Top 10 First Aid Kit Essentials For Overseas Travel From A Medical Expert

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A well-stocked first aid kit can make all the difference afterhours or in remote locations.

Whether you’re visiting a destination you know well, or a more remote location, having a well-stocked first aid kit is essential. With prescription medication, always check before travelling that the medicine is allowed in your destination. And carry the prescription with your name, which should match your passport, in its original packaging, says Dr Neil Slabbert, Chief Medical Officer (Asia-Pacific) at World Travel Protection, a leading global travel risk management organisation.
“Also, be very careful with any opiate-containing prescription pain medication, i.e., codeine or oxycodone, or cold and flu medication, containing pseudoephedrine, as even with a prescription some countries like the UAE (United Arab Emirates) do not allow travellers to carry them without prior written approval,” says Dr Slabbert.

Young man packing the bag with documents, water,food, first aid kit and other items needed to survive

Dr Neil Slabbert’s Top 10 First Aid Kit Essentials:

  1. Sticking plasters: Always useful for blisters to small cuts, but it’s worth packing extra-large ones (50x95mm / 2x4in) in case of minor wounds while seeking medical assistance.
  2. Dressings, bandages and saline solution: If travelling to rural or remote locations, saline solution may be needed if tap water is not suitable, to irrigate and clean a wound as a temporary treatment prior to getting wounds or abrasions reviewed by a health professional.
  3. Anti -Diarrhoea and Anti-Nausea Medication: Countries with poor sanitation or contaminated water can cause traveller’s diarrhoea. Depending on medication, some are available over the counter at the chemist.
  4. Electrolyte tablets: In hot climates it’s easy to get dehydrated, particularly if you get a traveller’s tummy. Avoid high sugar containing energy drinks or flat carbonated drinks – the high sugar content can worsen diarrhoea.
  5. Painkillers: Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are both useful painkillers, but it can be worth taking both as they have different properties.
  6. Insect Bite Cream: Choose a 1% hydrocortisone cream for itchy insect bites.
  7. Antihistamine: Whether it is insect bite, or a reaction to allergens, having an antihistamine with you can be invaluable. However, do check the labels, as some can make you drowsy, and should not be taking if you are driving.
  8. Triangular bandage and Elastic Crepe bandage: Very useful to support a sprained ankle or wrist prior to seeking medical attention, and the triangular bandage can be used to keep the wrist and forearm elevated.
  9. Scissors and tweezers: Always useful, but you should take them out of hand luggage if flying and put them in checked baggage. Remember a small magnifying glass too if your eyes are poor.
  10. Antibiotics: If travelling to a high-risk area for traveller’s diarrhoea, e.g., Asia, South America and Africa, appropriate antibiotics can be considered. This should be in consultation with your GP or a travel doctor as antibiotics can have drug interactions with other medications.

Dr Neil Slabbert said: “In case you need emergency help, make sure you have the number for the country’s emergency services to hand. Keep in mind that the number might change depending on the country. In Europe the emergency number is 112 for instance, although not for non-EU countries.”

hiking equipment with a backpack, hiking shoes, cans of food, and for safety, a first aid kit and a GPS tracker

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Whether you or your staff are travelling to major events around the world, your requirements might go further than these important festival safety tips. World Travel Protection is a 24/7 travel and medical assistance provider that helps support its customers when medical, travel and security emergencies arise. Our Travel Risk Management Solutions help provide travellers with all the support they need pre- and during travel via our portal, app, and in-house experts. Fill out the form below to find out more.