Vacation Bound? Don’t Forget a Medical Kit!

Before you hit the road or fly the friendly skies this summer, remember that packing for a trip involves more than the right clothing and shoes. A comprehensive medical kit will help ensure your vacation doesn’t include a sight-seeing excursion to the nearest drugstore.

Dennis Danner, a registered nurse for 35 years who works at Memorial’s ExpressCare at North Dirksen, is a frequent traveler, including at least two overseas trips a year as part of his role as president and co-founded of ER Abroad, a locally based charity that helps needy orphanages and medical clinics in Guatemala and Kenya. He suggests the following supplies when assembling a traveling medical kit.

  • Travel Medical Kit Supplies:
  • Baby aspirin — If you are flying or taking a long car trip during which you’ll be seated for a long period of time, it’s a good idea to take a baby aspirin before each trip. This natural blood thinner could help prevent a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lungs and typically forms in the lower extremities). Before taking an aspirin, however, check with your physician to make sure there are no contraindications based on your personal medical history.
  • First Aid creams and bandages — This should include Band-Aids, 4×4-inch gauze pads, nonstick Telfa pads, a couple rolls of two- and four-inch gauze bandage, an Ace bandage, Neosporin and Bacitracin (triple-antibiotic cream).
  • Ice packs
  • Sunscreen
  • A small jar or container of baking soda or meat tenderizer to mix with water to neutralize bee stings
  • Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to disinfect scrapes or cuts
  • Soap towelettes
  • Tweezers
  • Pepto Bismal tablets
  • Non-latex unsterile gloves
  • Over-the-counter pain killers (for sunburns, use aspirin or Motrin to help reduce inflammation)
  • A small bottle of vinegar if you are traveling to a coastal area, to help reduce jellyfish stings

Danner also recommends vacationers check their health insurance policy to see what is covered where they are traveling. If coverage is poor, considering purchasing trip insurance to cover unanticipated medical expenses, he said.