I was editing a health story on how to be prepared ahead of time for accidents that will happen in the future.

Imagine my surprise when when a pretty basic term did not appear in the AP Stylebook: first-aid kit.

My first thought was hyphen or no hyphen? Luckily, someone had the same question in 2010 and asked on AP Stylebook Online’s Ask the Editor.

The official answer: hyphen. It is, indeed, first-aid kit.

However, no hyphen in the noun version: first aid, ex. “He administered first aid to the patient.”

Here are some other medical terms to know, straight from the AP Stylebook:

Band-Aid: “A trademark for a type of adhesive bandage.”

Doctors Without Borders: “Use English translation in copy for the French group, Medecins Sans Frontieres.”

Doctor: “Use Dr. in first reference as a formal title before the name.” Use the last name only in subsequent references.

Dr Pepper: (Ok, not a medical term, but semantically related.) “A trademark (no period after Dr) for a brand of soft drink. Headquarters is in Dallas.”

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