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The 7 Most Important Travel Medical Kit Considerations for Summer Vacation Travel

Tim Boyer's picture
Travel Medical Kit

According to Charles E. Davis, M.D., author of the recently published travel guide “The International Traveler’s Guide to Avoiding Infections,” the majority of travelers are woefully ill-prepared to deal with not only rare, but also common travel-related illnesses when visiting developing countries during summer vacation travel. As such, he believes that when planning your next vacation to follow his “Considerations for ALL travelers” advice before zipping your suitcase shut and heading for the airport.

Listed below is a summary of what Dr. Davis points out to be the 7 most important travel medical kit considerations for summer vacation travel when visiting a developing country:

Travel Kit Consideration #1: Restock your meds at home

It is much safer and easier to restock your meds at home than it is to try to refill a prescription in another country. While developed countries such as Canada, Australia and Western Europe provide authentic medications, there can be some confusion over what you are getting because some common meds are labeled under different names.

Travel Kit Consideration #2: Carry-on your travel medical kit

If possible, take your travel medical kit as part of your carry-on baggage to prevent loss and ensure that you have your meds readily available when you need them. Be prepared ahead of time with clear quart-size plastic bags to store all liquid meds for inspection by security and customs officials.

Travel Kit Consideration #3: Don’t transport your meds in non-prescription containers

Combining your meds in a single container to save space is asking for trouble with security and customs officials—it looks suspicious. Keep your meds in their original containers with the name of the medicine, your pharmacy and prescribing physician on the label. If possible, carry the original prescription in your wallet to further show legitimacy.

Travel Kit Consideration #4: AIDS meds may cause problems

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AIDS meds—whether for yourself or a friend—can be taken as evidence that you have AIDS and thereby give security and customs officials a reason to deny you entry into their country. Plan ahead by consulting with the embassy or consulate of the country you want to visit to find out whether or not they have restrictions for visitors with AIDS.

Travel Kit Consideration #5: Wear your medical bling

Alert bracelets and pendants that indicate any medical condition you may have such as diabetes, seizures, bleeding disorders, severe allergies to insects stings and bites or allergies to medicines can save your life when you are unconscious and unable to provide your medical history during an emergency.

Travel Kit Consideration #6: Bring your own suture needles and syringes

The fact is that in developing countries sterile medical supplies are often unavailable and as a result suture needles and syringes are reused multiple times putting you at risk of contracting hepatitis B and C, HIV and other infections. Before heading for a foreign destination, visit a traveler’s clinic at home and request a small sterile packet that contains suturing materials and disposable syringes with needles.

Travel Kit Consideration #7: Be redundant about yourself

Always ensure that you carry multiple copies of your basic medical information at all times with you in your wallet and in your luggage. The info should include:

• Names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses of your primary care physician and travel clinic doctor
• Health insurance company name, ID and contact number
• Name and ID card for travel and/or evacuation insurance
• Names and doses of meds including anti-malarials and anti-diarrhea meds
• Allergies and chronic illnesses
• Addresses and telephone numbers of hospitals and clinics you’ve identified ahead of time that are in the vicinity of your travel destination

So, when planning your next summer vacation travel (whether it’s overseas or within the U.S.), heed Dr. Davis’ advice and follow his 7 most important travel medical kit considerations to ensure the safest and healthiest travel experience possible.

Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile

Reference: “The International Traveler’s Guide to Avoiding Infections” by Charles E. Davis, M.D.; A John Hopkins Press Health Book (2012); ISBN 13: 978-1-4214-0380-9 and ISBN 10: 1-4214-0380-3.