It’s impossible to foresee everything that can happen while you’re on the road, but there are quite a few basic items that should be in every traveler’s first-aid kit. This list is essential to efficient travel preparation and will save you a lot of time and headaches. Of course the specific contents of your first-aid kit should be based on the duration of the travel, the destination and the type of vacation.
Pre-existing medical conditions
If you suffer from certain pre-existing medical conditions, make sure to take enough medication with you for the duration of the entire trip and then some. You never know if the trip is extended for some reason, let’s say flight delay.
Depending on the location you have chosen, there may be need for specific medication like antimalarials or medicines to treat altitude sickness. Iodine water purification tablets can come in handy in case of a more adventurous trip. They can be found in outdoor equipment stores and pharmacies.
Cuts, wounds, blisters and sprains
For cuts and wounds you should always carry gauze pads, waterproof adhesive bandages in multiple sizes, cotton swabs and antiseptic agent or wipes. Also take some moleskin or molefoam with you in case of blisters. Elastic bandages are perfect for sprains and stains, while infection and inflammation can be treated with antibiotics. Disposable gloves, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, safety pins, scissors and a pair of metal tweezers complete this set.
Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation
Stomach trouble is one of the most common diseases for travelers and is frequently caused by a change in food intake. This can result in stomach cramps, diarrhea or constipation. Ask your pharmacist for antidiarrheal medication (loperamide), a mild laxative and if necessary something to relieve heartburn (antacid). Remember that constipation can also be prevented with fluids and hig-fibre food.
Pain or fever
Make sure you always have a digital fever thermometer in your first-aid kit to take your temperature. When you have a bad fever or are in pain, pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin will definitely bring some relief.
Nose and throat
At least take a nasal decongestant spray with you to battle congestion from allergies or colds. It can help for against ear popping in airplanes as well. For your throat it is advised to have some cough drops and cough medicine at hand.
Allergies and yeast
Antihistamines are an effective treatment for allergies, rashes, itching and bug bites. They can be used in combination with a decongestant. Antifungal creams like canesten are what you need for yeast infections.
Bug bites can really ruin an otherwise excellent vacation. Luckily, there are very effective insect repellents on the market today. If you have been stung by an insect anyway, it is a good idea to have some hydrocortisone anti-itch cream with you.
To avoid sunburn, you can either stay out of the sun completely or rely on a quality waterproof sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 25 or higher. Be sure to look for a sunscreen that protects you from UVA as well as UVB rays. To cool down the skin and alleviate redness apply after sun lotion, preferably with aloe vera.
Quality condoms are by far the best way to protect yourself from getting a sexually transmitted disease and minimize the chance of an unwanted pregnancy at the same time. If you are on the pill, don’t forget to take a supply with you.
To prevent or relieve the nausea caused by motion sickness, there are several over-the-counter and prescription medications available in the form of tablets or transdermal patches. Get advice from your pharmacist.
Finally, remember that for identification purposes all medications should be transported in their original packaging. This can prevent many problems with airport officials. Also check dates as medicines too have a limited lifetime.