Whether you are going on a jungle expedition or to a highly populated city in a foreign country, there may be problems getting medicines or first aid items that you need immediately in case of an emergency. Even if you do have access to a pharmacy, language differences and different international brands can make it hard to figure out exactly what you need. It is a good idea to pack a kit of products that you are familiar with and tuck it away in your suitcase. As my dad always said, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
The essential “Must Haves” in your first aid kit should include:
- All your personal prescription medication in their original containers, as well as photocopies of your handwritten prescriptions from your doctor’s office. Make sure to ask you doctor if you should take other applicable prescription medications or vaccinations to your specific destination, including an anti-malarial medicine.
- Anti-diarrheal medicine
- Antihistamine and Decongestant
- Anti-motion sickness medicine
- Cough drops
- Antibacterial ointment
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Pain medication of choice (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen)
- Insect repellent
- Sunscreen and Aloe gel for sunburns
- Digital thermometer
- Rehydration solution
- Bandaids, gauze, or other bandaging material
- Antibacterial hand cleaner
- Eye drops
- Water purification tablets
- Latex condoms
You should also make sure that you keep a written list of local doctors, hospitals and pharmacies handy, and locate them within a day or two of your arrival just in case you need to get there quickly.
Most of the health problems that occur when traveling are small, treatable issues; but if they are not taken care of properly, they can develop into serious conditions. When you’re in a foreign environment, make sure you take care of yourself by eating, sleeping, and drinking regularly and sufficiently.