If you’re planning a big backpacking trip away this summer then it’s a good idea to think about bringing some medical supplies of your own so that you’re prepared for any number of bumps, bites, scrapes and bruises along the way. These don’t have to be big bulky kits, or anything too extensive, but preparing a few select items to bring along with you could just save the day while you’re out there!
Remember, you should always seek proper medical advice for anything worse than these simple complaints. Here’s a list of some suggestions for things to take with you.
First Aid Kit Checklist
- Extra brownie points for bringing a good first aid book! You can now get these in handy pocket-sized versions, meaning there’s no excuse not to know your basic first aid.
- Tummy trouble? Changing your environment and/or diet when you travel can take a toll on your stomach. Pick up some over-the-counter constipation and anti-diarrhoea tablets from your local Superdrug to make things a little easier. These are usually only suitable for older children and adults, so if you’re travelling with young children ask about getting some liquid alternatives like fluid-replacement powder for rehydration instead.
- Rough and Tumble: whatever age, there’s no vaccine against general clumsiness! Stock up on fabric plasters, bandages, non-adhesive dressings and gauze in order to cover yourself against all manner of minor mishaps.
- Ouch! Insect bites can be painful and annoying. A simple antihistamine cream should soothe the itch, and you can buy all manner of insect repellent from Superdrug stores and good travel equipment shops. See our page on insect bites for more info.
- Don’t sport the ‘lobster look’ on holiday this year! Be sure to bring plenty of suncream and after-sun lotion (just in case).
- Basic supplies: no need to stock for your own mini pharmacy, but taking a choice selection of pills and medication is a sensible idea. Bring some antacids for indigestion, ibuprofen for swelling, and paracetamol to soothe that sore head on the morning after!
- If you’re likely to be travelling far away from decent medical facilities, talk to your GP or someone at your local Superdrug Travel Clinic about bringing your own supply of antibiotics. Always follow their expert medical advice on how and when to take them. Likewise, if you’re travelling somewhere you know will have poor healthcare facilities, think about taking a sterile pack for the prevention of blood-borne infections.
- If you’re jetting off somewhere with a high risk of malaria then go to see someone at the Superdrug Travel Clinic well in advance of your trip to organise the appropriate vaccines and medicine. You might need to take preventative prophylactics while you’re out there, and bring emergency treatment in case of infection.
- Gulp! See our page on water treatment for some handy gadgets you can buy to sterilise your drinking water on the go, and pack some sterilising tablets in your sponge bag for emergencies.
Are you taking anything for a pre-existing condition? Remember to pack enough of any personal medication for the whole trip because you can’t always rely on getting things while you’re out there. Often, medication will confusingly be known by different names in different countries.
Ask your GP for a print-out copy of your prescription plan to take with you as evidence that these are for private, medical use. If you’re planning on bringing sterile equipment for the prevention of blood-borne infections then you’ll also need to bring a signed medical certificate from your GP.
Travel Health Insurance
A full health insurance certificate is essential, even if you’re just away for a few days at a time. Good health isn’t something to play with, especially while you’re travelling away from home. For your own peace of mind make sure you’re fully up-to-date with travel health insurance before you travel.
As in everyday life, we’d recommend a good dosage of common sense as your best protection on holiday. Make sure you’re prepared for all that life might throw at you by following this simple checklist for holiday first aid, and speak to one of our expert medical advisors at the Superdrug Travel Clinics for any more specific information and travel healthcare tips!