Let’s talk about one of the most essential things to take with you on your travels: the first-aid kit. There is probably nothing more important than this bag filled with all the medicine you hopefully never need while exploring the world.
I’m no physician so I can’t recommend you any exact product or brand which you should have in your first-aid kit. At this point you should either stop by the pharmacy or check in on your doctor to find out more but I want to give you an idea on what one might need out there.
First things first – your first-aid kit doesn’t need to contain all these recommendations at all times – it varies strongly from destination to destination as well as duration and time of a trip. For example you won’t need to have charcoal tablets with you on a city trip to Milan or an antibiotic when visiting London, because you will find them in the next pharmacy but when traveling Asia such known products aren’t so easy to find at all times. So what I’ll tell you now is a good overview on a travelers first-aid kit and I’ll structure it symptom by symptom.
This might be most common symptom one faces while traveling the world. A headache might appear after traveling 24h with 2 lags and about 11h time difference or when you’re dehydrated as you forgot to drink while a hot day exploring a city. You can get an headache everywhere at anytime and normally I would just lay down at home and wait for it to pass but while traveling this isn’t that easy. The only thing that will help you getting over it is an Aspirin or if this isn’t enough maybe even a pain killer. I always have these two pills with me when traveling and especially when suffering from a monstrous jet lag I take one so I can start enjoying my adventure right away.
Cold & Flu Symptoms
Who else know that inconvenience when sitting on a plane and somehow the crew manages to cool down the cabin to a point were everyone is sitting there with their coats on? And believe me a cold is easily caught when traveling – I know it from first hand experience. This is why I always have the following super bomb against any kind of cold symptoms with me in my first-aid kit: Aspirin Complex* (to intercept any cold/flu in the making), something against sore throat and of course broad-spectrum antibiotics – this you won’t get without your doctors prescription. But my boyfriends dad is a physician and told us to never travel to Asia without one as you’ll never know when you might need it. Only be sure to know when/how to use it – so write down your doctors instructions.
* I’m not sure if this is the “international” name – it’s more or less Aspirin but helps with headaches, sore throat and coughing
Stomachache & Food Intoxication
This is definitely the worst (of regular aches) that you can have when traveling countries with a very different cuisine and other ideas of hygiene regulations. Stomachache is the most common symptom when traveling to Asia or Africa. Food intoxications aren’t rare even when “sticking to the rules” – like not eating raw meat, fish etc. and avoiding ice cubes. It is very difficult to actually keep yourself from having the worst pains and only a few things from your first-aid kit will save you then. First, keep an eye on your tummy already weeks in advance – I took pills to strengthen my digest and gut flora all the time while exploring Vietnam and started taking them 2 weeks in advance. I never had problems with my stomach. But when it happens charcoal tablets are your only real lifesaver. For the unfortunate situation when you suffer from severe food intoxication and you won’t be able to use the restroom – for example on a train/bus/plane – always have a package of Imodium acute with you – it will relief you for a few hours – but only take them in real (!) time of need. Also keep something against sickness in your first-aid kit.
Of course this for people suffering from allergies only but keep an epi pen close. Especially when traveling to places with lots of different insects. One never know what might cause an allergic reaction and in very serious situations an epi pen might be the only help one can find. We always have one with us on our travels as Christoph has a few allergies and we want to be on the save side. Beside this also keep an cortisone pill in your pocket.
Other essentials for your first-aid kit
Aspirin, antibiotics, epi pen and so one, but what you really need at a daily bases are the following things: sanitizer, sun creme and After Sun creme, dextrose and very frequently plaster. These are a few essentials that will be in your hands quite a few times while your journey. Especially disinfectant is very important in Asia and we had always one in our bags when exploring a city like Hanoi. Sun creme should need no explanation as well as After Sun creme in case of sunburn. Dextrose is also an essential as it can happen fast that you feel unsteady on your feet or don’t feel well at all because of exhaustion, heat and such. Then a little sugar treat can do the magic like nothing else. Regarding plaster I recommend this for blistering and regular ones so you are perfectly equipped for any kind of Ouch!
Now, where to get (most) of this stuff? Have you ever heard of Online Pharmacies? I personally have never bought medicine online but when it comes shop products I already know it’s definitely a very comfortable way to stock up one’s first-aid kit for the next adventure. For example at this one from Austria.
Do you have a first-aid kid when traveling? And what is in there?
*in friendly cooperation with shop-apotheke.at