It’s a very good idea to have a small medicine box that can serve as a first aid kit when you go abroad, particularly if you are a frequent traveller. The last thing that anyone needs to happen when they are travelling in a foreign country, be it for business or pleasure, is to fall prey to petty human ailments. The first thing you need to do therefore, is to get hold of a suitable container for your first aid kit. This does not necessarily have to be a special case of some kind bought specifically for the purpose, but can instead just be an ordinary amenities bag.
What you need to include in a travel medical kit
The heart of any medical kit designed for overseas travel is a supply of basic health remedies that can be purchased over the counter, for use in the event that you fall prey to a common illness while you are abroad. You will of course want to bring any specific prescription medications that you are currently taking, but general remedies can be a big help if you catch a cold or develop a headache while on your trip.
This preparation will take just a few minutes, and is certainly a lot less hassle than having to try to explain a minor medical complaint in a foreign language. Make sure that all such pills are kept in separate, clearly marked containers however, in order to avoid any confusion, or accidentally mixing up medications. There is even the possibility that pills could be confiscated by customs if they are not easily identifiable in their original packaging. It might also be a good idea to place a small card containing your medical history inside the kit, for reference in the event that you fall seriously ill while on your trip. Make sure your medical kit is a slimmed down version of your medicine cabinet at home.
Medications that are a good idea to include in your medical kit include the likes of ibuprofen, paracetamol, pseudoephedrine, cetirizine or loratadine, loperamide and diphenhydramine.
Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory that can help to treat fever, headaches, sunburn and sore muscles; the latter often occurs with travellers after sitting in an airplane seat for several hours. Paracetamol is also ideal for fever and pain, particularly headaches, and can be combined with ibuprofen to make a very useful pair of additions to your medical kit.
Cetirizine and loratadine are antihistamines; these can be extremely useful for someone who has an allergic reaction to the likes of pollen, scent, dust or insect bites, and they do not cause drowsiness. Loperamide is also very useful as an anti-diarrhoeal though it is important to closely read the label. Diphenhydramine is another antihistamine, though this one will induce sleepiness, which can be handy for those who do not want to be kept up by their ailments, or may be worried about jet lag.
Travel can be very tiring and is often filled with food that is decidedly lacking in nutrition, which means that multivitamins can be a big help while overseas. Other good ideas for items to be included in your travel medical kit include the likes of antacid to settle an upset stomach, sunscreen (something that can be vital if you heading overseas to a country that has a lot of sunshine) and lip balm, which can greatly help with the cracked lips that are an almost inevitable by-product of travel.
Make certain that the sunscreen that you pack has the letters UVA displayed in a circular logo, and has four star UVA protection rating at a minimum, in order to offer an adequate degree of protection against UVB. In some circumstances lip balm can even be made use of as a hair product or emergency sunscreen.
Band-aids or other plasters are also an essential component of any travel medical kit, while other good suggestions include antiseptic, wound-cleaning gauze, bandage tape, tweezers, a good thermometer, insect repellent as well as treatment for insect bites, condoms and a small pair of scissors. If travelling to certain countries including tropical areas, rehydration sachets, water disinfectant, a mosquito net and anti-malaria medication may also be appropriate.