What's in Your First Aid Kit? Tips for Treating Summer Health Threats

Summer means fun in the sun, but danger also lurks in the great outdoors and you need to be prepared.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, author, physician and TV host, appeared on "Good Morning America" today to discuss first aid and common summer health threats.

There are certain items that every household should always have in its first aid kit, he said.

The items are:



VIDEO: Dr. Memhet Oz reveals the five things all should have in their kits.Play
Update Your First Aid Kit for Summer

EpiPen, even if you're not certain you have allergies. Ace bandages.

Tweezers (2 pairs).

The kit will come in handy if you face one of the following common summer health threats:


Tick bites can transmit Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Not all ticks spread Lyme disease. In the U.S., deer ticks -- or blacklegged ticks -- are the main carriers, Oz said.

When a tick first sticks to you, you won't necessarily contract the disease right away, Oz said. If you find a tick on your body, you should pull it off with tweezers – but don't squeeze it, or infected blood from the tick could enter your body, he added.

You should also try to save the tick. Doctors can test it to determine whether it has Lyme disease. And check your body a few hours later to see if you have developed a bulls-eye rash – a telltale sign of the disease.


Jellyfish are non-aggressive marine animals with tentacles. The tentacles are covered with poison-filled sacs that can cause a painful and possibly life-threatening sting.

If you are stung by a jellyfish, soak or rinse the area in vinegar (acetic acid) for 15 to 30 minutes. This will prevent the sacs from releasing toxins. If you don't have vinegar available, rinse the affected area in sea water or rubbing alcohol. Do not use fresh water, as that will not prevent the release of toxins. For the same reason, you shouldn't use ice or hot water, or rub the area.

Shaving Cream for Jellyfish Sting?

You can also apply shaving cream or a paste of baking soda, which will prevent the stop the sacs that haven't been activated from releasing their venom. Shave the area with a razor or credit card to remove any of the venomous sacs, then re-apply alcohol or vinegar.

On an episode on the hit sitcom, "Friends," the character Monica was stung by a jellyfish and her friends decided that someone needed to urinate on the sting to treat it. Asked if that method really works, Oz conceded that it would do in a pinch, but added that he was sure the jellyfish victim would rather use salt water.


If you get a sprain, remember the RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate above your heart.

Sun-Related Health Hazards

Dehydration and heat exhaustion were talked-about topics in this week of record high temperatures. To ensure you stay safe, you must remain hydrated, Oz said.

You should also make sure your body has enough electrolytes. As an extra measure, you can eat broth for sodium, or bananas for potassium.

Another issue that's common is sunburn, Oz said. As soon as you notice a burn, take a cool shower or bath and an aspirin. Oz said you should use a gentle soap, and stay away from any soaps that may have salicylic acid -- an active ingredient in acne treatment.

You should also apply aloe, or another type of cooling agent, but do not apply butter or any oils to the burn.

While the burn is healing, you should wear loose, natural clothing, such as silks and cottons. Other kinds of fabric may irritate the skin.

Web-extra tip

Some people swear that mosquitoes bite women more than men. Dr. Oz was asked whether there was any truth to that, and he said it wasn't likely.

Cues such as body temperature, carbon dioxide in the breath and certain skin chemicals such as lactic acid all help mosquitoes orient themselves and find their next meal, he said.

Since men are larger than women, they are bitten more, but may not be as sensitive to the bites. Pregnant women exhale more carbon dioxide and get bitten more than other women.

Many people believe the unproven claims that B vitamins, such as those consumed through meat, may mask smell. Men tend to eat more meat, consequently, they are thought to be less attractive to mosquitoes.

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