What to Have in a College First-Aid Kit

Of all the things to pack and bring to college, a first-aid kit usually isn’t too high on the list. Unfortunately, however, it can be one of the most-needed items at certain times during the academic year. So just what should you have in a college first-aid kit to be prepared for the unexpected?

Band-Aids and Neosporin

No matter how graceful you are, in your soccer cleats and/or high heels, you are undoubtedly going to get banged up at some time or another during your time in college. And while wearing a Band-Aid might make you feel silly, it will also likely make you feel a little better and will keep your wound clean. Similarly, some Neosporin can do wonders for making sure that skinned knee or blister heals quickly.

Pain reliever

It can be whatever brand works best for you (including the lower-cost generic option), but pain reliever is a must. From headaches to sore muscles from swim practice to achy legs from having to walk so much every day, having a small amount of pain reliever can be a lifesaver when you need it.

Fever reducer

Residence halls in particular are notorious for being the perfect place for germs and viruses to go crazy. And when people are stressed and sleep deprived during finals and midterms, it seems like everyone on campus gets sick at the same time. Having some fever reducer on hand to help keep you comfortable during your inevitable battle with a cold or flu might seem unimportant now — but you’ll be incredibly grateful for it when the time comes.

Tweezers, clippers, and cuticle scissors

These items seem so simple, and yet it can be so simple to forget them. However, when you get a splinter, need to cut your toenails, or have the world’s worst hangnail, these items are essential. And if you don’t have them on hand, it’s nearly impossible to find another item that can be used instead. Most drug stores will sell a little travel kit that you can easily throw into your first-aid kit so that you have these items on hand when you need them.

Alcohol swabs

You can find these in small packs at most grocery or drug stores. And while they seem like something you can probably get by without, they are actually quite helpful. Not only can you use them for cleaning bad cuts and scrapes, but you can often use them for cleaning electronics if and when they get a little funky. (Where’d that gunk come from on your laptop keyboard anyway?)

Allergy medicine

Think both pills and creams when it comes to allergy medication. If you know you have allergies, come prepared with the type of over-the-counter (or even prescription) that you know works best for you. And if you don’t think you have allergies, you might be surprised — and uncomfortable — to learn that you’re allergic to those gorgeous trees that grow right outside your residence hall window. Consider getting some kind of allergy cream, too, to help relieve itching from the inevitable bug bites that you’ll get throughout the year.

Cold and flu medicine

Everyone who has ever had a bad cold or flu knows just how amazing things like NyQuil and DayQuil can be. Now imagine it’s finals week, you have a major exam coming up, and you need to feel clear-headed and get some rest. Having some medication on hand to help with those nasty cold and flu symptoms can be critical during certain points in the semester.


While these been-around-forever crackers don’t seem medical in nature, they can be good in certain situations … like after you’re recovering from the stomach flu. Additionally, if you aren’t feeling well and need a light snack to eat with, say, your fever reducer, saltines can be a great option.

Ice pack

Ouch! It’s amazing how often you can bang into stuff, even in your own room. Keep a small ice pack on hand in your freezer for all those embarrassing-yet-inevitable bumps and bruises. Because the only thing more embarrassing than accidentally walking into your door frame is having a huge raspberry on your face the next day letting everyone know what exactly you did.