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Hitting the road? Pack a first-aid travel kit

Hitting the road? Pack a first-aid travel kit

Sunscreen? Check. Credit cards for buying souvenirs? Check. Snacks for the drive? Check. You may think you have your packing list covered, but did you remember to pack a first-aid travel kit?

First aid might not be top of mind as you’re planning for a vacation, but there are many reasons you should pack a first-aid kit. Illnesses and injuries usually happen when you least expect them, so preparing ahead of time is smart.

What should a traveler first-aid kit include? Keep reading to get the scoop from our LCMC Health experts.

Preparing for the unexpected

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for the unexpected. While that’s true for everyday life, it’s also true when you’re hitting the road for vacation.

Think through any medical needs you might have while you’re traveling and once you reach your vacation destination. While you probably already know to take along medications you need on a regular basis, there are other items you should pack, too.

The basics of a first-aid travel kit

Wondering what to include in a travel first-aid kit? If you have a first-aid kit in your home (and you should), its contents can give you a good starting point.

Include basic items to help you handle illnesses and injuries when they occur as you travel, covering everything from motion sickness to minor cuts and scrapes. Tuck these items into a carrying case:

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Bandages of different types and sizes, including butterfly bandages to pull together the edges of a minor cut
  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable, instant-activating cold packs
  • Elastic wraps for joint injuries
  • Epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) for severe allergic reactions, if prescribed
  • Gauze pads and rolls, along with medical tape to secure the gauze
  • Hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds
  • Medications to treat different symptoms, including an antihistamine for allergies, antacids for an upset stomach, anti-nausea medications, anti-diarrhea medications, cold and cough medications, pain relievers, hydrocortisone cream for rashes, and calamine lotion for itching and irritation
  • Scissors for cutting tape or gauze
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers to remove splinters, bee stingers or ticks

Other items you might want to consider

While the items listed above will provide you the basics for a travel first-aid kit, you may also want to include some items specific to your destination or your road trip.

For one, do some homework ahead of time and research urgent care clinics and pharmacies at your destination—and along your route, if your road trip will take a few days. Check your insurance plan’s list of in-network providers, and then note the contact information and addresses for those providers. Make sure your insurance cards also make the trip.

Put some thought into your destination, too. If you’re headed to the beach, you’ll want to include first-aid items that could be helpful for injuries or illnesses related to heat, sun, sand or water. (Think aloe for sunburns or sports drink packets to replenish electrolytes.)

On the other hand, if you’re headed to the mountains, consider items you might need if something happened during a hike in the woods. (Think topical products for insect bites or bandage wraps for sprains.)

Once you’ve put together a travel first-aid kit, it can be reused for future trips. Just be sure to look through it regularly, replacing medications that have expired. Then pack it up and hit the road!

Feeling under the weather before or after your big trip? Schedule an appointment with a LCMC Health primary care provider to get back to feeling your best.