Often, a first-aid kit is among the first things to be left behind on a trip. In an effort to pack as light as possible, people ditch items they probably will not need. Since most items in a first-aid kit remain unused, they do not make the cut.
Even though first-aid kits are rarely used, they are extremely important. First aid supplies are typically needed in an emergency. In some instances, they will ease a person’s comfort and make the trip more enjoyable. At other times, medical supplies can be the difference between life and death.
The items that should be packed will depend upon where one is going, the duration of the trip and the purpose of it. For instance, a business traveler to San Francisco will have different needs than a backpacker in the Amazon Rain Forest. Yet, there are some common principles to keep in mind when packing.
- Keep the first-aid kit as light as possible.
- Always have access to extra supplies. This might mean carrying additional supplies yourself, if there will not be stores nearby.
- Check for local dangers in the area you are traveling to, and pack supplies for them.
Regardless of where one is headed, there are many supplies everyone should have. Here is a list of items to consider brining:
- Current Medications
Any and all medications currently being taken should be brought along. The most important medications are those prescribed by a doctor, but vitamins should also be included in the travel kit.
- Medical Providers’ Contact Information
Any documentation that would be useful during a medical emergency should be brought. In today’s world, with cell phones, fax machines and email, it is not necessary to bring an entire personal chart. However, writing down all of your medical provider’s information on a sheet of paper is practical and helpful. This should include all doctors, any recently visited hospitals and your pharmacist.
The quality of bandages brought will depend on where you are traveling. Many travelers will be fine taking only a couple Band-Aids, but anyone going into the wilderness should carry gauze pads and tape. In these situations, latex gloves should also be packed.
- Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is a quick and effective way to disinfect one’s hands anywhere, although it does not substitute for soap and water.
If you will be anywhere in a sunny area, then sunscreen is a must. It will make the trip more comfortable, and reduce the risk of skin cancer later in life.
Anyone who has suffered from allergies knows how annoying they can be, and in a new environment you do not know if you will have an allergic reaction.
- Rubbing Alcohol Pads
These are a convenient way to carry something for cleaning wounds.
In addition to these supplies, there are some items that people who are trekking into the wilderness should also take. Other people can usually purchase these at a local store, if they are needed.
Fevers can be serious, or only mildly concerning. A thermometer will show how high a fever is.
In a pinch, this can be used as a sling or a large bandage.
Tweezers can help people remove ticks, cacti thorns or sea urchins.
After the supplies are chosen, they must be packed. Nalgene bottles are ideal. They are clear, which allows you to find supplies quickly. They also provide a protective, hard case. By packing these supplies into a Nalgene bottle, you can have a handy and practical travel first-aid kit.