Inspect Your First Aid Kit and Replace Supplies Every Year 

 July 22, 2016

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A first aid kit is an essential item that should be located in every home and business. The supplies in a first aid kit can be used to treat many injuries until it is possible to seek professional medical attention. However, these items can only be useful if they are in good condition, safe, and work correctly. Many items in first aid kits have expiration dates, and others can become worn out or damaged by frequent use, moisture, and exposure to the air. You should inspect all of the items in your first aid kit at least once a year to see if anything needs to be replaced.

First Aid Container

The first thing you should check is the container. Look for any signs of damage. If your first aid kit has a zipper, make sure it opens and closes easily. If you have a plastic or metal container, check it for cracks or rust and make sure the hinges and latches are in good condition. Look for any mildew on the first aid kit or cabinet. If the container is damaged, replace it.


All medications, including pills, creams, ointments, antiseptic wipes, and eyewash, have expiration dates. The locations of the dates may vary. The expiration date tells you how long the manufacturer is confident that the medication will be effective and/or sterile if stored correctly. If an item is past the expiration date or close to it, you should replace it.

Dressings and Bandages

Dressings and bandages can be sterile or non-sterile. Sterile products usually do not expire as long as they are sealed and undamaged. If the seal on a sterile product has come open or become damaged, it is no longer sterile and should be discarded. Check non-sterile supplies for any damage, discoloration, or mildew. If something is compromised or you have doubts, replace it. You should also check the seals and packaging on bandages and replace them if they have been compromised.

You should check elastic bandages to make sure they are clean and free from damage and discoloration. Check the adhesive or safety pins for signs of damage.


Rolls of sterile gauze usually have a clear “blister” package on one side. Inspect the seal and look for any discoloration or condensation. If you find any, replace the gauze. If the seal has been damaged but the roll of gauze is clean and dry, you can still use it, but it should no longer be considered sterile.


Adhesive tape should be inspected for cleanliness and signs of damage or discoloration. If the non-adhesive surface is sticky, slimy, or has a residue, replace it. You should also replace the tape if the cardboard it is wrapped around has become damaged by moisture.


Check scissors for rust, corrosion, or other damage. Clean any rust and use lubricant sparingly. If there is adhesive residue on the scissors, clean them with a solvent. You can make sure the scissors are sharp by doubling the thickness of a gauze pad or piece of tape and trying to cut it.

Order New Supplies for Your Kit from 1st Aid Supplies

If any of the supplies in your first aid kit or cabinet are expired or damaged, you should replace them immediately. 1st Aid Supplies carries all of the bandages, gauze pads, medications, and other supplies you need to have a fully-stocked first aid kit so you can be prepared to deal with emergencies. Order the supplies you need today.


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