When packing for vacation, one thing many travellers forget (or purposefully ignore!) is a travel first aid kit. Some people think that it’s a waste of space, while others believe they’ll be able to get whatever medical supplies they need at their destination. But to answer the question of “Why pack a travel first aid kit?” you have to appreciate a first aid kit is used in case of emergency – and emergencies aren’t convenient. They occur when you least expect them – anytime of day or night and anyplace you might imagine, whether that is being away for your beach condo in Roatan, Honduras or exploring off the beaten path in Bali, Indonesia.
You might be staying in a location that has a lot of pharmacies, health clinics and stores, but how do you respond to an accident that happens in the middle of the night or while you’re on a trek in the middle of nowhere? By having a small, but useful load of supplies on hand you can administer first aid in most any situation and tide yourself over until you can get medical attention. This article will go over some things you might want to include in a travel first aid kit.
A small supply of over the counter pain relievers can come in handy in a wide variety of situations. Whether you hurt yourself, overworked your muscles, received a painful sunburn or simply have a hangover, pain relievers will come in handy. You should keep these pills in the packaging they were bought in for a couple of reasons. The first is to prove to any doubtful border agents or police officers that the pills aren’t illicit. The second is that with any kind of extensive travel, your first aid kit will be bumped around in your luggage. Blister packed pills taken out of their boxes have a tendency to split open and you may end up finding bits of broken pills throughout your luggage.
Even if you don’t think you have allergies, you might find you’re allergic to something in a foreign country. It could be tree pollen, insect bites, exotic foods or a whole host of other allergens. Without quick relief from an allergic attack you could end up having a very miserable holiday.
Obviously they’ll come in useful if you end up with a cut. Many people bring peel and stick type plasters, but you might find it more useful to bring sterile gauze and a small roll of surgical tape. This will allow you customize the bandage to any size cut and will prevent you from doubling up on your first aid supplies.
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You’ll need something to clean your cut before you apply the bandage and antiseptic wipes are perfect for the job. Alternatively you could use an antibacterial hand gel if you normally carry it anyway.
Getting a cut in a warm tropical environment is different than getting a cut somewhere with a cool, dry climate. Cuts have a tendency to stay moist and not heal properly in temperate climates. This can lead to infections. An antibacterial cream such as Polysporin will allow small cuts to heal faster and prevent infection.