What To Pack In Your Travel Health Kit
No matter where I’m traveling overseas I automatically include my own small first aid kit, in case of emergencies.
While I’m not one to have a backup plan for everything, when it comes to health it’s best to be prepared rather than lacking when you’re traveling as you’ll find either you can’t find a chemist store when you need one, or won’t recognize the items on the shelf if you’re in a foreign country, plus there is always the language barrier.
One of my friends traveled for six weeks with two of her friends. In Rome, one of them had a tummy bug and had severe diarrhea, nobody in the chemist spoke English…think about how you would explain that! Apparently it was a pretty funny moment in their trip worthy of a Candid Camera or America’s Funniest Home Video’s slot!!
You can assemble your own travel health kit or you can purchase one already assembled. I prefer to assemble my own as my pack is always tailored to the destination e.g. if we are diving then I’ll pack an antiseptic wash for any cuts or grazes we might have as open wounds can become infected quickly in the tropics. If we were traveling to Europe then I wouldn’t need an antiseptic wash.
Here are some of the basic essentials to get you started then just add or subtract items as needed.
13 Essentials For Your Travel First Aid Kit
1. Prescription Medications
Take enough supplies for the time away plus one week. You never know if your flight will be delayed due to Mother Nature and the last thing you’ll want to do is find a Doctor to have a prescription filled.
If possible carry a letter of authorization from your health care provider, including vitamins and minerals. My Naturopath insisted I take one from her just to appease customs should they inspect my suitcase.
2. Anti-Itch Gels or Creams
This is the first thing into my kit as mosquito’s, midges and anything else that bites tend to love me. Rather than scratching myself to pieces I carry a little roll-on anti-itch, picked up at a supermarket in their throw out bin, best stuff I’ve ever used!
3. Insect Repellent
While we are talking about things that bite a natural spray of insect repellent will always be your friend in warmer or tropical climates. No matter if I use one of these or not I still end up with a few that manage to take a nibble on that tiny piece of skin that I missed! How do they do that?
4. Upset Stomach Remedies
The jury is out on this one, should you not take anything to stop the flow, and drink as much water as possible to stay hydrated, or should you take something such as Imodium to save the tiles from that well-worn path you’ve created to the bathroom?
Taking medication could keep the bug or whatever it is that’s caused your upset in your system, within a few days it should pass. Nine times out of ten it’s just something simple like a change in the water that can upset your stomach rather than something as dramatic as food poisoning. Of course, if you are eating spicy food that upset some people’s stomachs immediately.
If I were flying that day I’d definitely take medication, otherwise I’d let it take its course and ALWAYS carry the next item!
Always include a small pack of tissues; they’ll come in handy on the plane or when you are out and about, especially in Asia as emergency toilet paper. Yes I’m speaking from experience!
6. Pain and Fever Medication
You’ll always find paracetamol in my pack, but you could include aspirin or something stronger with codeine in it if you prefer. I rarely take any medication so find paracetamol does the trick.
7. Anti-Motion Sickness
Nuff said this is great for planes, trains, automobiles, and boats. I’ve even used wristbands with little plastic bits that stick into your skin that act on acupressure points on your wrists. I coupled this with natural ginger tablets and fared very well on a rough boat crossing for 2 1/2 hours. My sea legs aren’t that well established, unfortunately!
If you suffer from hay fever be sure to include these, as you won’t know how you will react to the local flora. Sudafed or Benadryl are excellent remedies although you may be limited by the pseudoephedrine-based meds depending on your country’s laws.
9. Digital Thermometer
You’ll need one of these especially if you have kiddos. You’ll want to know if the grizzles are just because they are tired from all the excitement of the trip or a fever.
10. Hand Sanitizers
If you are traveling to a third World country I’d definitely pack these as the sanitary conditions are not of the same standard as the first world.
Include this no matter where you are traveling as the sun burns no matter what the season if you are exposed to it’s rays. An SPF 30, chemical free with natural ingredients, rather than commercial ranges is best for your skin.
I bought a pack of all shapes and sizes and carry a couple of each in my kit and leave the pack at home. Great for blisters as I found here.
13. Nasal Sprays Lip Balm and Eye Drops
These are great for flights as the cabin air is dry enough to turn you into a dried up old prune by the time you hit the runway at the other end!
Other items you can include in your health travel kit vary from ear plugs, eye shades, antimalarial medication, water purification tablets, condoms, after sun moisturizer, bandages, gauzes, tweezers and scissors, depending upon your destination.
What would you add to the kit, what have I missed that you wouldn’t travel without?