A few of us remember a time when planning for a trip abroad meant packing your bag, driving to the airport, and boarding the plane. No security lines, no restrictions on liquids, no hassles. Today, it’s a new world, and you need to know the new rules of traveling. You’ve probably spent considerable time planning, saving for, and looking forward to your holiday so the last thing you want is to get sick on your travels.
It’s best to pack some first aid essentials and medicines so you can stay safe and healthy while overseas.
Inside your travel health kit:
You’d need to pack some sunscreen with an SPF factor of 30 minimum if you are traveling in the Summer months. Make sure to get one that is labelled “broad – spectrum” this would protect you from both UA and UVB rays. I take some moderate strength steroid cream which I do find helps if I do get burnt.
A first aid kit is useful for minor injuries. Pack one with the likes of band aids, gauze squares, non-adherent dressings, bandages, fabric plasters, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers.
Some insect repellant would also help protect you from any mosquito borne diseases in tropical destinations. Mosquitoes usually bite between dusk and dawn, and are attracted to humans because of our body heat, smell and the carbon dioxide we breathe out. Researchers shows that products that contains the chemical DEET are the most effective insect repellents and is safe when used correctly. DEET products are available in sprays, roll-ons, sticks and creams. Products containing at least 30% DEET are recommended for malaria prevalent countries.
Basic medicines such as antihistamines for any itching or inflammation caused by allergies and insect bites. Pain medication pills like paracetamol or ibuprofen which can help you when you’re in pain. Laxative and anti-diarrheoa tablets are very useful when it comes to aiding stomach aches and worries that invariably occur when travelling in developing countries.
Now before you leave:
Find out which travel health vaccinations you may need for you trip and make sure that they do not interfere with your current medication. Most vaccinations need to be given at least 2 weeks before you leave so that they are effective by the time you commence your trip. Ask your doctor if your personal medications need to adapt to different time zones and weather conditions. Learn how to safely store medication and check if it requires refrigeration. Use insulated wallets or containers during transit (ask your pharmacist for recommendations) and make arrangements at your destination for safe storage. Keep in mind that extreme heat also impacts the medicine’s effectiveness.
Bring enough medicine to last the whole trip; ask your doctor for an extra supply in case of an emergency. Pack your medication in your carry-on bag and an extra quantity inside your checked luggage.
Bring a copy of your original prescription and, if possible, keep the medication in its original packaging. Ensure that it is clearly labelled with your full passport name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. These things are important especially since different countries have different rules and laws when it comes to medicines.