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Packing Your Medical Kit for Overseas Travel

I always bring a small medical kit when traveling overseas, which has, on a number of occasions, helped me keep minor medical maladies from becoming major disasters. I’ve done a lot of research about the best medical items to bring, and road-tested many of them. What you’ll want to pack depends on where you’re going and your health issues, but here’s a basic list:

  • Containers of liquid iodine and anti-bacteria ointment for cleaning wounds and preventing infection. I don’t buy individually wrapped wipes because I find they’re only useful for the most minor cuts.
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets to ward off indigestion and Imodium A-D for when the Pepto just isn’t cutting it.
  • Band-aids for small wounds and gauze pads and a small roll of medical tape for larger wounds. I also take moleskin for blisters.
  • Over-the-counter pain medicine.
  • Antihistamine—even if you have no allergies at home, you may be allergic to exotic plants and animals on your trip.
  • A tiny bottle of eye drops for dry or dusty locales.
  • Fine-point tweezers for removing splinters and a small set of scissors for cutting tape and bandages.
  • Iodine tablets to purify water.
  • A pair of surgical gloves for whoever is called upon to play doctor.
  • A few doses of Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), a heavy-duty antibiotic used to treat everything from dysentery to anthrax. You need a prescription for this one—my doctor gives me one for trips to third-world or tropical destinations.

Add to this list your prescription medicines and whatever specialty items you might need.

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