You probably have a stash of first-aid items somewhere in your dorm room. Ibuprofen or Tylenol, some band-aids, a few bottles of vitamins, some DayQuil to get you through class and NyQuil to help when you can't sleep from a cold — maybe even an ice pack or heating pad if you're extra fancy. What you might not realize, is that you're overlooking some major lifesavers that you may not realize you need until it's 4 AM on a Sunday, nowhere is open, you're too sick to want to go anywhere anyway and you just want your mom.
Luckily for you, we've put together the ultimate list of everything that you should have to make sure you're always prepared for any illness or mini-emergency that comes your way. It's important to keep in mind, however, that while these over-the-counter products can make you feel better and can pull you through minor ailments, they should never replace seeking attention from a medical professional.
Having lots of first-aid products is great, until you realize they're scattered all over your bathroom, in your purse and in your closet or desk. Make sure you know where to find them all, at anytime, by putting them in an actual designated first-aid kit.
You don't have to spend a lot of money on this — a tackle box, a craft supply box, a makeup organizer or probably the easiest: clear storage containers, can all get the job done.
Make index cards with any important medical info, including a list of emergency contacts, a list of any conditions or medical allergies you might have and your primary physician's contact information and slip them into a plastic baggie. Add your insurance card so you're not searching for it when you need to get to the doctor ASAP.
Acetaminophen — take for: fever/pain
Ibuprofen — take for: fever/pain/inflammation (do not take at same time as acetaminophen)
Digital oral thermometer — it's important to know whether you have a fever and how high it is
Band-Aids in a variety of sizes
70% rubbing alcohol
Sterile gauze pads
Reusable ice pack — one that can fit in your mini-fridge or be filled with ice, if you have access
Heating pad — either microwaveable or one that plugs in
Adhesive instant heating pads — in sizes for backs, stomachs, arms, and knees
Pedialyte Electrolyte powder packets — yes, they're real & your hangover will thank you
Cough & Cold
Vick's Vapor Rub
Non-drowsy cough syrup
Saline Nasal spray
Nighttime cough syrup
Breathe Right strips
Condoms — who wants to realize they don't have these when needed?
Plan B — even if you think you won't need it, wouldn't you rather have it on hand?
Monistat — because what's worse than a yeast infection?
AZO Standard or Cystex — take this the second you suspect a UTI and it'll keep the pain at bay until you can see a doctor for antibiotics
Orajel toothache pain relief gel
Orajel mouth sore medicine
Abreva cold sore treatment
Which vitamins your take are up to you, and should be discussed with your doctor, although a good multi-vitamin is typically recommended. You should also read the directions on the packaging of every product above before using and take or apply exactly as recommended. Some of these medications shouldn't be taken together, so call a doctor (or use a drug interaction tool like this one) to make sure that you're not putting yourself in danger.
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