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Tracy James
IU Media Relations

Trent Applegate
Department of Applied Health Science

Last modified: Monday, November 22, 2004

Gifts that save lives

Editor's note: This story is one of several holiday-related features that will be published by IU Media Relations over the next few days. This note at the top signifies the story's inclusion in the holiday packet.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Are you scratching your head wondering what to get Aunt Bernice or your Cousin Joe for Christmas? Instead of buying a generic gift likely to find its way into the attic, never to be thought of again, consider giving your loved ones gifts that could save their lives.

Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and first aid kits might lack the sparkle of the holiday season, but their message is clear.

"It shows a definite sense of caring, from you to them," said Trent Applegate, a visiting lecturer in Indiana University Bloomington's Department of Applied Health Science. "It shows you want to help protect them."

Applegate, who is in charge of the department's first aid and emergency care training, said the first aid kits he has given as gifts always have been a hit. Kits, which can be purchased pre-assembled or put together a la carte, can cost from $8 to $35.

"I've given these as gifts, and everyone who's gotten one loved it," Applegate said. "They're good because they can be used in the car, at home, in the work place. You can use them in a lot of different areas."

Other safety-related gift ideas include gift certificates for safety courses, such as first aid and CPR training, offered by the American Red Cross, YMCA or other organizations that offer training programs. Such organizations can be contacted to see if they offer certificates or other gift options related to health and safety. The American Red Cross chapter in Monroe County, Ind., for example, offers special gift baskets with food and gift items found in this southern Indiana community. Proceeds from the $45 baskets benefit the chapter.

Applegate suggests including some or all of the following items in a first aid kit:

  • Basic Band-Aids and gauze pads
  • Triangle bandage
  • Disposable gloves and a face shield to prevent disease transmission
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Topical sting relief pads
  • Elastic Ace bandage wrap
  • Non-stick wound dressings
  • Adhesive tape
  • Roller gauze
  • Antiseptic towelettes and alcohol swabs
  • Antimicrobial hand wipes
  • Flashlight
  • Poison control materials -- Syrup of Ipecac, activated charcoal, Poison Control Center phone number (800-222-1222)

First aid kit Items to fit specific individuals:

  • Oral glucose or sugar packets for diabetics
  • Epi-pens for extremely allergic individuals (prescription required)
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen -- depending on preference and who will use the kit

Applegate can be contacted at 812-856-4009 and The Department of Applied Health Science is in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The American Red Cross Monroe County chapter can be reached at 411 E. Seventh St., Bloomington, IN 47408 and 812-332-7292.