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Advice on First Aid

Accessing medical care during travel can prove challenging in some countries, it is therefore advisable to carry appropriate first aid/travel health kits.

Medications from home can help you self-manage basic health problems, manage existing medical conditions and help avoid buying potentially dangerous medications abroad.

Travelling with Medication

  • All medication should be kept in original packaging regardless of whether they are prescribed or over-the-counter purchases, this helps keep medications easily identifiable for officials at ports of entry.
  • If you have existing medical conditions ensure you have enough medication for the duration of your trip and additional supply in case your trip is unexpectedly extended. 
  • Consult the clinician managing your existing medical condition before travel, they are usually best placed to advise about medication management.
  • Carry copies of all prescriptions, including generic drug names; this may help you to replace medications in the event they are lost or stolen.  

For detailed information on travelling with medicines please refer to the Travelling with Medicines advice sheet.

Medical Alert Jewellery

If you have a hidden medical condition, such as allergies or diabetes, consider wearing medical alert jewellery.

Basic First Aid and Travel Health Kits

The contents of any first aid/travel health kit should be tailored to the individual’s itinerary, taking into consideration the type of travel, destination, duration and any existing medical conditions.

Basic First Aid:

  • First aid quick reference card.
  • Disposable latex-free exam gloves.
  • Adhesive plasters, assorted sizes.
  • Hydro-colloid blister plasters.
  • Gauze.
  • Adhesive first aid tape.
  • Elasticated bandage wrap for sprains and strains.
  • Steri-strips.
  • Cotton swabs.
  • Antiseptic and antibacterial (to prevent infection) such as iodine or alcohol based preparations.
  • Saline sachets for wound irrigation.
  • Aloe Vera gel for treatment of minor burns.
  • Topical corticosteroids for symptomatic relief of bites, stings and other skin irritations.
  • Thermometer.
  • Tweezer*
  • Scissors*
  • Sterile equipment such as: lancets, assorted syringes, needles, IV Cannula, dental needle* (remote/high risk travel) 

*Note all sharp items should be carried in checked baggage to avoid being confiscated by airport or airline security if packed in carry-on bags.

General Travel Health Kit:

  • Supply of regular medication (for duration of trip and additional in case trip unexpectedly extended).
  • If you have a history of severe allergic reaction carry Epinephrine auto-injectors; these should always be carried on one’s person in case immediate treatment is required.
  • Anti-histamines for symptomatic treatment of mild or moderate allergic reactions; consider both oral and topical preparations. Oral anti-histamines may also be used to treat motion-sickness.
  • Painkillers to treat pain and/or fever such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin (providing no pre-existing contraindications to these drugs).
  • Travel, unfamiliar diet and change in routine can upset the digestive system; a supply of mild laxatives for treating constipation and antacids for treating indigestion can prove useful.
  • Medication to manage travellers diarrhoea; oral rehydration salts for hydration, anti-diarrhoeal agents for symptom management of mild/moderate diarrhoea.
  • Water purification measures; for detailed information please see Food and Water Precautions advice sheet.
  • Insect bite avoidance measures; for detailed information please refer to the Insect Bite Avoidance advice sheet.
  • Sun protection measures; for detailed information please see the Sun Exposure advice sheet.
  • New sexual partnerships and unprotected sex abroad is not uncommon; travellers should therefore be encouraged to consider barrier contraceptive measures such as condoms. For detailed information please see the Contraception advice sheet.
  • Antimalarial tablets (if applicable – destination related). For detailed information please see the Malaria advice sheets.
  • Medication to prevent or treat altitude illness (if applicable – destination related). For detailed information please see the Altitude and Travel advice sheet.

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