Your Health: Why You Should Pack A First Aid Kit

5 May 2015

Words by Carlie Tucker

When it comes to first aid kits, you probably have one in your house. You may even have one in your car, but what about your suitcase? Packing a first aid kit is probably the last thing on your mind, especially when bag space is such a valuable commodity, but this little kit is more important than you might think.

Being sick in an unfamiliar place is pretty bleak, and trying to find a pharmacy is made worse by a busy work schedule that doesn't necessarily cater for unplanned stops. You may think you'll be able to find what you need when you're on the road, but it's best not to leave these things to chance.  Especially when travelling internationally.

Packing a first aid kit is a quick and convenient way to ensure that you have what you need when you need it. Ranging from headaches and bandaids to burns, CPR masks and more, first aid kits are there to assist in many situations no matter where you happen to be.

It may be one of those things that you'll never need, but if you do, you'll definitely be glad you have it. So, here are a couple of DIY lists for your reference that contain the basics.  

Personal Kit For Short, Local Trips:

  • Bandaids (various sizes) to treat minor cuts
  • Antiseptic wipes to clean wounds
  • Antihistamines and/or Epi-pen for allergic reactions
  • Ibuprofen for headaches, muscle pains or fever
  • Antacids for upset stomach
  • Blister plaster to treat blisters
  • Bandages for strains or sprains
  • Copy of any prescriptions you currently take

Place a few of each item in a small zip-up bag or plastic container and toss it into your suitcase. It will take up minimal space and be there should you need it on the road.

Personal Kit For International Trips:

  • Bandaids (various sizes) to treat minor cuts
  • Bandages for strains or sprains
  • Gauze pads (large size)
  • Antiseptic wipes to clean wounds
  • Safety pins or tape for securing bandages
  • Antihistamines and/or Epi-pen for allergic reactions
  • Ibuprofen for headaches, muscle pains or fever
  • Antacids for upset stomach
  • Decongestant for colds
  • Cold pack (disposable) for swelling
  • Anti-itch cream or gel for insect bites
  • Eye wash to irrigate objects from the eye
  • Blister plaster to treat blisters
  • Oral Rehydration Salts to treat dehydration from big nights, physical activity or illness
  • Copy of any prescriptions you currently take
  • Disposable non-latex gloves
  • CPR Mask
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Scissors (small) for cutting bandages
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer

Place all of your items in a resealable case and store in your baggage.

Keep in mind that it's worth customising your first aid kit to suit your itinerary. This is especially true for longer, international trips. For example, if you're going to be hiking through remote locations, you may want to throw in some matches and a thermal blanket. And, remember to check international regulations on medication to make sure you're not carrying anything that won't be allowed to cross the border. 

Images courtesy of Getty

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