So usually when traveling these are the things I take. But, I will say sometimes I don’t take any because I am a bit irresponsible and because I travel in Asia often, I can afford to buy this stuff as I need it.
5 Items in My Travel First Aid Kit:
1. Band-Aids. Just bring a few for the occasional blister or cut, not a whole space-sucking box.
2. Cortisone cream for bug bites, mysterious rashes, bed bugs, scabies, hives due to finding out you’re allergic to all kinds of new things… You will be shocked by the number of mysterious rashes you get while traveling. I don’t think it’s gross because I’m so used to it, plus I’m a nurse, I’ve seen grosser! Actually, I have a weird rash on my leg now, possibly from a tick I pulled off but you never know!
3. Birth control. A pill, condoms, whatever it is you use. Guys need to do this as well; it’s not just a female responsibility. Tip: If you use popular pills like Yaz/Yasmin, OR generics that you don’t mind interchanging- it is about 8 dollars over the counter in developing and third world countries that sell birth control. Once you quit your job, keep in mind you won’t have medical insurance to pay for your pills.
4. Benadryl. Not just for allergies, but as a sleep aid. Tip: You can buy anything over the counter if you choose the right counter. Just be safe with drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Ambien. Don’t drink on them.
5. Neosporin for cuts and other abrasions if you know exactly what they are. Tip: Keep in mind; contrary to the belief of the child in you, it is not safe for everything. If you put this goop on a rash that’s contagious it’s just going to spread it around making the rash bigger.
5 Things you’ll notice I don’t have in my bag:
1. Tylenol/Paracetamol because I don’t like to take them. If you use these often definitely bring some, and if you need more buy them cheaper abroad.
2. Malaria pills. I really hate to take a pill every day because it feels unnatural, plus the side effects are not nice (craziness, weird dreams, sunburn). This is a controversial topic and you are better to trust what you doctor says. I have many friends here in India that have had malaria multiple times and act like it’s a stubbed toe. At the same time, I treated more cases that I can count in Africa, and I’ve seen babies die from it. Bottom line, ff it’s caught early you will be okay. Personally, I believe the research that says the anti-malarial pills can hide the real symptoms. I’ve had dengue fever and from what I’ve been told, that’s much worse in symptoms so I’ll take my chances.
3. Imodium. Here’s the thing you must remember: if it’s coming out and its not normal, it’s better out then in. Try not to take anti-diarrheal meds. If you are really sick and dehydrated you need to go to the hospital and get fluids. This has happened to me multiple times. I just love foreign hospitals…
Thailand, 4 hours on fluids, plus pain and nausea medicine… total cost: 120 dollars (compared to U.S. cheap, but compared to India, it’s a fortune!)
4. Laxatives. If it’s not coming out try to change the diet or the amount of stress you’re dealing with. Your body will be out of whack while traveling and it’s best not to induce diarrhea.
5. Ciprofloxacin– chemists want to give this out like candy. I used to eat it like candy. Every time I got a case of Delhi Belly I was taking a cycle of cipro. Guess what? Now cipro is like candy in my body and it doesn’t work at all for me. On top of that, most bacteria in India are now resistant to cipro. It is also best to go to a doctor, get a stool sample, and find out what bacteria you have. Take a pill accordingly. Cipro is for Lower GI infections, and I’ve seen people taking it for sore throats!
More Medical Tips for your Travels:
Any pills you need abroad you will find, the pills just may have a different name. If you are going somewhere expensive take what you need for seasickness, headaches, allergies, antacids, etc. But, of course, they are SO much cheaper in developing/third world countries. I get 10 Ibuprofen for 10 Rupees (that’s 16 cents).
typical Indian chemist
Taking more may lose you money in the end.
The problem is when you take all the supplies you could possibly need, they are at your hotel, in your bag. You are out and someone gets cut, steps on a nail, or worse. What do you do? Go to the nearest chemist and buy when you need. Now you’ve bought everything twice. Not good! For items I didn’t list above, it’s best to wait until you need it to buy it.
Don’t think just because it’s not your home country that the doctors don’t know what they’re doing. BUT don’t think that chemists know as much as our pharmacists; sometimes they hand you medication that makes absolutely no sense. This might be because your English description makes no sense to them or because they weren’t trained properly.
For minor complications, skip the doctor fee and go straight to the chemist (marked with a green plus sign). You don’t need prescriptions to buy medication in most countries abroad.
Also use the book they have to read what the pill is they are selling you.
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