I get yourself a large amount of questions about healthcare on the road. How do i avoid getting sick? What now ? about vaccines? What goes on when I really do get sick? Since I’m not really a doctor, I don’t like giving medical advice beyond a few general tips so I’ve asked Mike Huxley, a rn and author of your blog Bemused Backpacker to pen a few articles on health insurance and safety on the highway. This can be the first in a string about them.
An initial aid kit can be an essential device on any gap year or round-the-world adventure, but most travelers aren’t sure just what they have to take with them. So here’s an expert guide on how best to pack an initial aid kit and what things to use in it.
I have already been traveling the world for nearly fifteen years now, and in every that time I’ve patched up more travelers’ scrapes and sprains than I could remember. Before I was a nurse this generally just involved offering the casual plaster (adhesive bandage or Band-Aid for you personally Americans) and laughing at a travel companion’s misfortune, as guys have a tendency to do to one another.
But since qualifying to are a nurse I’ve strapped up a sprained ankle or two on jungle treks, dressed countless small cuts and wounds, and even once cleaned and treated twelve small leech bites on the legs of an unlucky trekker, among other activities.
Thankfully virtually each of the incidents I’ve dealt with up to now have already been minor. Even within my time spent volunteering as an expedition medic in the Sahara, the jungles of Kalimantan and Borneo, and several other amazing places, I have already been able to cope with most accidents and injuries which have crossed my path.
I’ve only been able to accomplish all this, however, because I’ve always packed my trusty medical kit. It has evolved and been refined through the years, but I’ve always carried one.
As any experienced traveler or doctor will let you know, things can and occasionally do fail on any trip, and going for a well-stocked kit with you is always advised.
What the majority of these suggestions is missing, however, is an email of balance. A well-stocked kit is essential, but there is no need to overload. You don’t have to heft a pack around that the common paramedic would be pleased with, and you don’t need to take with you the complete stock cupboard of your neighborhood pharmacy.
When I first started traveling, I did so what most sensible people do and carried a commercially available emergency medical kit. There is completely nothing wrong with these packs at all; actually they are great and in a pinch I’d still recommend them to any traveler.
However, through the years, with a whole lot of experience and my nursing qualification behind me, I’ve refined my very own kit to reflect what I’ll use out on the street and what I understand what will lead to a much better medical kit for the common traveler too.
The very best medical kits are simple but varied and can have many different dressings and equipment to cope with the absolute basics. Moreover, they can be used in combination with little if any training. Just what exactly items in the event you include? Listed below are my picks for the requirements.
1. Plasters (Bandages) It’s understandable that these are a complete essential in any medical kit. The most frequent type of minor injury is a cut or a graze, so that it is always smart to carry a small number of plasters in a number of sizes.
If you feel you will be performing a large amount of trekking on your own travels and you aren’t used compared to that type of exercise, then some blister plasters certainly are a good notion.
It isn’t essential to overload and carry so many you might start your own tiny field hospital; just some of each type can do, since you can always restock when you pass a pharmacy.
2. Gauze Gauze may be the medical jack-of-all-trades. I never carry an initial aid kit with out a way to obtain gauze in it, and I can’t let you know just how many times it has can be found in useful through the years. It could be used to use pressure to a wound, clean a personal injury, soak up blood, avoid bleeding, and even form part of a simple dressing for small-to-medium wounds.
A clean wound and a layer of gauze kept down with either tape or a bandage is often enough to permit time and energy to go and obtain it looked at by a specialist.
The very best type of gauze to transport in an initial aid kit is individually wrapped sterile squares. This eliminates the necessity to cut them to size if you want them quickly and obviously helps it be easier to keep carefully the wound sterile and clean.
3. Crepe bandages (ACE or elastic bandages) For if you have something a bit bigger when compared to a cut, basic crepe bandages are of help for keeping small dressings clean and set up until you can find some medical assistance.
Remember, you’re only likely to use them within an emergency and hopefully only until you can find some healthcare care, and that means you don’t need way too many of these, just a few for the most part.
4. Surgical tape Surgical tape is among those essential emergency items for if you want to use and secure gauze or a bandage to a wound, although plasters can do the same job if you need to.
5. Small scissors These come standard in virtually any commercially available medical kit (although you can purchase them separately too) and so are obviously useful for trimming gauze or bandages to size. You need to be careful in the event that you do carry scissors to make certain your medical kit goes into your checked bag while you are in transit if not airline security will need them off you.
6. Tweezers Tweezers are another item that often come standard generally in most medical kits and will be useful for taking out splinters, escaping . little items of stone or dirt when cleaning a wound, or a variety of other practical uses.
7. Antiseptic wipes For reasons uknown this is commonly the one thing a lot of people overlook when thinking about medical, but antiseptic wipes are a complete essential in virtually any good pack. Nobody wants a cut or wound to get badly infected, and antiseptic wipes are ideal for cleaning it before applying a dressing.
Only a small handful will suffice for some packs. Like the majority of basic items, they are easy to displace at any pharmacy when you run low.
8. Condoms In addition to the obvious benefits (staying sexually safe), these handy little items may be used as emergency water carriers as well as filled up with ice as a crisis ice pack. I’ve personally never really had any call to utilize them in that manner, nonetheless it is a handy little bit of information to bear in mind.
9. Treatment medication A little pack of basic paracetamol (acetaminophen for anyone who is American) or the associated brand names is normally sufficient, but ibuprofen or other similar medications are fine too. It doesn’t need to be fancy — basically whatever you normally take for treatment once you have a headache or minor pain.
10. Loperamide tablets Also known under a number of brand names such as for example Imodium, that is useful for stopping diarrhea for short periods if you want to catch a bus or train. Remember, they are for all those emergency moments only once you are actually in transit, because they usually do not cure diarrhea and shouldn’t be utilized when you’re able to rest up for two days. (Normally the ultimate way to treat diarrhea is to let everything go through one’s body normally and drink a lot of water to displace lost fluids.)
If you are using them sparely, properly, and as directed on the pack, loperamide tablets can be handy additions to any travel medical kit.
11. Antihistamine cream It happens to all or any folks on our travels: we get bitten by some type of insect and end up getting a painfully itchy bump or rash. Don’t worry, the absolute most enough time the bumps and stings aren’t anything to worry about at all, however they are damned annoying! For this reason an excellent antihistamine cream is a good addition to greatly help control the swelling and itching.
12. Antibacterial creams It’s also smart to carry antibacterial creams like Neosporin for just about any cuts and scrapes you get. This can help heal them faster and prevent any possible infections.
Obviously this list could be tailored or put into based on your trip needs (a tropical jungle trek will demand different planning when compared to a city break in Europe). Worthwhile medical kit also needs to include any specific, individually medication or antimalarial prophylaxis.
In most of travelers, however, the things and kit in the above list covers the absolute most basic incidents and accidents. You’ll also want to be sure to have comprehensive travel cover aswell.
For just about any injury, illness, bang, or scrape that will require more than the fundamentals and cannot be included in the kit above, you should seek healthcare attention. Keep carefully the weight and bulk in your pack down, and understand that unless you are really remote the beaten track, you need to be able to look for professional assistance to cope with medical emergencies pretty easily if something happens you can’t handle yourself.
So go finish off your own little medical kit and keep it stashed in your pack for emergencies. It’s likely that you will likely never utilize it — and I am hoping you will never need to — but when you have one, at least you can enjoy your travels with reassurance and become safe in the data you are prepared.
Important Note: When carrying any generic medication, it is necessary that it’s kept in its original packaging while you are traveling in the event customs officials have to check it. Should you have never taken the above medications before, consult with your physician, nurse, or pharmacist before you do, as you might have a specific health background, condition, or allergy that general advice cannot cover.
The info provided here’s for general travel health advice and information only. It really is provided by a professional nurse, nonetheless it is not an upgraded for an individual consultation with a travel nurse specialist, your GP, or a health care provider focusing on travel medicine who can tailor advice to your own health background and needs.
Michael Huxley is a rn from the U.K. and writes about his travels on your blog Bemused Backpacker. There he blogs about backpacking, sustainable travel, and health-related issues. It’s an incredible blog!