My handbag is many things: it is my house (I bring the kitchen sink -Joke); it is my office (I bring scissors, pen and paper); and it is my drugstore ( I have Tempra, Benadryl, Kremil-S, Nuelin, a Ventolin inhaler, Sinufix, Buscopan, Advil, Ponstan, Imodium, Band-aid, etc. in it). My bag’s, drugstore nature is a characteristic not only I am guilty of. At least one of my sisters brings along medicines as does the in-law of a good friend. Frustrated girl scouts? Not really. Just cautious.
My cautious nature springs from a father who was uber cautious. That Band-aid thing? papa always had one in his wallet. Perhaps if he carried a bag with him (he didn’t) he’d also have several medicines in it. But I must admit I have another reason for being cautious, especially when traveling abroad. Yes, caution, my sense of it is not constrained by my fear of getting sick without any means to alleviate the condition at hand. It is also largely a result of the fear of being caught abroad for carrying something contraband. THINK THESE PERSONALITIES, AMONG OTHERS.
In light of such, when we traveled to Singapore years back, I consulted the Internet for what medicines were banned in our destination. Sadly, I cannot find that list now. And in light of son’s impending travel, I googled yet again but the sites I saw weren’t as specific as that on Singapore. Instead I found the list below which I think is a good guide on what medicines and supplies I should have my son bring:
Healthy Travel Packing List
Pack items for your health and safety.
- You may not be able to purchase and pack all of these items, and some may not be relevant to you and your travel plans. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.
- This list is general and may not include all the items you need. Check our Traveler Information Center for more information if you are a traveler with specific health needs, such as travelers who are pregnant, immune compromised, or traveling for a specific purpose like humanitarian aid work.
- Remember to pack extras of important health supplies in case of travel delays.
- Your prescriptions
- Travelers’ diarrhea antibiotic
- Suture/syringe kit
Kit is for use by local health care provider & requires a letter from your doctor on letterhead stationery
- Altitude sickness medicine
Medicines and Medical Supplies
Consider packing spare glasses in case yours are damaged
Consider packing spare contacts in case yours are damaged
- Needles or syringes, e.g. for diabetes
Requires a letter from your doctor on letterhead stationery
- Diabetes testing supplies
- Epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens)
- Medical alert bracelet or necklace
- Diarrhea medicine
Examples: loperamide [Imodium] or bismuth subsalicylate [Pepto-Bismol]
- Motion sickness medicine
- Cough drops
- Cough suppression/expectorant
- Medicine for pain and fever
Examples: acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen
- Mild laxative
- Mild sedative or other sleep aid
- Saline nose spray
Supplies to prevent illness or injury
- Hand sanitizer or wipes
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol or antibacterial hand wipes
- Water purification tablets
May be needed if camping or visiting remote areas
- Insect repellent
Select an insect repellent based on CDC recommendations: Avoid Bug Bites
Permethrine is insect repellent for clothing. It may be needed if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Clothing can also be treated at home in advance.
(SPF 15 or greater) with UVA and UVB protection. See Sun Exposure.
- Sunglasses and hat
Wear for additional sun protection. A wide brim hat is preferred.
- Personal safety equipment
Examples: child safety seats, bicycle helmets
- Latex condoms
- 1% hydrocortisone cream
- Antifungal ointments
- Antibacterial ointments
- Antiseptic wound cleanser
- Aloe gel
- Insect bite treatment
Anti-itch gel or cream
Multiple sizes, gauze, and adhesive tape
- Moleskin or molefoam for blisters
- Elastic/compression bandage wrap
For sprains and strains
- Disposable gloves
- Digital thermometer
- Scissors and safety pins
- Cotton swabs (Q-Tips)
- Eye drops
- Health insurance documents
Health insurance card (your regular plan and/or supplemental travel health insurance plan) and copies of claim forms
- Copies of all prescriptions
Make sure prescriptions include generic names. Bring prescriptions for medicines, eye glasses/contacts, and other medical supplies.
- Contact card
Carry a contact card containing the street addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the following:
- Family member or close contact remaining in the United States
- Health care provider(s) at home
- Lodging at your destination
- Hospitals or clinics (including emergency services) in your destination
- U.S. embassy or consulate in the destination country or countries
On another note, a friend once traveled abroad where she stayed for three weeks. Her brother-doctor/doctor-brother told her to bring the following with her:
– Dolfenal tablet mg – 3X a day for pain