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How to Pack the Ultimate Family Travel Medical Kit

How to Pack the Ultimate Family Travel Medical Kit

We are busy gearing up for an epic cross-country road trip from Port Elizabeth to Mozambique, and part of our preparation is making sure our medical kit is fully stocked. Our family travels a lot, both locally and internationally and we have learned through trial and error how to pack a compact, portable but extremely useful medical kit that should address all minor conditions and avoid having to spend precious holiday time at the pharmacy or doctor.

Here is what to pack in a travel medical kit for families with teens and older kids:

(Note – the brands mentioned are all from South Africa, similar products are available globally)

       1. A multi-pocket clear bag
We have a zip up bag with 3 transparent pockets, which makes it very handy to keep the different sorts of medication together and easily find everything.

         2. Painkillers
We take a range of different painkillers to suit each family member and type of pain.

Nurofen (Ibuprofen) – ideal for headaches, easy for the kids to swallow and a good anti-inflammatory.

Panado (Paracetomol) – good all round gentle pain killer for minor pain and fever.

Disprin (Aspirin) – Great for feeling better quickly when you have a cold

Lotem – Cian hates to swallow pills, so we always take a bottle of Lotem syrup along. It is a strong mix (so he only needs to take a couple of teaspoons) of ibuprofen and paracetomol and works within minutes for any type of pain or fever.

Myprodol (Ibuprofen, Paracetomol, Codeine) – this is a really strong pain killer that we take along just in case one of us gets something more serious than the regular meds can handle.

        3. Creams
Never underestimate the power of lotions and balms to soothe skin conditions while travelling.

Anthisan (antihistamine) – Although prevention is better than cure, this cream really helps

to relieve pain and itchiness from insect bites and stings – a regular occurrence with the kids.

Germolene or Betadine (Anti septic) – To disinfect wounds from minor cuts, scratches, grazes and burns.

Anti-bacterial cream – to prevent infection while a wound is healing.

Hydro-cortisone cream – reduces itching and swelling from any skin condition.

Anti-fungal cream – for athlete’s foot (especially when camping) and other fungal infections – vital when travelling with males!

Cold sore cream – you will be very relieved to have this tiny little tube handy if you feel the tingling of a cold sore starting to develop.

        4. Wounds
Disinfectant wound wipes – these are handy to clean a wound before dressing it, especially when you are not near a bathroom.

Savlon – for cleaning and disinfecting wounds when you are near a bathroom.

Burn gel – soothes the pain from minor burns which can easily happen around a campfire or braai.

Assorted plasters – Make sure you have a good supply of different sized plasters for minor cuts and scratches.

A couple of self-adhesive bandages and gauze – we always take these along, for strapping up more serious wounds before getting medical help. Thank goodness we have never had to use them yet.

Scissors – for cutting bandages

Tweezers – for extracting pesky splinters

         5. Medications
Anti-nausea – to help prevent vomiting if you get a stomach bug or food poisoning.

Immodium – to treat diarrhoea, which can easily happen while travelling due to a change in water and food from what your body is used to.

Rehydrate – take a couple of sachets to help prevent the loss of fluid and electrolytes if one of you gets diarrhoea.

Antihistamine – to treat allergic reactions like skin rashes, hay fever and itchy eyes.

Motion sickness – to help prevent sickness from the movement of a car, airplane or boat. It’s a good idea to pop these before you embark, but beware – they cause extreme drowsiness.

Antispasmodic – to treat stomach and intestinal cramps. (This is a new addition to our kit, following the early hours incident while camping in the Canadian Rockies)

            6. Moisture
These are items that we get for each family member, as they are not suitable for sharing. We label ours and each carry our own, but also take a spare along in the medical kit in case someone forgets or misplaces theirs.

Lip balm – to relieve chapped or dry lips which always happen when travelling.

Eye drops – to prevent dry eyes especially when flying

Saline nose spray – this helps flush out bacteria and viruses that make their way into your nose, especially in crowded places like airplanes. Regularly spraying while travelling helps prevent colds and flu.

Bonus Tip!
To help keep everything neat and compact, remove all the medications from their packaging. Sellotape the package insert to the pills so you know the correct dosages and uses of each medicine. And don’t forget to add any prescription or chronic medications you might need.

So there you have it, the ideal compact but effective medical kit for family travels!

Yours in Travel

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