What's in your first aid kit?Published on May 15, 2018
When packing for a trip, you might not consider taking a first aid kit, and if you do, you may take the easy route of picking a pre-made commercial product that may not fit your needs. It's easy to take your medical care for granted when you're home, but when you're abroad the sudden lack of resources may take you by surprise. Take it from someone who has been there; you don’t want to find yourself frantically looking up the nearest pharmacy at 11 pm while you’re panicking over that embarrassing cut you got while you were shaving and you allegedly dropped your razor. I mean how else could you have possibly injured yourself down there? You don’t want to hear those kinds of questions, and we don’t want to hear you answer them. So here’s what you need to know!
Practically first aid 101, bandages (band-aids or plasters) are commonplace at most pharmacies around the world, so you don’t have to worry too much about hoarding a surplus of them. And if you manage to run into that rare pharmacy out in the fringes of society that’s run short of them, well, then you’ll be happy you packed some into your first aid kit, won’t you? Perfect for light wounds, they can keep a bad situation from becoming worse by covering a wound up and holding it together.
For when worse is becoming more than just a possibility, gauze is an essential part of any first aid kit. Woven to be tough and durable, gauze can clean up wounds, stem bleeding and help apply pressure where needed. Gauze is good in combination with bandages, which can hold the gauze in place.
You might already have a pack of these to clean your hands with, but make sure you bring another just for the first aid kit! Antiseptic wipes can clean a vulnerable wound and prevent it from becoming infected before you apply plaster or gauze.
Call it magic. Call it a miracle. Call it an acceleration of natural biological processes. Either way, antibacterial cream can speed up the healing of cuts and scrapes while decreasing the possibility of infection.
So that nice patch of grass turned out to be poison ivy. You can blame yourself for your lack of horticultural knowledge later. What’s important is that you know that whenever you have a rash or an itch, an application of antihistamine cream can cool things down for you.
First, get your mind out of the gutter. And then get back in the gutter using your condom as a protective, versatile tool in your kit: whether it’s to hold cubes of ice to create an improvised ice pack, or to carry an emergency supply of water, you never know what you could use a condom for. You know, besides the obvious.
The best way to treat diarrhea after you ate that piece of local mystery meat is to let everything pass through your system and replace the fluids by drinking lots of water. But if you’re in a tight spot, such as on a plane, on a bus, or at court to testify that you didn’t know the mystery meat was that illegal, loperamide tablets can help stave off your diarrhea – but make sure you only take them for emergencies! If you can make a lame excuse and run to the bathroom, you should always prioritize that as an option, as abuse of loperamide can cause bloating and constipation.
Pain relief medication
Nothing’s worse than having a headache, and the headache is so bad you can’t think clearly about how to treat it. Save yourself the trouble by packing pain relief medication into your kit, which can also be useful for general bouts of mild pain.