Planning a trip? Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, having a properly stocked first-aid kit is essential, and can be a life saver! You should always carry a prepackaged first-aid kit or a DIY kit. If you decide to make your own kit, use our list below to get you started. Most of these items are available over-the-counter (OTC) from drug stores, supermarkets or general merchandise stores.
- 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 anaphylaxis (acute allergic reaction), make sure to bring an unexpired EpiPen.
- Adhesive Bandages Adhesive bandages like 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. And don’t forget to include a blister care bandage.
- Gauze pads/Medical Tape In case you need more than a Band-Aid.
- OTC steroid cream Cortizone cream (5% or 10%) that reduces swelling and itching, especially from bug bites and allergic reaction.
- Antihistamine Diphrenhydramine (Benadryl) is a basic for relief from swelling due to contact dermatitis, insect bites, other causes. It can also help with allergy symptoms and insomnia.
- Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) for diarrhea, nausea, heartburn and upset stomach pains.
- Anti-Inflammatory/pain and fever reducer such as Ibuprofen (Advil) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to soothe aches and pains, especially those that result from overuse or to help with sudden fever.
- OTC Antibiotic ointment (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 and water.
- Tweezers and Nail Clippers: Unexpected splinters and hang nails happen.
- Dramamine: Bumpy roads or rough water can make even a seasoned traveler queasy.
- Moisturizer: Cracked, dry skin is a portal of entry for bacteria and dirt.
- Sunscreen: to prevent sunburn and accompanying fatigue, pain and itching.
- Water bottle: (consider one with a filtration system) prevents dehydration and saves a lot of money on bottled water; you can also carry a sleeve of single serving electrolyte powder such as Gatorade in case of travelers’ diarrhea.
If you 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.