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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:

Antimalarial medications

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

Mild laxative


Items to treat throat and respiratory symptoms:


Decongestant, alone or in combination with antihistamine

Cough suppressant/expectorant

Throat lozenges

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

Disposable gloves

Adhesive bandages, multiple sizes


Adhesive tape

Elastic bandage wrap for sprains and strains


Cotton swabs



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

Digital thermometer

Saline eye drops

First-aid quick reference card

 Other Important Items

Insect repellent

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

Sewing kit

Mild sedative (such as zolpidem), other sleep aid, or anti-anxiety medication

Latex condoms

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.)

 Contact Card

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

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