Travel Advice: Medical Kit For Travellers

 

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If you are travelling to remote areas where access to medical care is limited we strongly advise you to carry a medical kit appropriate to the nature of your trip. Sterile medical kits containing syringes, needles, IV giving set, sutures and dressings are from most pharmacies. In addition we suggest that you also carry some of the following items.

 

Dressings

  • Compeed or similar - an adhesive dressing to protect areas prone to blistering on the foot.
  • Non-stick dressings (perforated film and paraffin gauze) - for application to open wounds.
  • Elastic cling bandages - to secure dressings to wounds.
  • Elastic bandage - to dress sprains.
  • Triangular bandage - to use as arm sling.
  • Steri-Strips - adhesive skin closures.
  • Adhesive tape.
 

Instruments

  • Scissors (Be aware of aircraft regulations that will not allow items such as these in carry-on baggage).
  • Fine Tweezers (Be aware of aircraft regulations that will not allow items such as these in carry-on baggage).
  • Sharp knife (Be aware of aircraft regulations that will not allow items such as these in carry-on baggage).
  • Safety pins (Be aware of aircraft regulations that will not allow items such as these in carry-on baggage).

A Swiss Army Knife is an ideal solution to items 1 to 3. Be aware of aircraft regulations that will not allow items such as these in carry-on baggage.

 

Dental

  • Oil of cloves
  • Temporary filling
 

Miscellaneous

  • Space blanket
  • Sunscreen - minimum SPF15
  • Waterproof matches (Be aware of aircraft regulations that will not allow items such as these in carry-on baggage)
  • Pencil and paper
  • Water purification tablets (Iodine tablets or tincture)
  • Mosquito repellant
 

Over the counter drugs

When using these follow the instructions carefully on the packet, and be aware that Customs regulations require that drugs must be kept in their original packaging so they can easily be identified. (Suggested quantities are only a guide).

  • Decongestant - e.g. Sudafed tablets (12), or Otrivine nasal spray (1)
  • Antihistamine - Chlorpheniramine maleate 4mg (20), or Cetirizine 10mg (20)
  • Analgesia - Paracetamol or aspirin (also control fever) (30), Ibuprofen is also anti-inflammatory (good for sprains) (20)
  • Anti-diarrhoeal - Loperamide Hydrochloride 2mg or Co-phenotrope (Lomotil) (both ant-motility / anti-spasmodic agents) (1 packet)
  • Antifungal cream - Clotrimazole 1% cream (1 tube)
  • Oral rehydration salts - e.g. Dioralyte (available as dissolving tablets) (1 packet)
  • Anti-helminth (worm) - Mebendazole 100mg (6)
  • Anti-malarials - see section lower down on malaria
  • Antiseptic cream - e.g. Povidone iodine (cream or dry spray)
  • Antacid tablets (1 packet)
  • Throat lozenges (1 packet)
 

Prescription only drugs

If you are planning a long stay in remote areas you may need to consider taking supplies of antibiotics with you. Travellers to high altitude may wish to consider the use of Acetazolamide (see the High Altitude page). You need to make an appointment with a doctor to discuss prescription only drugs, which will be issued as private prescriptions (which allows you to buy the items from a pharmacy).

 

Detailed Drug Information

DRUG INDICATION DOSAGE SIDE EFFECTS
ACETAZOLAMIDE 250mg tablets Altitude acclimatisation 250mg twice daily starting 24 hours before ascent and continuing for 24 hours after arrival Mild diuretic, dry mouth, tingling in hands, feet and face
ASPIRIN 300mg tablets Pain and fever 300 to 600mg every 4 to 6 hours as required Rash, gastric irritation. Do not take if there is a history of stomach ulcer or asthma. Not suitable for anyone under the age of 16
CHLORPHENIRAMINE MALEATE 4mg tablets Allergy, itchy skin rash, hay fever 4mg every 6 hours as required Drowsiness (for this reason it should not be taken when ascending significantly as drowsiness is a symptom of altitude sickness)
  Zirtek / Cetirizine 10mg once a day Minimal side effects
CIPROFLOXACIN 250mg tablets Diarrhoea caused by campolybacter, salmonella or shigella 500mg twice a day for 5 days Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, dizziness, sleep disorder, rash, itching. Interacts with combined oral contraceptive pill
  Chest infection 500mg twice a day for 5 days  
  Urinary tract infection (cystitis) 250mg twice a day for 3 days  
CLOTRIMAZOLE 1% cream Athlete's foot, ringworm, crotch-rot Apply twice a day for 1 to 2 weeks Occasional skin irritation
CO-PHENOTROPE 2.5/0.025 tablets Temporary arrest of diarrhoea to aid rehydration 4 tablets initially followed by 2 every six hours until diarrhoea controlled - 48 hours maximum use Constipation, persistence of infection
LOPERAMIDE HYDROCHLORIDE 2mg capsules Temporary arrest of diarrhoea to aid rehydration 2 capsules initially followed by one with each further episode of diarrhoea for 48 hours maximum Constipation, persistence of infection
MEBENDAZOLE 100mg tablets (chewable) Threadworm 1 tablet Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, allergy
  Roundworm, hookworm, whipworm 1 tablet twice a day for 3 days  
METRONIDAZOLE 400mg tablets Amoebic dysentery 2 tablets three times a day for 5 days Do not take with alcohol, produces an instant severe hangover. Nausea, vomiting, unpleasant taste, stomach upset, rashes. Interacts with combined oral contraceptive pill
  Giardiasis 5 tablets daily for 3 days  
PARACETAMOL 500mg tablets Pain and temperature 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours, to a maximum of 8 tablets in 24 hours Rare but can cause liver damage in overdose

Source: LSMP

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