It's the time of the year when the weather is nice, schools are closed and thousands of people go on holidays abroad. Most of us are excited about our holidays that we have planned and booked weeks in advance, we go holiday shopping for the perfect summer dress or swimsuit....but how many of us remember to pack a first aid kit?
Surprisingly, not many! As a doctor and a mom, packing a first aid kit is the first thing I do when we start packing for a trip. And I kid you not, when I say I have to replenish the kit when we come back home Every. Single. Time! It's not just my family that uses the kit, sometimes it's strangers too. So, to save yourself the trouble of asking for polysporin in a foreign country, where the trade name for the same ointment might be something different, just pack a small kit for yourself.
Here's what I pack in my first aid kit when we go on holiday:
1. Assorted adhesive bandages
2. Butterfly wound closures (Steri-strips)
3. Antiseptic wipes
4. Antibacterial cream / ointment, burn gel (Polysporin / Bacitracin)
5. Pain killers (Advil / Motrin), Pain relief cream / gel (Volini / Rub-A535)
6. Pills for nausea and vomitting, diarrhea (Pepto-Bismol)
7. Antacid (Gaviscon, Tums)
8. Pills for fever (Tylenol)
9. Anti allergy medications (Reactine / Aerius etc.)
10. Eyewash solution
11. Oral thermometer
12. Gauze dressing pads, medical tape, cotton balls, Q-Tips
13. Elastic bandage (compression bandage) for sprains etc.
14. Disposable gloves
15. Scissors, tweezer, nail clipper
Don't forget to pack sunscreen, insect repellants, and anti-itch cream for bug bites. Make sure you have sunglasses and hats for the entire family.
If you are travelling by air, or are going on a cruise, and think you might get motion sickness or sea sickness, ask your Family Physician to prescribe appropriate medications.
If you have kids, carry a bottle of Kid's Tylenol or Advil. You might even want to carry a bottle of rehydration solution (Pedialyte).
Of course, if you are on any prescription medications, make sure you have enough to last the entire holiday and carry your prescription with you, just in case you need to explain your medications to airport officials or your bags get lost (I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but unfortunately, it does happen!). In fact, you should always keep a picture of your latest prescription on your phone. If you are on prescription medications, show your first aid kit content list to your doctor to make sure none of the Over-The-Counter medications interact with your prescription ones.
It is also always a good idea to get vaccinated for certain diseases if you are travelling to a destination where certain diseases and infections are common. See your Family Physician to learn what vaccinations are appropriate for your family. You can also visit the Government of Canada's official website to find out what vaccines they recommend for specific destinations.
If you or anyone else in the family have sensitive skin, be sure to carry your own toiletries, because hotel toiletries might not be allergen and scent free.
I have mentioned a lot of brand name medications in this blog, but I would like to clarify that I do not endorse them and have not been compensated in any way for including them in my blog. I would also like to stress that I have only used brand names as they give people a better idea of what I'm talking about and they are the most commonly used Over-The-Counter medications in their respective categories. Generic medications will also do the job.
If you really get too busy with other things, and just can't find the time to put together your own first aid kit, just buy a ready-made one from the local drugstore! If you have any questions, as always, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.