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What to Pack in Your First Aid Kit If You’re Going Abroad

It’s a common question when you set out on a trip; do I need to take a travel first aid kit? OK, maybe not if you’re off to gay Paris for the weekend, but in areas where medical facilities aren’t on the same level as in the UK it’s a sensible question. It’s always a good idea to have first aid equipment when travelling, but if visits are planned to remote areas, where medical facilities may be inadequate, you should take a sterile travel first aid kit containing needles and syringes.

In many countries rates of infection with blood borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C are higher than in the UK. Some countries do not have the same standards as in the UK and equipment used may not be adequately sterilised, blood used for transfusions may not be screened for HIV, Hepatitis B and C. In these situations, a sterile travel first aid kit may prove vital if you are seriously injured.

Minor injuries:

You should be carrying adequate supplies so you can self-treat common traveller ailments, such as cuts, grazes and burns. In hot climates where there may be dust or poor hygiene you are more susceptible to infection. Wounds should be cleaned immediately, covered and if any signs of infection develop you should seek urgent medical help.

Insurance:

Even if you are ultra ultra careful and manage to avoid any sort of dangerous situation, accidents can still happen and you can still fall ill. You might fall off your bike, slip off a kerb and twist your ankle, or just catch a good old fashioned tummy bug. Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that will adequately cover you in the event that you get sick or injured. Pre-existing medical conditions must be disclosed to your insurance company, as non-disclosure could invalidate your claim.

Make sure your insurance covers you for all the activities you wish to experience on your travels and includes cover for medical evacuation, personal injury and terrorist activity. A frightening statistic is that only 60% of insurance policies cover terrorism, so make sure you read the small print and have adequate cover.

What does my travel first aid kit need to contain?

The exact contents will vary depending on your specific requirements. Things to consider adding to your travel first aid kit include:

Emergency Medications: antibiotics for wound infections, pain killers, prescribed medications should all be kept in their original packaging.

Diarrhoea Treatment: oral rehydration salts, especially for children. Antidiarrhoeal tablets can be purchased from your local pharmacy or travel clinic. Alcohol hand gel can be useful for when there are no hand washing facilities available.

Injuries: gauze swabs and dressings.

Lotions: ointments to treat eye infections can be purchased from your local pharmacy, an antibiotic ointment for skin infections such as fucidin and a cream to apply to burns may be useful. An antihistamine cream is useful for treating rashes and insect bites.

Equipment: tweezers, safety pins, sterile gloves, a digital thermometer, tick removers, scissors.

Mosquitoes: mosquito nets, insect repellents (especially if travelling to areas where malaria and other mosquito borne diseases are present).

Sterile Equipment: sterile needles and syringes, intravenous cannula for a drip, suture material for sewing up skin. These should be in a specially designed kit. It’s advisable to get these in a specially prepared sterile first aid kit. This should contain a declaration signed by a doctor that the syringes are intended for medical use. This should reassure customs officials that you are not a drug addict and, in an emergency, can also be used to explain to foreign doctors what the kit is for.

Documentation: first aid book, details of blood group and regular medication, copies of prescriptions if carrying prescribed medication.

  1. kaiperry73 posted this