Preparing to go away for the festive season? Here's how to be medically prepared for your trip

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

The Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA) recommends that all travelers include a basic travel medical kit when packing. This kit should include the usual essentials and any specific medical requirements that could arise at the destination.

“Accidents and illnesses happen and are particularly difficult to manage when you are in a foreign or remote location and it is for this reason that as pharmacists we urge all travelers to have a well-stocked medical kit in their luggage. We also recommend that you source any information you may need for further local assistance ahead of time – it can often make a real difference in an emergency,” says Jackie Maimin, the CEO of ICPA.

Here are 10 medical kit essentials for your next travel:

Travel sickness/Anti-nausea medication

This is important as there is nothing worse than starting your holidays feeling nauseous. This medication is available in tablet and syrup form.

Antiseptic, dressings and plasters

For minor cuts and grazes. Take along a bottle of antiseptic spray or wipes. These are easy to use and very handy when you are on the go. Any medical kit must always contain a selection of plasters, sterile gauze dressings, bandages, medical tape and of course surgical gloves. Antiseptic cream or ointment are also a valuable addition to any medical kit. Your pharmacist will be able to guide you when selecting these items.

Burn kits/dressings

Make sure you have a burn gel dressing in your kit. These are sterile and very effective at soothing a minor burn or scald. Never put butter on a wound and try not to burst any blisters that form. If the burn is over a large area or is a deep burn seek urgent medical attention.

Scissors, safety pins & tweezers

Scissors and safety pins are useful for cutting and securing bandages. Tweezers for removing splinters. (Remember to pack scissors, safety pins and tweezers in your main luggage as you will not be able to take them into the aircraft cabin if you are flying anywhere.)

Sunscreen products

Choose one with a sun protection factor of at least 20. Include an after-sun lotion to soothe sunburn.

Rehydration sachets and anti-diarrhoea tablets

Dehydration can happen quickly and with debilitating effects – especially in young children and if you have vomiting or diarrhoea. Over the counter anti-diarrhoeal medicines can relieve symptoms of diarrhoea and upset stomachs very quickly however we recommend that these be kept for use in adults. Children with diarrhoea should be managed using rehydration fluids.

Paracetamol/pain medication

Available as tablets, chew tablets, effervescent tablets, capsules and syrup paracetamol is the standard recommended in cases of pain and fever. Individuals with liver problems, paracetamol allergies or on long term medication should check with their pharmacist whether paracetamol is safe for them.

Insect repellent

Avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellents, particularly during the evenings and at night when they are most likely to bite. As an adjunct to malaria prophylaxis in malaria areas, insect repellents containing DET are recommended.


Over the counter antihistamines, which are available as tablets and syrups, are used to treat hayfever and can help reduce itchiness and inflammation caused by contact allergies and insect bites.

Prescription and chronic medication

If you take any regular prescription medication, such as high blood pressure tablets or inhalers for asthma, make sure that you take enough with you on holiday.

“It is also important to take along a copy of your prescription. You may require this at customs when traveling across boarders or for repeat medication should you run out while on holiday, or if your luggage containing your medicines is lost,” advises Maimin.

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