03 Aug Packing List: Travel Health Kit
Packing can become quite complicated and packing to stay healthy on your trip can sometimes be overlooked. Traveling to exotic destinations that require specialized medications makes it seem as though all you have is a mobile pharmacy and no room for clothes in your suitcase.
To make healthy packing easier, here are some essentials for all your travel health needs. This list can be tailored for any adventure from a weekend hike to months trekking through Africa.
• Adhesive tape
• Cotton swabs
• Anti-itch cream
• Ace bandage
• Anti-fungal cream
• Disposable gloves
• Aloe gel for sunburns
• Sunscreen (≥15 SPF)
• Insect repellent
• Oral rehydration salts
• Oral thermometer
• Pain and fever reduction (Acetaminophen, Aspirin and Ibuprofen)
• Anti-diarrhea medication
• Antacid tablets
• Sore throat and cough formula lozenges
• Eye drops
• Sinus decongestants
• Anti-motion sickness medication
• Birth control/condoms
• Ciprofloxacin (This is my miracle drug for dysentery and can be prescribed before hand by your doctor or bought in most pharmacies abroad)
• Malaria medications (Mefloquine, Doxycycline, Malarone…)
• Malaria treatment (Coartem)
• Medication to prevent or treat high-altitude illness
• Iodine tablets (Water purification tablets)
• Sterile Surgical kit (normally not on the standard list but if you need medical attention in a developing country it is best to have your own sterilized kit if you need a suture)
A great tip I learned in Peace Corps is packing medications in small plastic bags labeled with the name, dosage and instructions on the outside to reduce that extra bulk.
Before you leave make sure to check the CDC website for health advisories in your destination country. It is also recommended to register with the US embassy in case of a medical emergency so that your family can be notified. Also don’t forget to update and pack your WHO immunization card!
Healthy and safe travels!
KARA ROGERS is a freelance writer and global health consultant. When she is not reading about global health policy and programs, she spends most of her time dealing with a permanent case of wanderlust. Kara has always had a love affair with Africa and has recently returned stateside after living in Rwanda for the past two years. You can follow her on Twitter @kararogers.