Make Your Own Student Medical Kit

Leaving home for the first time? It is difficult to think of everything you may need. Here are some helpful hints to prepare a university student medical kit so you are ready for just about anything and can have a healthy and productive year!

What to Include in Your Kit

For Wounds

  • Absorbent Cotton Balls – To clean wounds.

  • Adhesive Tape – To hold on bandaging. You can get water proof bandaing and bandaging made for people with allergies.

  • Adhesive Pads or Sterile Gauze Pads - In several sizes to cover wounds.

  • Antibiotic Ointment – To apply to wounds to prevent infection. This can include bactine, polysporin, or other ointments.

  • Antiseptic Solution (such as Hydrogen Peroxide) – For cleaning wounds. This should not be used all the time and can sting. Soap and water are good to clean most wounds.

  • Band Aids – Various sizes.

  • Elastic Bandage (2"-3" wide) - To use as covering for wounds.

Medications

  • Antacids – For indigestion/heartburn. If you are taking these regularly you should see your doctor or nurse practitioner.

  • Pain Medication (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin) – For mild pain or fever. People under 20 years old should not take asprin.

  • Anti-Diarrhea – For diarrhea.

  • Anti–Nausea Medication (Gravol) – For nausea.

  • Antihistamines – For allergies. These can be used to treat mild allergies such as rashes or itching, but if there is swelling to the neck/throat or problems breathing you should seek medical attention.

  • Cough Drops/Lozenges – For sore throats.

  • Decongestant – For colds and sinus congestion.

  • Calamine Lotion - For itchy bug bites and rashes.

  • Epi-Pen – If you require it and it has been prescribed for you. This is used for severe allergic reactions.

  • Insect Lotion or Spray (with Deet) – Prevent bug bites and prevent west nile virus from being spread to you.

  • A birth control method (e.g., contraceptive pill) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention method (condoms) to decrease risk of pregnancy and spread of STIs,

Other

  • Cold and Hot Packs (instant and disposable) – For aches and pains. Sometimes ice cubes in a face cloth or a hot water bottle can be used.

  • Cotton Tipped Swabs – Used for cleaning wounds, applying ointment, etc.

  • 3 ply medical grade face mask
  • Disinfectant Household Wipes – To clean surfaces and commonly touched objects. Can stop you from picking up a virus or infection.

  • First Aid Manual - When first aid isn’t enough, visit Student Wellness Centre.

  • Flash Light and Batteries

  • Hand Sanitizer – Frequent hand cleansing is important and effective in disease prevention.

  • Safety Pins

  • Scissors

  • Sling

  • Sunscreen

  • Table Salt – For sore throat (stir ½ teaspoon salt in 1 cup warm water, gargle 4 times/day).

  • Thermometer

  • Tissues

  • Tweezers

These items can be helpful for treating many minor issues at home but are not for every situation. These are guidelines only. If for any other reason you feel that more care is necessary, contact the Student Wellness Centre or another health service. If it is an emergency, call 911.

Documents to have with you and to bring to your first campus medical appointment

  • A copy of current prescriptions (medications, eyeglass, etc.),
  • A list of herbs or home remedies used, if applicable,
  • Emergency contact information (note: enter ICE [in case of emergency] in your phone contacts with your emergency contact number/s),
  • A copy of immunizations to date,
  • A provincial health card, and
  • Current drug plan information.

Advil, Tylenol, and Aspirin

Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and Aspirin are often used interchangeably. It is important to know which medications are most effective for certain symptoms. Below is a quick summary of uses for each medication.

Ibuprofen (Advil)

  • Decreases fever,
  • Decreases mild to moderate pain, and
  • Decreases inflammation.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

  • Decreases fever and
  • Decreases mild to moderate pain.

Aspirin

  • Decreases fever,
  • Decreases mild to moderate pain, and
  • Decreases inflammation.

Note: Aspirin should not be used for influenza if under 18 years of age.

Medical Resources

If you are unsure about when to seek medical attention, call the Saskatchewan HealthLine at 8-1-1 (24/7 access to registered nurses, psychiatric nurses, and social workers).

Student Wellness Centre, Place Riel Student Centre. Medical and Health Care for all registered students and dependents.

Services offered include:

  • Medical treatment,
  • Mental health assessment and counselling,
  • Birth control and STI testing, treatment, and counseling,
  • Nutrition counselling, and
  • Massage therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic

 

Campus Medicine Shoppe, Place Riel Student CentrePharmacists can prescribe prescription medication for birth control, emergency contraception, and many minor ailments (including cold sores, mild acne, recurrent urinary tract infections, allergies, menstrual cramps, athletes foot, jock itch.).

After Hours and Emergency Care

In an emergency requiring immediate medical attention, call 9-1-1 or visit a hospital emergency room:

  • Royal University Hospital (24 hour),
  • Paul’s Hospital (24 hour), or
  • City Hospital (9 AM-8:30 PM).

After hours or urgent care clinics are for when minor emergency care is needed, but do not require emergency room care. These clinics should be used when you have an ailment that is not threatening your life but needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Walk-in clinics are for when you need same day care, or you need to see a physician but do not have a family physician. Clinics are listed on the SK Health Authority web page. 

Fever

Fever

A virus or an infection can cause fevers. Sometimes there can be no apparent reason for your fever. If your temperature is between 37.2-38.3°C (99-101°F) you have a low-grade fever. Seek medical help if your fever lasts three or more days.

Treatment

  • Rest during the day and get a full night sleep and
  • Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated.

Seek Medical Treatment as Soon as Possible if You Have

  • A temperature that is greater than 38.3°C (102°F) for 24 hours,
  • A stiff neck,
  • A severe headache,
  • Severe swelling of throat, and

Minor Wound Care

Cuts and scrapes can occur from all sorts of everyday activities.  While some wounds require a trip to the doctor’s office, many wounds can be treated at home, especially minor wounds.  A minor wound is small cut or scrape that can be cleaned with little help and its edges meet easily.

Treatment

  1. Wash your hands well, for at least 30 seconds (try singing happy birthday twice while washing), so your hands are clean when you touch your wound.

  2. Wash the wounded area with warm, soapy water for about 60 seconds.  Make sure that dirt and other foreign material are removed but do not rub too vigorously as this can cause more damage to the wounded area.  It may sting a little, but this cleans the wound well.

  3. Rinse with warm water until it runs clear. Blot the area dry with sterile gauze or a clean cloth.

  4. You may apply a small amount of polysporin if you want, but this is not necessary.

  5. Cover with a loose bandage that will keep out the dirt, or a Band-Aid. Even small cuts heal faster when they are clean and covered.

  6. Change the bandage whenever it becomes soiled or dirty, and try to change it every day.  You may consider a water proof bandage if the wound is on your hand or an area that is wet frequently.

When To Seek Professional Medical Care

If the wound is:

  • Located on the face

  • Penetrating deep into the skin

  • Involving other tissues which causes you to lose feeling, motion, or bleed a lot

  • Made by a very dirty object

  • If you are uncertain when or if your tetanus shot was 10 years ago

  • If you have any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or drainage from the wound, or if you have fever

These are guidelines only. If for any other reason you feel that more care is necessary, contact Student Wellness Centre or another health service. If it is an emergency, call 911.

Burns

Burns can happen to the best of us. Maybe you spilled your coffee over your hand or got some oven cleaner on your skin. Both can cause pain, irritation, and a variety of other issues that may have to be seen by a doctor. Learn how to treat them yourself and when to see a doctor.

Burns can be caused by heat, cold, radiation, electricity, or chemicals.  You can also get burn injuries from skin contact, exposure, or inhalation.

Types of Burns

  • Superficial (1st degree) - Burn is to the outer layer of skin only. You may have redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. This type of burn does not blister.

  • Partial thickness (2nd degree) - Burn is to a deeper layers of skin. You may have blisters, swelling, and pain.

  • Full thickness (3rd degree) - This burn is to all layers of skin and sometimes to the tissues beneath it. You may have charred looking or white skin. Your pain level will be severe or you may have no pain. This indicates nerve damage.

Treatment

  • Superficial - Cool the burned area with water, preferably under a running tap, for at least 10 minutes. Apply lotion, cream, or aloe. Do not use ointments or butter. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you need it for pain.

  • Partial thickness - Cool the burned area with water, preferably under a running tap, for at least 10 minutes. Do not apply cream, ointment, butter, etc.  Protect any blisters or raw areas with a dry sterile or clean cloth. See a health care provider immediately. Do not open any blisters yourself.  Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you need it for pain.

  • Full thickness - Get immediate emergency care! Flush chemical burns with cool water for 30 minutes. Do no put on a cream or ointment.  Cover the burned area with plastic wrap or a moist bandage if it is available. Watch for coma, shock, slow pulse, fast pulse, and breathing issues.  Get to the hospital as fast as possible.  Just because you can’t feel it doesn’t mean it isn’t serious.  Anyone with this type of burn should have a tetanus booster if the last booster was given more than 5 years ago.

Prevention

Always use sunscreen.  Protect yourself when cooking by wearing oven mitts and keeping track of what stove elements you have turned on.  Avoid alcohol while around a fire.  Follow safety precautions with hazardous materials. Always know where the fire extinguisher is in your house and workplace. Find out where the fire exits are in your workplace.

When To Seek Professional Medical Care

  1. If you suspect you or someone else has either an electrical, radiation or inhalation burn, or if you are unable to quickly remove the chemical from the skin you MUST seek medical attention immediately.

  2. If you have a full thickness (3rd degree burn) or lose feeling to any area near the burn you must go to the hospital emergency room.

These are guidelines only. If for any other reason you feel that more care is necessary, contact Student Wellness Centre or another health service. If it is an emergency, call 911.

Sprains and Strains

Twisting your ankle and hurting your wrist can be painful, but often treated at home.  The term “sprain” is often used to cover both strain and sprain injuries, and the treatment of those juries is often the same.

What is the Difference?

  • Sprain - A stretching or tearing or muscle and/or tendon (fibers that connect muscles to bone).  This is usually caused by stretching too much or the wrong way, or by over-doing some physical activity.

  • Strain - The stretching or tearing of ligaments (fibers that connect bones to each other).

Causes

These can be caused by suddenly twisting or moving a joint, or repetitive motion.

Treatment

Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (P.R.I.C.E.)

  • Protection - Protect the injured part by keeping it steady, moving it gently, and not putting weight on the affected area.

  • Rest - Avoid using the joint, especially for weight-bearing activities; use crutches for ankle or knee sprains. You may need to rest the injured area for up to a month.

  • Ice - Apply ice packs or cold compresses the first 24 to 48 hours after your injury.   A good rule is to apply the ice only for 20 minutes every hour.  After 48 hours, switch to a hot pack.  Cold can help decrease your pain and decrease swelling and further injury to the area.  You may need ice for up to a week if you have lots of swelling.

  • Compression - Wrap injured joints such as knee or ankle with elastic bandage (tensor) or splint fingers to stop them from moving.  Wherever your injury is, try to keep from moving that area.  You may take the wrapping off at night.

  • Elevation - Raise the swollen joint above the level of your heart to reduce swelling, especially at night.

If you are too much pain or are not able to sleep comfortably with your injury, consider taking some acetaminophen or ibuprophen.  Ibuprophen will help to decrease some swelling and works better on muscle injuries, but it is not recommended for bone injuries.

Prevention

Stretch before exercising. If you are sitting or performing repetitive motion activities, try and get up or move around every 30 minutes. Wear good shoes or boots when walking outside.

When To Seek Professional Medical Care

  • You suspect a break in a bone

  • You have numbness or tingling to an area, or you cannot move an injured part (toe does not wiggle, etc.)

  • You have lots of swelling that does not go down

  • You cannot control your pain with acetaminophen or ibuprophen

  • There is an injury to you head, and/or changes in you level of consciousness

These are guidelines only. If for any other reason you feel that more care is necessary, contact the Student Wellness Centre or another health service.  If it is an emergency, call 911.  

Additional Resources

Warts

Many of us have them. Small bumps on your feet or hands can irritate, hurt, and look ugly. Although you may want to visit your doctor for treatment there are many things you can try at home to get rid of warts yourself.

This information refers to warts that are not on the genitals. If you are looking to treat genital warts, see a doctor or nurse practitioner.

If you have diabetes or any other condition where your circulation, blood flow, or immune system is compromised you should always seek medical attention before starting these treatments.

Causes

A wart is a skin growth caused by the virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can enter the top layer of skin through a cut or break, causing the skin to grow quickly and form a wart. You can infect yourself again by touching the wart and then another part of your body or infect another person by sharing towels, razors, or other personal items. Some people are more likely to get warts than others. Most warts go away on their own.

Signs and Symptoms

A wart can be a bump with a rough or smooth surface. You may see a dark black center on the wart. Warts are usually painless but if you press on them they can cause you pain. Most warts are diagnosed by sight and not by tests. If you are not sure if you have a wart do not try to treat it yourself.

Treatment

Most warts don't need treatment. But if you have warts that are painful, spreading, or if you are bothered by the way they look, your treatment choices include:

  • Salicylic acid – The most common at-home method.  It is safe and effective for most people an available at the drug store.  Treatment can take 2-3 months. You can get liquid ASA or small ASA pads and apply them to your wart everyday.  Between treatments you can lightly file the wart. There is a chance of scarring or damage to the skin around the wart so you must be careful when applying the ASA solution.

  • Duct Tape – You use duct tape to cover the wart. This treatment takes 1 to 2 months but does not always work. Cut a piece the shape of your wart an place it over top, leaving it covered at all times. Change the tape every week, soaking your foot between applications. Eventually the wart should fall off.

  • At home freezing – This is available at the drug store.  You spray a combination of two chemicals into a foam applicator and then hold the applicator to the wart for a few seconds. There can be some discomfort with this method, but it should not be really painful.
    • This treatment shouldn't be used for children younger than 4 or by pregnant or breast-feeding women.  It can take multiple applications and should be used carefully.

If your wart does not go away after 2-3 months you should move on and try another treatment. Never cut a wart off yourself.

When To Seek Professional Medical Care

  • Are uncertain that a skin growth is a wart

  • Have diabetes

  • Have peripheral arterial disease

  • Have another major illnesses that may affect your treatment it is best to see a health professional

  • Have a wart that becomes painful and it does not feel better after a day or 2 

  • Have tried multiple at-home treatments and your wart has not gone away in 2-3 months after starting the last treatment.

These are guidelines only. If for any other reason you feel that more care is necessary, contact the Student Wellness Centre or another health service.  If it is an emergency, call 911. 

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