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DR. KESTNER: Always be prepared before trip

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(As always, The Murfreesboro Post likes to provide our readers with top-quality information. This article contains some excellent tips on first aid kits. Clip and save this page to help you assemble the kit.)

Traveling is adventurous. It’s all about seeing new places, great friends or relatives, eating new foods and trying new things. Sometimes it can also be about recovering from a minor accident or illness or possibly worse.

Even with over $3 per gallon gasoline, chances are good that you will be traveling somewhere this summer. Traveling away from home means that you will not have easy access to emergency supplies if a medical need arises.

Carrying a first aid kit is always a good idea, even when driving locally. If you have children, it is even more important.

The first aid kits available for purchase are convenient but are not as beneficial as one you prepare yourself. The store-bought kits usually have a few items that are genuinely handy, and typically contain many useless items as well. You can do much better by preparing your own.

What are the most important items to include in your kit? The answer depends on what sorts of emergencies you want to be prepared for.

For example, snake bite kits are seldom useful, but bandages frequently are.

Are you preparing to save lives, or simply to handle minor urgent matters? Will you be traveling in remote areas, or will you be able to simply stop at a nearby supermarket to obtain items if you need them?

The items listed below are very handy to cover a multitude of possible scenarios. You can make a decision of whether to make a kit that actually contains all of the listed items or to simply pack the essentials and carry the list in case you need to make a stop at a grocery or convenience store while traveling.


Double check all prescriptions that may be appropriate for all travelers. Take enough medication for the length of traveling plus two days. You will not be able to re-supply easily while traveling.

Over the counter medications to consider:

• Acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc.) or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.): Pain, fever

• Diphenhydramine HCL (Benadryl, etc.): Antihistamine, allergies, sleep aid

• Pseudoephedrine HCL (Sudafed, etc.): Decongestant (Over the counter, but you have to sign for it.)

• Loperamide (Imodium, Kaopectate, etc): Diarrhea

• Antibiotic cream or ointment (Neosporin, Bacitracin, etc): cuts, scrapes, burns

• Motion sickness medication (variable products - ask your doctor)

• Hydrogen peroxide to cleanse and disinfect cuts and abrasions


• Variety of sizes in bandages (Buy a quality brand.): Remember to include kids style if appropriate

• Fingertip and knuckle bandages are very useful

• Adhesive tape (White cloth tape, coach tape)

• Selection of gauze pads

• Butterfly closures

Other items:

• Cleaning wipes

• Utility scissors

• Soap

• Bottled water

• Latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves

• Tweezers

• Magnifying glass or reading glasses

This list is not comprehensive and you may not choose to include every item.

Other handy travel items to pack include:

• Flashlight with fresh batteries

• Knife

• Multi-function tool or simple tool kit

• Duct tape

• Sunscreen

• Insect repellant

• Maps

• Cell phone

• Extra cash

• Paper towels

• Emergency snacks

• Zipper-type plastic bags

You should also carry a list of phone numbers from home with you.

The first numbers on the list should be all your doctors’ office numbers. When you are traveling and need medical advice, your local doctor’s office may be of more assistance than someone that doesn’t know you. If you are unsure of where to go for emergency care, they may be able to help you get the care you need quickly.

Also carry the phone numbers of friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers that you might possibly need to reach in an emergency.

Pack your insurance card and medication list.

One final travel tip: Make a photocopy of all credit cards (front and back) and other documents before you go. Either leave a sealed copy with a trusted friend back home or scan it and email it (securely) to yourself so that you can retrieve it anywhere in the world. If your wallet is lost or stolen this information can be priceless in helping you report lost credit cards quickly.

Next week: Helpful solution for a common source of foot pain.
Tagged under  Dr Mark Kestner, Fist Aid kit, Health Care, Living Well, Voices

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