria transmitted from water contaminated by animal waste. Prevention may be achieved with protective clothing or by changes in association with animal husbandry.

Minimise contact with fresh water and mud that might be contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Usefulness of the kit in this condition would be to treat symptoms like fever and myalgia. But once confirmed, it requires the use of antibiotics after physician consult. Do not delay in consulting a doctor if unwell.