Travel first aid kit
Know which emergency items to pack.
The contents of a travel first aid kit depends on the destination of travel. Find out whether the country you are traveling to has any restrictions regarding the type and amount of medication you want to take along. Some European countries, for example, have restrictions on medication containing codeine.

Include medication needed for travel in a particular country. This could include malaria tablets if travelling to a malaria area or chlorine tablets if you will be going to places, such as most parts of Africa, where fresh water is not available. If travelling to areas where snake bite is a risk, consider taking a snake bite kit along.

Bilharzia is a worm infection which is a problem in parts of Africa, South America, South-East Asia, the Carribean islands and South China. Take the drug praziquantel along when travelling to these areas. Other worm infections are particularly common in developing countries where sanitation is often poor and access to clean drinking water limited. The drug mebendazole (Vermox) offers effective treatment against most worm infections.

Always consult your doctor and travel agent about special precautions and regulations.

Here’s a list of medicines and ointments to take along. Other generic equivalents can also be used.

  • Sufficient amounts of prescription medication anyone in your group is taking
  • Cuts and bruises: Bactroban® or Betadine® ointment
  • Diarrhoea: Kantrexil®
  • Fever blisters: Zovirax® ointment
  • Flu: Flusin® effervescent or Coryx® and maybe a cough syrup
  • Headaches: Panado®, Suncodin® or Stopayne®
  • Insomnia: Stilnox® or Imovane®
  • Muscle pains: Myprodol®
  • Nausea and vomiting: Valoid®, Stemitel® or Maxolon®
  • Normal blisters: Moleskin® or other tough and thin plaster
  • Travel sickness: Valoid® or Scopaderm TTS®
  • Allergies, eczema, skin rashes and insect bites: antihistamine tablets and ointment
  • Broad spectrum antibiotics
  • Strerile normal saline solution: Eyegene
  • Heat exhaustion: salt or salt tablets
  • Rehydration fluid such as Sorel or Rehidrat

Other items

  • Basic first aid notes
  • Stretch bandages: 5cm, 7.5cm, 10cm
  • Triangular bandages
  • Alcohol pads to clean wounds
  • Gauze
  • Adhesive tape (2.5cm) to hold bandage pads and gauze in place
  • Scissors to cut gauze into the proper shape
  • Plasters – assorted sizes
  • Lip balm
  • Cotton swabs – keep in a small resealable plastic bag
  • Tweezers to remove splinters and thorns
  • Safety pins
  • Measuring spoons
  • Thermometer
  • Disposable rubber gloves
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Disposable aluminium foil blanket (available from outdoor and camping shops)

Travelling to a malaria area
Malaria is still endemic to tropical areas in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. As the type of malaria tablets depends on the area you will be visiting, it is very important to get updated information on whether prophylaxis is required and what the current recommendations are. Consult either your doctor or pharmacist.

The drugs are:
  • started a week beforehand
  • continued throughout the stay
  • extended for a month after leaving.
Remember that no drug therapy is completely effective in preventing malaria. In addition to taking medication, minimise your risk by including mosquito repellent in your kit and taking mosquito netting with you.

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