05 Jul Why Building Your Own Travel First-Aid Kit is More Effective
At the end of the day, you might be better off by creating your own travel first-aid kit, instead of just buying one from the store or accepting the one routinely issued by the office. First-aid kits, regardless of the length of the trip or the destination, are more effective if they are personalized.
The effort you make in customizing them to fit your (and/or your family’s needs) can make a difference whether or not your body becomes susceptible (or not) to an infection.
The New York Times gives another sound reason for this strategy, and again it is linked to your particular medical needs. It says that the worst time to go looking for a pharmacy during an international jaunt is once you are already in the middle of it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in an industrialized city in Europe or helping South Africans in a medical mission—once you feel ill or weak, the pharmacy that has your prescribed medicines may not have a branch or office nearby.
While it is true that you can always bring generic drugs like aspirin, prescribed medicines that your body is used to are more effective when it comes to boosting your immune system or preventing a disease from setting in.
Neither do you want to test untried medicine in an unfamiliar city, if you do feel a headache or start burning up with fever. You have no idea how that particular brand or drug will affect your system.
The medical doctor standing by (assuming there is one) does not know your medical history. If that new drug has an adverse effect on your body, your medical condition might just worsen.
The lesson is clear: always bring branded medicines that you have used successfully in the past.
As mentioned earlier, there are some medicines you can take for temporary relief. These include antihistamine to arrest allergies; laxatives to soften your stool in case the food in that place causes constipation; pain relievers; drugs to counter motion sickness; and remedies for cough and colds.
The other “must-haves” in any first-aid kit are as follows: alcohol swabs, bandages, creams that fight infection and fungi, insect repellants, a pair of tweezers, and a digital thermometer.
This mixture of customizing the first-aid kit while packing it with proven generic drugs and medicine tools should also be applied to your family members. If your partner and children are traveling with you, avoid the instinct to bring a one-type-fits-all first aid kit.
Your partner and kids have different medical conditions, and these must be provisioned for in order to ensure their health as well. Ignore the inconvenience; taking the few extra hours (or even a single day) to prepare all those kits will reduce the risk of exposure to your loved ones. Having each family member have their own personalized first aid kit can make your entire trip healthier and happier.
It would also give you a lot of peace of mind if you follow the directive of the World Health Organization (WHO), advising that all international travelers get themselves properly immunized days or weeks before boarding that plane.
The conditions that they have to watch out for include diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, poliomyelitis, and tetanus. The Travel Health Pro specifically singles out malaria for immunization, to the point that it advises travelers to take their shots six weeks before taking their trip.
A first-aid kit can prevent a medical condition from developing, but immunization will lessen your chances of being vulnerable to it in the first place.