Getting ready for a family holiday? Traveling quite far away from home? If so, make sure that you plan your journey well in advance and do a research of the area you are travelling to. This is extremely important since you will be able to take preventive measures in order to keep your family safe and healthy.
Smart packing means that your travel health kit is well-prepared and easily reachable. Health-related problems during travels (e.g. diarrhea, infections) especially when kids are concerned, can be disturbing. However, a well-planned kit will help you deal with these issues. Here is the list of things you should bear in mind while preparing for a travel.
In case of any medical emergency, have a card that contains the following information:
- Name and address of the health care provider in your home country;
- Name, address and phone number of a family member or a friend in your home country;
- Address and phone number of your present accommodation while being on holiday;
- Address and phone number of the nearest embassy of your home country;
- Emergency phone number from your travel health insurance provider.
First Aid Necessities and Medications
First of all, make sure that you are familiar with all the items that are included in the first aid kit and that you know how to use them. The basic first aid kit should include the following:
- Adhesive bandages of different sizes
- Antiseptic wound cleanser
- Band aids, various sizes
- CaviWipes of various sizes (a surface disinfectant, effective against TB, HBV, HCV, viruses, bacteria and fungi)
- Hand sanitizer (alcohol based)
- Oral rehydration salts (to help treat dehydration caused by travelers’ diarrhea)
- Scissors and safety pins
- Tweezers (to be able to remove ticks and splinters).
Consult your doctor before leaving about the necessary medications and make sure that you obtained all the necessary information concerning dosage and the amount of each medication you should bring. Your travel health kit should include the following:
- Prescription for medication you regularly use;
- Allergy medication – antihistamine or epinephrine prescribed by your doctor;
- Anti-diarrhea medication;
- Anti-motion sickness medication;
- Antibacterial creams for wounds to prevent infection;
- Hydrocortisone cream (1%) for treating itching caused by poison ivy or bug bites;
- Flu and Cold medications (including cough suppressants and throat lozenges);
- Ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin in case of pain and fever
(*Important note: Aspirin should not be given to children and teens under 17 without prior consultation with the doctor);
- Stomach medication;
- Depending on the destination, include specific medications, e.g. for malaria, hepatitis A, B, or high-altitude sickness.
Vaccination and other safety tips
If you have decided to travel somewhere exotic and you are doing it for the first time, bear in mind that you need to do a thorough research concerning obligatory vaccination and items you need to take with you. Perhaps you will need some additional vaccinations depending on the weather conditions in the country you are travelling to.
If you are traveling to sub-Saharan Africa or northern South America, for instance, you will definitely need the yellow fever vaccine. Important information is that most of the vaccines should be given at least one month prior to travel, so make sure you visit a doctor on time. Also, check carefully what type of weather awaits you and prepare accordingly. If you are going to spend a lot of time outside in the sun, e.g. sunbathing or sightseeing, your travel health kit should also include:
- Sunscreen (with a Sun Protection Factor of at least 15) and aloe gel for sunburns
- Insect repellent containing DEET
- Water purification filter or tablets
- Saline eye drops
The last but not least piece of advice is that you should always carry the proof of your health insurance coverage, as well as the copy of your and your family members’ immunization record. Remember that medical and health standards can significantly differ from those in your home country, so there is one more reason to be extra careful while preparing your travel health kit. Stay safe and enjoy.