7 First Aid items for Travel in 2020

first aid for travel

Ssssssssthh!!! The seething stream of air between your teeth as you realise… you’ve got a papercut. Similarly minor skin cuts can turn into full blown infections and, I gotta tell ya, it ain’t pretty! So, the next time you get a cut or graze, reach for your first aid kit. Haven’t got one? You should definitely consider packing your own. Here is a brief list of reason why:

  1. You don’t know what kind of injury you might get – there’s a big difference between a seemingly harmless paper cut and a life-or-death rabies bite.
  2. You don’t know where the nearest Pharmacy might be, what time it opens or closes and whether or not it will stock what you need.
  3. There might not be any nearby shops that sell first aid kits or items of the sort.
  4. You can prevent small problems becoming bigger problems later on…

This Fist Aid Checklist will form a solid foundation of your First Aid Kit for your travel needs. Each section will have a selection of options, for you to choose from, for that type of First Aid item.

7 First Aid Items Checklist

  1. Plasters
  2. Antiseptic
  3. Saline pods
  4. Painkillers
  5. Antihistamines
  6. Rehydration Salts
  7. Thermometer

Your First Aid Kit should be small enough to carry with you everywhere – on a walk, hike, bicycle ride or even a quick trip to the shops.

Never Leave your first aid kit behind!

1. Plasters

  • Fabric Plasters
  • Waterproof Plasters
  • Hydrocolloid Plasters
Duoderm Extra Thin Dressing 5cm x 10cm | UK PHARMACY STOCK
DuoDerm Extra Thin Hydrocolloid Plaster

Plasters stop dirt and germs getting into a wound. In this way, plasters act as an oh-so-important second skin. They help blood to clot (to stop bleeding) and aid faster healing. Pack a variety of sizes and types of plasters – fabric, waterproof and hydrocolloid. Packing familiar brands and plasters you’ve used before are ideal especially if you have allergies to plaster adhesive or if you have sensitive skin.

Fabric and waterproof plasters have a little white pad in the middle to absorb exudate coming out of your wound. They have to be replaced daily and when the wound has stopped bleeding you should use a hydrocolloid plaster.

Picture 2 of 2
Cut a piece of DuoDerm Extra Thin to cover the area you need. Leave it on for 5 to 7 days or even longer. Completely waterproof and no need to replace it.

Hydrocolloid plasters (think Compeed or DuoDerm Extra Thin) are fantastic at keeping out water and reducing scarring. They’re a “stick and forget” kind of plaster as you don’t have to replace them daily. One hydrocolloid plaster typically lasts upwards of 5 days. They survive daily showering, bathing and swimming. You will want to use hydrocolloid plasters for covering up blisters – or, better yet, over skin that is likely to get rubbed the wrong way and prevent a blister in the first place.

2. Antiseptic

  • Antiseptic Creams
  • Alcohol Wound Wash
  • Iodine dry powder spray
Betadine 9X0061 Anti-Microbial Dry Powder Spray, 100ml: Amazon.co.uk:  Business, Industry & Science
Betadine Iodine dry powder spray – great for preventing wound infections!

Antiseptic wound wash helps stop wounds getting infected. Antiseptics can be alcohol based – which might make the wound sting so keep that in mind if the wound is large. Iodine dry-powder spray (like Betadine or Savlon) can be applied on a wound which has stopped bleeding to prevent infection. Alternatively, antiseptic creams like Savlon or Germolene can be applied generously to prevent infection on an open wound.

3. Saline Pods

Irripod Sterile Saline Pods - comes in handy twist-open pods, ideal for  accurate directional irrigation or dispensing gentle drops.
0.9% Saline pods are plastic twist top pods filled
with 20ml sterile water. Irripod is one such brand.
Sterets Normasol 25ml Sachets - Saline Wash - 5,10, 15. 20 or 25 Sachets
0.9% Saline sachets, such as Normasol. Each sachet contains 25ml sterile water.
  • 0.9% Saline Sterile water Pods
  • 0.9% Saline Sterile water Sachets

Saline pods are used for wound washing and eye washing. Whereas alcohol-based wound wash can sting, saline water does not! You will want to have about 2 to 5 pods or sachets in your kit.

4. Painkillers

  • Paracetamol (Panadol)
  • Ibuprofen (Nurofen)
Nurofen 200mg Tablets 24 Tablets
Ibuprofen brand Nurofen
Paracetamol brand Panadol

Paracetamol tablets help bring down a fever and reduce pain. Ibuprofen also helps bring down a fever and reduce pain, but it also helps reduce swelling. However, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen may not be suitable for everyone so check with your Doctor or Pharmacist to make sure it’s right for you.

Although they are known as painkillers, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen help treat headaches, injuries, backpain and bites. An essential fist aid item!

5. Antihistamines

  • Chlorphenamine (Piriton)
  • Cetirizine (Zirtek)
  • Loratadine (Clarityn)
  • Acrivastine (Benadryl)
Zirtek Allergy Relief Tablets (Pack of 7) - Selles Medical
Cetirizine brand Zirtek
Loratadine brand Clarityn
Acrivastine brand Benadryl
Chlorphenamine brand Piriton

Antihistamines can help control the itch from a bite, skin swelling, reduce the spread of a rash and cool down allergies.

Chlorphenamine is a great fast acting but short duration antihistamine, it’s also likely to make you sleepy (drowsy). Cetirizine and Loratadine are fast acting too but their duration is much longer and they are less likely to make you drowsy. Acrivastine is a fast acting, medium duration, non-drowsy antihistamine and would be the preferred choice, however it is the most expensive!
Chlorphenamine, Cetirizine, Loratadine and Acrivastine may not be suitable for everyone so check with your Doctor or Pharmacist to make sure it’s right for you.

6. Rehydration Salts

  • Dioralyte sachets
  • Dioralye Relief sachets
  • O.R.S (Oral Rehydration Salts)
Dioralyte Relief Sachets
Dioralyte Sachets
O.R.S. Hydration Tablets Tube of 24
O.R.S brand Oral Rehydration Salts

When you have diarrhoea or you’re vomiting you will want to replace the water and the slats you’ve lost. Rehydration salt sachets such as Dioralyte are easy to dissolve in water. You then drink the resulting mixture – recommend you take small sips to ease absoprtion. They come in natural, lemon and blackcurrant flavour. Dioralyte Relief sachets are slightly different as they also contain rice powder to help slow down the diarrhoea by bulking up the stools. They come in raspberry and blackcurrant flavour.

O.R.S, Oral Rehydration salts, are tablets which fizz in water so there’s no need to shake or stir the mixture. These come in strawberry, lemon or blackcurrant flavour.

7. Thermometer

  • Infrared Thermometer
  • Digital Thermometer
Digital Body Thermometers Adult Medical Digital LCD Temporal Thermometer  Oral, Rectal, Underarm Thermometer Waterproof Basal Thermometer for Adults,  Baby or Kids(greenpinecone): Amazon.co.uk: Baby
Digital thermometer
China Digital Thermometers Electronic Non Contact Gun Body Best Infrared  Medical Thermometer - China Infrared Thermometer, Infrared Thermometer  Non-Contact
Infrared thermometer

Last but not least, a Thermometer that can measure in Degrees Centigrade and/or Degrees Fahrenheit is indispensable. Using a thermometer is the only way to measure a fever. Make sure to test your themometer works and replace the battery if needed before you travel.

Posted by

I am a UK GPhC registered Pharmacist in London