These include medicines that relieve pain or help to reduce a
fever (eg paracetamol or ibuprofen). It is better to keep tablets
in blister packs (the transparent moulded plastic in which tablets
are usually packaged) because loose tablets may absorb moisture
from the air and this can stop them from working properly.
people suffer from diarrhoea while abroad, so you may wish to
take some antidiarrhoea tablets with you. These are more suitable
for older children and adults. For younger children, ready-mixed
rehydration salts can be added to drinking water. You may wish
to carry water purification tablets in your kit for when bottled
water is not available.
repellent creams and devices can be useful. But in case you do
get stung or bitten, include some antihistamine (bite relief)
cream and tablets in your kit. Antihistamine tablets are also
useful for allergic reactions.
If you or a member of your party regularly takes prescribed medicines,
make sure you pack enough for your whole trip. Allow for a couple
of days delay either side.
medicines in their correctly-labelled packaging. It is useful
to carry a letter from your doctor stating which medicines you
need and what they are for, as this may be needed at customs.
some medicines there are limits on the amount that you are allowed
to take out of one country and into other countries. It is best
to contact the appropriate country's embassy or high commission
before you travel to check whether your medicine is acceptable.
is also important to be prepared if you have medical conditions
that occur or flare up occasionally. This might include inhalers
if you suffer from asthma, steroid creams or tablets for eczema
or antibiotics for recurrent infections.
items for your kit
Depending on your destination and your individual requirements,
you may need to include some extra items in your travel first
and sea protection
It is vital that you protect your skin in the sun. Take a water-resistant
sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher
and helps block out UVA and UVB rays.
can help relieve jellyfish stings. A small sachet from your local
fish and chip shop will do!
To reduce the chances of an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted
infections, take some condoms with you.
you are currently taking the contraceptive pill, make sure you
take enough with you to last the length of your trip.
If you are venturing away from good medical facilities on your
trip, it may be worth taking some antibiotics with you. Generally,
they will cover the most likely problems that you will encounter
such as diarrhoea or wound infections. Your doctor will need to
prescribe these antibiotics for you. He or she will discuss with
you when and how to use them.
Malaria is a disease that is transmitted to humans by a bite from
an infected mosquito. It is widespread in many warm countries.
If you are planning to visit a country where malaria is prevalent,
you need to reduce your chances of being bitten by mosquitoes.
DEET (diethyltoluamide) is the most effective mosquito repellent.
It should be regularly applied, particularly at dawn, dusk and
are also advised to take antimalarial medicines. Consult your
doctor or a travel clinic before your trip to discuss the risk
of malaria in the areas you are visiting and for advice on appropriate
advice is needed for children, pregnant women and those with pre-existing
may need to start taking your antimalarial medicines up to three
weeks before your leave. Like all medicines, antimalarial medicines
may cause side-effects. If any side-effects occur (such as headaches,
mild tummy upsets and increased sensitivity to the sun), then
these can be dealt with before you leave. You may need to continue
taking antimalarial medicines for a month after you return home
from a malaria-infected country, even if you don't have symptoms.
find out whether malaria prevention is recommended in the countries
you are visiting, go to the 'Country List' on the World
Health Organisation's website
If you are visiting an area where good medical facilities and
equipment cannot be guaranteed, you may want to carry an emergency
medical kit. These kits contain sterilised and sealed medical
equipment such as syringes, stitches and needles. Your kit should
be handed to the doctor or nurse in a medical emergency.
medical kits can be bought from pharmacies and travel clinics.
Provided that your kit is well packaged and clearly labelled,
you should not encounter problems at customs.
with accidents and injuries
Simple cuts and injuries
All wounds need to be washed first - preferably with sterile gauze
rather than cotton wool. If clean water isn't available, you might
want to use some antiseptic wipes instead - these will also ensure
that the wound is clean. Cover the wound with a non-sticking dressing
to prevent insects and dirt getting in.
you are travelling in a tropical region, take particular care
of minor injuries as they can become contaminated and fail to
heal. Appropriate cleaning and use of an antiseptic is essential.
you do need to seek medical advice, the embassy or consul should
have a list of local doctors and clinics.
injuries and accidents
Accidents and injuries can be a cause of serious health problems
abroad, particularly if there are no good medical facilities nearby.
insurance that covers injuries as well as illness while travelling
is essential. It should also include a 24-hour assistance service.
If you or a member of your party suffers an accident or serious
injury that requires medical assistance, contact your insurance
company as soon as you can and keep any receipts.
you think that blood may not be properly screened for diseases
such as HIV and hepatitis, delay a blood transfusion if possible.
Often, other fluids can be given at first, while a member of your
party seeks a screened blood supply. It may help to know your
blood group before you leave home.