Gear Guide: First Aid for travellers

4 Jul

Having ended up in hospital twice while overseas and dealing with a number of annoying (minor) injuries and illnesses I’ve always made an effort to take some form of first aid kit overseas with me. The difficult part is finding a balance between too little and too much with the constant need to try to keep traveling as light as possible. I’ve heard a lot of people argue that most first aid stuff you can generally buy overseas- true but when you have a bruised, swollen foot from falling down a staircase it is not particularly enjoyable to try and mime anti-inflammatories to the chemist in Indonesia (true story and they gave me caffeine tablets?). On the other hand the first time I travelled to Asia my doctor gave me a whole goody bag of every type of sample medication under the sun most of which I never used.

So what is in my first aid kit? I have a small one which comes everywhere and mostly has wound care stuff in it. Band aids, gauze, splinter probes and antiseptic wipes. It’s always in my daypack even when I’m at home and is very useful for everyday problems.

First Aid Kit sans medication

I also travel with

–          Adhesive sports strapping tape- good for supporting twisted fingers, knees, ankles etc. Also has many other uses like taping up windows and fixing broken back packs. Versatile stuff

–          Conforming bandage

–          Anti-inflammatories (see story above), paracetamol for headaches or after a night tasting too much of the local beverages and immodium because sometime your stomach just doesn’t agree with that nasi goreng

–          Betadine- After winding up in hospital with a tropical infection this stuff is a really good idea, keep wounds clean and disinfected in the tropics to avoid the hospital trip.

–          Malaria medication- depends where you are going and you really should consult a doctor. Sadly Doxycycline makes me sick so I have to go for the more expensive Malarone which luckily has very few side effects except some really weird vivid dreams.

–          Any prescriptions you might take at home- pretty self-explanatory.

I was always told the 6 Ps “perfect preparation prevents piss poor performance” this is particularly relevant when traveling, take risks and have adventures but look after yourself! It’s always much more enjoyable to be healthy when you’re on the road.


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