Medical Supplies For Travellers - Do You Know What to Bring?By Adriana Noton
Medical supplies for travellers fall into three categories, prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs and non-pharmaceutical medical supplies such as bandages, sutures, syringes, needles, etc.
What you need to take and how much you need to spend depend on how far from home you are planning to venture and, if travelling abroad, to which countries. What activities you have planned will also influence your decisions. If water sports such as boating or kayaking feature in your travels, then waterproofing is essential. Another consideration is how many people are travelling as will, naturally, any pre-existing medical conditions.
For individual adventure trips and activities involving water, a waterproof minimum individual kit containing plasters, butterfly closures, sterile gauze, tape, moleskin, safety pins and various wipes for bee stings, itch relief and cuts and scrapes might prove useful. This would be a good place to carry any personal medications or inhalers that might be required. These cost around GBP 10.00.
A basic first aid kit to keep in your vehicle for medium to long journeys would contain larger numbers of the items in the individual kit plus a vehicle sticker, disposable gloves, eyewash pods and a foil blanket. A kit containing these items for around ten people would be around GBP 17.00 or 18.00.
Bigger adventures mean bigger injuries, so a first aid kit for a more ambitious vacation might include items like blister plasters, zinc oxide tape, burn gel, over-the-counter painkillers of different types (some people cannot take aspirin or NSAIDs like ibuprofen), a forehead thermometer, wound closure strips, scissors, tweezers, and powderless vinyl gloves. These run to around GBP 16-18.
An extended kit for ten people might contain everything in the 'bigger adventure' kit, with the addition of a triangular bandage, sick bags, an instant cold pack and sun cream. This will cost around GBP 25.00.
For travel to remote areas or to third world countries, doctors with experience in these areas recommend taking scalpels, silk suture, hypodermic needles and syringes. Mosquito nets and water purification tablets might also come in handy in certain circumstances.
Always take more than enough prescription medication with you in its original packaging. It is a good idea to keep a small supply for immediate use separate from your main stock. This can be as simple as using one small and one medium sized bag. It is a good idea to keep copies of prescriptions with you for border inspections. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) have produced guidelines and information about specific countries regarding transporting medicines that affect the central nervous system (CNS). Certain over-the-counter painkillers containing small amounts of codeine are available over the counter in Great Britain but are not available in Belgium and may even be confiscated by customs officers in some countries, so it is essential that the traveller check details if they are planning to carry any CNS medicines with them to a foreign country. Limited amounts may be permissible provided it is accompanied by suitable documentation.
When travelling to a foreign country, always check with your doctor and ascertain from that country's embassy what the regulations are before setting out on your journey.
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