What you should know about building a basic and complete first aid kit when travelling the world!
A first aid kit is definitely something you should never miss on your trips. It won’t take more than 500 grams of your luggage and it will bring you tons of tranquility in case you needed it! -Hopefully not, but you know, you never know.
There are three kind of products you need to include in your kit:
- Bandaids and steri-strips –
- Cotton and/or gauze.
- Q-tips – helpful on smaller injuries.
- 1 or 2 Bandages – in case of joint injury, so you can wrap it up properly for a while.
- Any surgical/adhesive tape to make it possible to attach gauze to a certain wound.
- Small scissors – to cut sanitary material or clothing in case of wound or skin burn.
- Tiny tweezer – to extract any possible objects from the skin.
- A small portable pill box to take with you during the day – practical and handy tip!
- Condoms – have fun the smart way. Prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
*In case of any injuries regarding the bones, the skin, bleeding or head trauma, you should always seek for the closest medical attention centre. Or if you have a travel insurance, call them so they can tell you where to go for a medical check up.
- Alcohol cleaning wipes – easy, hygienic and practical.
- Repellent – insect bites are a major and common problem when travelling. A lot can be prevented by just using some proper repellent, even more at risky areas. Read more on insect and spider bites prevention here.
- Anaesthetic in spray or gel – in case of bleeding wounds with important pain.
- Antibacterial pocket-sized liquid – eat with clean hands. By doing it you are preventing digestive trouble to yourself and beloved ones. You can buy it from me right here!
3. Basic Medication List
Paracetamol or Ibuprofen – basic anti inflammatory pills for almost anything. From headaches to muscle or articular pain, back pain, even for a flu. You may find lots of commercial names but these right here are the generic names, universally used.
-Paracetamol up to 1000mg/8hrs
-Ibuprofen up to 600mg/8hrs
Anti diarrhoea pills – just for mandatory reasons. It’s important to let the body do it’s own process when viral infections kick in, but in case you’re train-travelling at night, then you can take a pill or two.
Oral rehydration salts – easier than taking actual prepared bottles and a must no matter what. Use in case of diarrhoea, vomiting, sun burn, heat wave. AVOID during constipation, it will only make it worse!
Antibiotics – mostly in case of a digestive infection. Some will be useful for respiratory or skin problems but always remember, checking up with a doctor is by far the best option (call ME for example). Or get to your local doctor/travel consultancy centre at home before departure in order to get further recommendations and medication if possible.
The most commonly used antibiotic for some digestive problems is called Ciprofloxacin 500mg and it must be taken like this: 1 pill every 12 hours during one week at least, if not longer depending on the case. If you happen to be allergic to this antibiotic, you need to consult your doctor before departure, if you haven’t before. Also, you can take medical prescriptions to buy locally, but many times these won’t be valid on your destination for regulatory reasons.
Anti-allergic pills (medically called anti-histamines) – useful when having insect bites, skin allergies, rhinitis, sneezing or even a flu. Also? Cocktail pills for the flu are suitable in case of allergic reactions, just so you know.
Dexametasone – the allergic reactions medication of all times. If possible to be applied as an injection for faster effect and results in emergency cases. If not, 4 mg pills to be taken every 8 or 12 hours until you can get to see a doctor. Never underestimate the power of an allergic reaction, no matter how small and harmless it may seem.
Melatonine – natural remedy against jet lag that will help you regulate your sleep cycle in case necessary. Our body produces it naturally in order to keep control of the system. A little extra help occasionally when changing time zones will do no harm at all. One pill per night during 5-7 nights will be enough to regulate your scheme. No prescription needed almost anywhere.
Candy – for a sudden drop on sugar levels, which usually feels like nausea, cold sweating, dizziness and a general sensation of discomfort, almost to the point of falling down to the ground. It is ALWAYS a good idea to have some in your purse or pocket. Even gum.
Chlorine or Iodine tablets – because you never know when you’ll reach a destination where you could run out of water, it is important to consider taking some chlorine or iodine tablets on your first aid kit. Easy to use, no weight at all and will save you in case necessary. You can buy these online (Amazon for e.g.), at supermarkets or at stores specialised on outdoor activities. For more on water purification methods, check out this info-graphic I made for you.
Small portable light – because light could go off too at any time, not necessarily just the electric one. The woods can be a scary place without even a bit of a tiny light, don’t you think?
Probiotic supplements – always a good idea to carry too as for digestive health. Whether we have to take antibiotics or if we’ve got an intestinal virus, a sensitive bowel or a food intolerance, probiotics will always help with a better and proper recovery of the digestive track in a natural way. Totally a basic when travelling.
Where to put it all in?
An ideal container for a first-aid kit should be waterproof and, if possible, sunlight-proof. There are some special non expensive cases having a photo-resistant layer inside, meaning that light can’t go through. This is important in order to avoid loosing medication’s properties and effects.
So, ideally, a weather-proof case. As simple as a zip-lock bag but also taking into consideration the light exposure.
Let me ask you one thing:
Do you know how to put an injection?
If you just thought “yes”, then you deserve a “congratulations!”. But if you thought “no”…then we need to have a serious talk.
I always say that in every home there should be AT LEAST TWO people capable of putting injections. Because the fastest medication in emergency cases you’ll ever need, will have to be applied intramuscular. And I don’t mean you need to learn on taking veins, no. It’s just about learning the right technique for an injection on someone’s skin/muscle.
It’s low risk, everyone can learn to do it and everyone *should* learn to do it.
What if it was the life of one of your family members? Ok, now you go to your social circle and ask them the same question I just asked you. Whoever does know how to apply injections, ask him/her to teach you. This little action will save lives. Believe me!*I might write a post in the near future on learning how to apply intramuscular injections. It would be a start on teaching you things from my humble experience. Would you love that idea? Let me know on the comments.
So, this is what a basic first aid kit should include.
Remember that depending on your destination and on your own medical health – in case you have a chronic disease such as Arterial Hypertension or Diabetes just to mention a few – there are always additions and changes to be made to this kit.
For further information or if you want a personalised medical kit by this professional – your travel doctor! – please contact me. I’d be happy to assist you. All products can be delivered via post mail.
Have you had any experiences with a first aid travel kit? Would love to know your experiences! Feel free to join the discussion on the comments below.
*And if you found this article useful, please share it. Let’s spread prevention and health as we travel. All together we can make a positive impact!