Travel first aid kit
Be prepared for most travel emergencies this festive season.
The contents of a travel first aid kit depends on the destination of travel. If you're travelling to another country, find out whether or not your destination has any restrictions regarding the type and amount of medication you want to take along.
Certain European countries, for example have restrictions on medication containing codeine. Include medication needed for travel in a particular country. This may include malaria or chlorine tablets if you will be going to places like most parts of Africa, where fresh water is not available. If travelling to areas where snake bites are a factor, 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 Caribbean 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 is 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®
- Basic first aid notes
- Stretch/crepe bandages: 5cm, 7.5cm and 10cm
- Triangular bandages
- Alcohol pads to clean wounds
- Sterile gauze
- Adhesive tape (2.5cm) to hold bandage pads and gauze in place
- Scissors to cut gauze into the necessary shape
- Plaster in assorted sizes
- Lip balm
- Cotton swabs - keep in a small, resealable plastic bag
- Tweezers to remove splinters and thorns
- Safety pins
- Measuring spoons
- Disposable latex/rubber gloves
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Disposable aluminium foil blanket (available from outdoor and camping shops)
Travelling to a malaria area:
Unfortunately, malaria is still endemic to tropical areas in Africa, Asia along with 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 or not prophylaxis is required and what the current recommendations are.
Consult either your doctor, pharmacist or a travel clinic.
The drugs are:
- Started a week beforehand
- Continued throughout the stay
- Extended for a month after leaving
Remember: 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 nets with you.
Do you have any tips, tricks or advice from your first aid travel kits? Have you travelled to an African country with your kids where they needed special medication? Share your stories with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish them. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.