For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jan 10 2017
by Amelia Beamer

The Ultimate DIY Dorm First-Aid Kit

By Amelia Beamer - Jan 10 2017

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.

Getting Organized

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

Hydrogen peroxide

70% rubbing alcohol

Sterile gauze pads

Rolled gauze

First-aid tape


Hydrocortisone cream

Ace bandages

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



Aloe Vera

Stomach Ailments



Stool Softener


Anti-nausea patches

Pedialyte Electrolyte powder packets — yes, they're realyour hangover will thank you

Cough & Cold

Vick's Vapor Rub

Non-drowsy cough syrup





Saline Nasal spray

Nighttime cough syrup

Breathe Right strips

Emergen-C packets 

Cough drops

Reproductive Health

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? 

Feminine Health

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


Oral Health 

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. 

Lead Image Credit: Pixabay

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Amelia Beamer - Syracuse University

Amelia is a graduate student studying magazine, newspaper and online journalism. She's an NC native who grew up by the ocean & misses being on the water every day. Amelia loves SCUBA diving, reading historical fiction & her Australian shepherd, Gracie. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram, both @ameliabeamer

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