All you need is a few pieces of clothing and a little bit of sunshine for your vacation, right? Well, that’s if everything goes perfectly. But just like when you get blindsided by an accident or illness close to home, things can happen just as easily— if not more easily— while you’re traveling to unknown territories. You can get stung by insects, cut your leg, catch a cold, get a migraine— really anything can happen. The question is, how can you be prepared to handle whatever comes your way? As an emergency room, we’ve seen and heard it all, so we want to prepare you with some essential items to have ready in your first aid kit, especially if you’re traveling alone and won’t have anyone to send to the store while you’re stuck on a toilet or unable to get out of bed.
Essential Items for Your First Aid Kit
#1. Prescription Medications
The most important medications to have with you are the ones prescribed by your doctor. Medications, like epinephrine, make the top of our first aid kit list because they can potentially save your life (even if you don’t think you’ll ever use your epipen!). If you’re traveling to developing countries, it’s also important you talk to your doctor about vaccines or any important information you should know about more serious diseases like cholera, dengue fever, measles and malaria
#2 Over-the-Counter Medications
Being prepared with over-the-counter medications can also save you from a hellish day or night. Some of the most common illnesses when traveling involve traveler’s diarrhea, heat stroke, sunburn, sinus infections, and influenza. Constipation can also become a problem because of disrupted schedules. That said, here are some helpful over-the-counter medications you should have on hand:
- Antihistamine for allergies and congestion
- Anti-motion sickness medication
- Laxative for constipation
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief or fever, especially if you’re traveling with kids or are prone to headaches.
Other Important First Aid Kit Items
- Aloe for sunburns
- Oral rehydration solution packets
- Water purification tablets if traveling to undeveloped countries
- Bandage, gauze, and alcohol wipes for injuries
For more health topics dealing with health and travel, check out our articles about Traveling with Diabetes and Motion Sickness.