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Checklist for Travelers' Medical Box Essentials
How well-prepared are you for smaller health problems that might occur during your travels? What should you bring in your emergency medical bag?
This is a short overview I put together based on years of travels and... health incidents and accidents.
Source: © iStock.com/mipan
I travel around with a tiny med-emergency bag with everything vital I think I might require during a trip if more or less serious health incidents occur.
My essentials don't include special items like drugs against contagious or exotic diseases, region-specific illnesses (like malaria, for instance), but anything basic I might find use of, anywhere in the World.
I was surprised to find out that most people simply don't bring any medical items with them.
In the best case, they have band aid and and some pills - rather insufficient.
Ladies are more conscious, they tend to be better prepared, while (WE!) men don't pay much attention to potential health risks.
At best, we men are livin' on the edge with either nothing or just a few pills and some band aid.
In my case: a few past accidents and illnesses turned me into a more savvy "travel medi-bug". Without exaggerating. Without becoming paranoid.
It's better to be prepared and it's better to prevent than get shocked by getting horizontal on a hospital bed.
Not many things are worse than getting sick abroad.
Strong cold, long-lasting cutting joint pain or a wound infection can lead to serious conditions.
Get prepared for the worst and hope for the best - here are a few items I like taking:
It's only a mild pain relief and won't treat a strong headache, but it's a great anti-inflammatory and it facilitates blood-flow. Although: excessive intake of aspirin will slow the wound healing process.
Aspirine is effective against headaches and eye pain caused by tiring flights.
Precaution: never take aspirine if you have the flu or any contagious disease. The side effects can be potentially deadly.
#2 Pain relief pills
Against strong acute aches, pains including: strong headaches, joint- or tooth aches.
I find special pain relief pills stronger than aspirine and the tend to have effect much faster. For headaches and any other acute pain, don't rely on aspirin.
#3 Anti inflammatory pills
There are various pills available, but focus on buying overall/general anti-inflammatories. A big name in the industry is Nurofen, containing ibuprofen.
It is not only an anti-inflammatory, but it also acts as pain relief and they tend to have a strong effect in treating back aches, joint pain, headaches...
#4 Pills against food/drink poisoning
I've found that pills containing chlorquinaldol are most effective against bacterial poisoning.
Chlorquinaldol strongly disinfects and its effect can be felt as soon as 15 minutes after swallowing it.
However, you should very rarely take this king of medicine because of its side-effects.
#5 Digestion-stimulating herbal pills
These are 100 % natural, made from herbs and they're not considered medicine. They stimulate digestion, "loosening up space" in case you have that "concrete belly" feeling.
One particular herbal pill I take contains the following herbs: Chelidonium Majus, Hypericum Perforatum, Cynara Scolymus, Humulus Lupulus, Valeriana Officinalis.
#6 Propolis tincture
Honey bees produce a brown sticky substance called propolis, which dissolves in alcohol. This is considered a "wonder medicine" and it's 100 % natural.
Swallow a few drops of propolis tincture to prevent bacterial food poisoning and to reduce inflammations or, to treat cold and especially a sore through.
#7 Antibiotic ointment with pain relief
For treating wounds, scrapes in order to prevent infection.
A humble tiny wound can get seriously infected and I've had two bad experiences in the past, one ending with an operation.
The best ointment I've found on the market is Neosporin (containing antibiotics), which comes in several variants. Treats scrapes, bruises, cuts, burns, even animal bites.
#8 Ointment against joint pain and back ache
Even if you never have any, traveling can pull it out of you. The very first times I had such pains were during or after taking mountain hikes.
One of the most common type of ointment contains diclofenac. But, according to my experience, its effect is rather weak.
Besides diclofenac, I found the following brands (containing entirely different ingredients), much more effective: Finalgon and Fastum Gel.
#9 Solutions against muscle pain
No matter how sporty and how experienced you are, you can still experience cutting muscle pain.
One of the times I overloaded myself during running exercise. And, what in fact helped me get rid of the pain were the Mg + B6 pills.
The Magensium pills were in fact a lot more effective than treatments with diclofenac gel.
#10 Band aid
Bring various sizes and in large quantities. In case you suffer a serious injury, you will require to change the band aid on the wound from time to time.
#11 Bandage strips
Band aid might not be enough, because you might need to secure the wound and protect it from further injury. In the unhappy situation of having larger wounds, bandage strips will come in handy.
#12 Don't leave your thermometer
Because persistent fever can signal a serious illness and, if accompanied by other symptoms, you might have to see a doctor and take use of that travel insurance (which you have, don't you?).
I use a classical old thermometer made of glass with mercury in its tube. These are more reliable than the modern digital thermometers.
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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