Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, having a properly stocked kit of first aid essentials in your bag can be a life saver.
Here are the ten essentials that you should have ready any trip, especially one involving adventure! Most of these items are available over-the-counter (OTC) from drug stores and supermarkets.
- Regular Medications A supply of medications you take regularly, and a list of what they are/how often you take them. Write your allergies on this list as well. If you are allergic to foods, insect bites or other causes of anaphylaxsis (fancy word for acute allergic reaction), make sure to bring an unexpired Epi-Pen.
- Adhesive Bandages Band-Aids in various sizes for minor cuts and scrapes that benefit from pressure and that need to be kept clean and free from friction against clothing.
- OTC steroid cream Cortizone cream or other steroid preparation in 5% or 10% concentration that reduces swelling and itching, especially from bug bites and allergic reaction.
- Antihistamine Benadryl is a basic for relief from swelling due to contact dermatitis, insect bites, other causes. It also helps relieve nasal allergy symptoms and insomnia.
- Pepto-Bismol For diarrhea and stomach pains, nausea
- Anti Inflammatory Ibuprofen or Acetominophen to soothe aches and pains, especially those that result from overuse
- OTC Antibiotic ointment (e.g. Bacitracin) cuts or burns can be temporarily dressed with this preparation until proper cleaning can occur
- Eye drops Traveling can lead to dry eyes
- Hand Sanitizer For when you can’t clean properly with soap
- Moisturizer Cracked, dry skin is a portal of entry for bacteria and dirt.
While you are packing, don’t forget to throw in: sunscreen, since sunburn and the accompanying fatigue, pain and itch can sideline any traveler; nail clippers, since we are all prone to a hang nail; and a water bottle to prevents dehydration, especially when traveling by air or to hot, dry elevations. If you’re traveling to an area known for traveler’s diarrhea, a sleeve of single serving Gatorade powder is not a bad idea.
If you do find yourself in an emergency, seek out medical attention immediately. Some things cannot wait until you return home. Chest pain, bleeding that does not stop with pressure, or diarrhea that doesn’t go away with OTC medications should be treated as soon as possible.