I’m a type A packer – I’m talking lists, repeated cross checking with the lists, caressing of the lists – I love the lists!! My type A personality flourishes when it comes to holiday packing.
I tell all my patients that if they are going to travel overseas they need to pack a medical kit and if travelling to the developing world then the medical kit needs to be more extensive.
So here is a look in our travel kit for India – I use the term “kit” very loosely – it’s a plastic bag filled with an abundance of ammunition in case we get unlucky. In addition to the medications I’ve packed Milton’s tablets for sterilising Miss S’s utensils and bottles (seriously handy for travel!) and water purification tablets just in case.
- The Basics
These are the things people sadly tend to forget (and you will kick yourself trust me!) – the every day items that you take for granted at home. Paracetamol when you have a headache, a fresh bandaid when your child falls over and grazes their knee. The basics should go on every holiday with you!
What I packed – Paracetamol and Ibuprofen (both for Miss S and ourselves), antihistamine tablets for adults (to stop my allergic husband from ruining the entire trip with his sneezing), bandaids.
- Traveller’s Diarrhea Essentials – incase it hits (insert worried face here)
Traveller’s diarrhea is common and affects up to 50% of international travellers. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are horrendous but it’s the dehydration as a result that is the big killer. Hydration solutions are essential- we have effervescent tablets and jelly in our medical kit this time in case Miss S gets hit. Food and water safety is key when it comes to avoiding traveler’s diarrhea (I can’t emphasise this enough!!!) but if you get unlucky anti-diarrhoea tablets (NEVER use these in children as they can have severe bowel complications) and an anti spasmodic agent like Buscopan, for that awful crampy belly pain, can help. You should always see your GP before you travel to countries where traveller’s diarrhea are likely to hit (South East Asia, India, Africa etc) for antibiotics you might be able to take with you in case – antibiotics can help as more than half of traveller’s diarrhea cases are bacterial in nature.
What I packed – Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin for traveller’s diarrhea (for the adults), Azithromycin (for Miss S), antispasmodic agent, Loperamide, hydration solutions (both tablet and jelly), Weetbix – if something super simple is needed for Miss S (yes it is going in the medical kit area!!)
- Sun and mosquito safety
Another big one people tend to forget! Sun cream (make sure it’s water resistant and OK for children if you have them!) and mosquito repellant are VITAL. For some reason people don’t consider these as vital components of the medical kit – to me they are perhaps more important than some of the antibiotics you can take. Severe sunburn on a holiday is dangerous and malaria can be lethal – so put your insect repellant and sun cream purchase high on the agenda!
DEET repellant is the tropical strength stuff you can buy from the chemist. For Miss S we have the cream version to apply (not to the hands as they put these in their mouth), a mosquito net to place over her cot (Kathmandu sells these) and 50+ suncream for her (and a version for us). We have tailored our trip for Miss S (and are not travelling to high risk malaria areas) because there are no antimalarial drugs for her and having seen malaria as doctors we were not willing to take the risk so our itinerary sticks to low risk areas only. Again a visit to the GP before you travel is a great way to find out if you are going to high risk malaria areas, in which case you might need preventative medication.
What I packed – 50+ suncream for the entire family, DEET insect repellant, mosquito net, citronella candles, hats and sunglasses for the 3 of us.
- The “Just In Case”
You don’t know when a cold will hit so I take things for the dreaded “in case we get a cold on holiday” scenario. For adults that’s some form of decongestant tablets lest it strikes before we have to fly. For Miss S that means a bit more – the FESS nasal suction, eye wipes and Vicks are also coming along. A thermometer takes minimal room and you won’t regret packing it if someone gets sick and whilst I really want to take my stethoscope and entire diagnostic kit (did I mention I’m type A haha) I’m refraining (and I think my husband would secretly unpack it even if I tried). BUT we do have comprehensive travel insurance (please don’t go anywhere without it!!) and we have checked the English speaking hospitals that will see children in each place we are visiting – it pays to be prepared.
So I know what you’re thinking – how do you have room for all this? A few less dresses packed (I know the sacrifices we make!!) – but I won’t miss the dresses if I’m bent over the toilet bowl! And whilst I have fingers and toes crossed we won’t need anything from the medical kit – it’s ALL there if we do!!