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May 15, 2019

First aid essentials for your travel kit

A well prepared first aid kit can make all the difference in case of minor medical problems. Our travel experts share their checklist.

The staples

There are certain must-haves any kit should always contain:

  • A stretch bandage for sprains
  • Band-aids in assorted sizes
  • Adhesive wound closure strips
  • Sterile gauze
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Disposable gloves
  • Tweezers for removing ticks or splinters
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Alcohol-based disinfectant
  • Adhesive medical tape

Over-the-counter medications

Nausea, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, allergies, bug bites, etc. are all common ailments which, when far from home (or even from civilization), can make even the most hardy traveller miserable. These useful medications will help you on your way.

  • Hydrocortisone cream for itching and skin irritations
  • Allergy medication
  • An antidiarrheal
  • Motion sickness medication
  • Antibiotic cream for minor injuries
  • Decongestants, throat lozenges
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Oral rehydration salts

Prescription medications

If you have to take prescription medications with you, make sure your prescription lasts the whole trip. Pre-empt problems at border security by remembering to:

  • Leave medications in their original packets or containers with the drugstore’s label.
  • Pack your medical supplies in your hand luggage.
  • Check that your name is spelled the same on the drugstore’s label as it is in your passport.
  • Take your doctor’s prescription and a complete list of your medications showing their generic name, printed out by your pharmacist.
  • Take slightly more of your prescription medications than you need, just in case you are away for longer than planned.
  • Check your airline’s rules about travelling with medications.
  • If you need to travel with needles, bring an adequate supply and ask your doctor or pharmacist to issue a medical certificate indicating that you use the needles for medical purposes only.

Customized kit

Include relevant first aid items for the specific activities you might be doing while away.

For example, if you plan on hiking, don’t forget moleskin to prevent blisters.

If you’re heading for sunnier climes, sun screen and insect repellant are a must.

For certain destinations, you might be advised to pack antimalarial medication or altitude sickness tablets.

A few extras (to cover all eventualities)

Just to make sure you’ve thought of everything, you might want to add:

  • Ear plugs to reduce noise
  • Water purification tablets
  • Eye drops
  • A spare pair of eyeglasses or your prescription
  • A thermometer
  • Condoms
  • A card with your contacts in case of an emergency

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget your travel insurance documents!