Thursday, October 13, 2011

First Aid Kit Essentials for Travelers

One of the things that can ruin a trip is catching a disease while on the road. This is especially true if your version of travel involves a lot of physical activities: sightseeing, hiking, swimming, going out at night, etc. All things you cannot do if you are indisposed. Luckily, in the two years that I have been doing trips, I have never been sick. I may break that record though seeing as I’ll be gone for more than a week this time. Still, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Photo by Jamiesrabbits | CC BY

But for good measure, best be prepared. Fortunately for me, I personally know a doctor, a registered physician, by the name of Dr. Cindy Sotalbo, who is used to dealing with common tourist ailments having been assigned to Boracay in the Philippines a number of times. For my six-month backpacking trip, she recommended a few things that should be present in my first aid kit. The essentials, the must-haves, in any traveler's first aid kit. Let me share her recommendations here.

FeverParacetamol at 500mg capsule every 4 hours
AllergyLoratadine at 10mg once a day (less sedating, i.e., no drowse)
Cetirizine at 10mg once a day
Acute Gastroenteritis (more common in third world countries)Oral rehydration salts
Hyoscine-N-butyl bromide at 10 mg as needed or up to 3x a day (for stomach cramps)
Ciprofloxacin at 500mg 2 x a day for 3-7 days (for traveler’s diarrhea or Delhi Belly)
Metronidazole at 500mg 3 x a day for 5 days (for traveler’s diarrhea or Delhi Belly)
Omeprazole at 20mg once a day for stomachache or hyperacidity
PainIbuprofen at 400mg every 6 hours as needed (full stomach)
Mefenamic Acid at 500mg every 6 hours as needed (full stomach)
Colds/URTIParacetamol + Chlorphenamine + Phenypronalomine capsules/tablets every 6 hours for 3 days (flu-like symptoms)

And as no one else knows your body more than you do, It will probably best to take the medicines for your recurring ailments. In my case, I need antacids for my heart burns. Also, in very rare cases, I take meclizine (Bonamine) to ward off dizziness while traveling. Other first aid kit items I consider essential:

First Aid for Cuts & WoundsCottons
Povidone Iodine (Betadine)
Rubbing AlcoholServes so many purposes. Really essential.
Topical Analgesic/ Medicated PatchA.k.a. Salonpas. For aching muscles. And there will be plenty of those during and after my Himalayan trek.
Embrocation Medicine OilA.k.a. White Flower. For general dizziness. I think.
Anti-mosquito SprayNeed I say more?

Finally, a very important reminder from Dr. Cindy: If symptoms persist, consult a doctor. Safe and healthy travels to all!

(Special thanks to Dr. Cindy Sotalbo for allowing me to write a post on this topic. Thanks, doc!)

Do you have any other suggestions on how to stay healthy or on restoring one's health while on the road? Do you have any travel-related medical concerns? Dr. Cindy might just lend us her medical expertise!

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