Build your Travel First Aid Kit
A variety of health kits is available commercially and may even be purchased over the Internet; however, similar kits can be assembled at home, often at lower cost. The specific contents of the health kit are based on destination, duration of travel, type of travel, and the traveler’s pre-existing medical conditions.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, basic items that should be considered are listed below. Keep in mind the carry on restrictions as to sharp objects and liquid containers. It is best to pack these items in your checked baggage.
Destination-related, if applicable:
Medication to prevent or treat high-altitude illness
Pain or fever (one or more of the following, or an alternative):
Stomach upset or diarrhea:
Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication (such as Loperamide, Imodium or Lomotil)
Antibiotic for self-treatment of moderate to severe diarrhea
Oral rehydration solution packets
Items to treat throat and respiratory symptoms:
Decongestant, alone or in combination with antihistamine
Anti-motion sickness medication.
Epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen), if history of severe allergic reaction. Smaller-dose packages are available for children.
Any medications, prescription or over the counter, taken on a regular basis at home. Keep prescription medications in their original container.
Basic First Aid
Adhesive bandages, multiple sizes
Elastic bandage wrap for sprains and strains
Antifungal and antibacterial ointments or creams
1% hydrocortisone cream
Anti-itch gel or cream for insect bites and stings
Aloe gel for sunburns
Moleskin or molefoam for blisters
Saline eye drops
First-aid quick reference card
Other Important Items
Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater)
Antibacterial hand wipes or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
Useful items in certain circumstances:
Extra pair of contacts or prescription glasses, or both, for people who wear corrective lenses
Eye glass repair kit
Mild sedative (such as zolpidem), other sleep aid, or anti-anxiety medication
Water purification tablets
Commercial suture/syringe kits to be used by a local health-care provider. (These items will also require a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery.)
It is also important for travelers to locate and record important contact information, in case it is needed during their trip. Often this information is needed quickly; having a contact card with the following items will help save time in these urgent situations.
Items to include on a contact card should be the address and phone numbers of the following:
Family member or close contact still in the United States
Health-care provider at home
Area hospitals or clinics
U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the destination country or countries