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Health Essentials While Traveling

Guest Author - Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, M.D, F.A.A.P

One of the biggest packing hurdles today is figuring out what medications to bring and how much. Even with liquid bans on airplanes you can still pack what you need in your checked luggage. To help you be prepared for whatever health issues you may face while traveling, here’s a check list of items to consider. Not all items will be suitable for every family – you’ll know best what you should pack in your “just in case” medical bag.

First Aid Kit
either a prepacked kit you can obtain at any pharmacy or your own kit with the following:
1. Band-Aids of different sizes and shapes
2. Antiseptic cleanser
3. Topical antibiotic such as over the counter Bacitracin or Neosporin, or prescription Bactroban.
4. Cotton balls
5. Ace wrap
6. Finger splint (a popsicle splint works well for this)
7. Tape
8. Instant ice pack for musculoskeletal twists

Illness
1. Fever control medication: acetaminophen, ibuprofen
2. Thermometer
3. Portable bottles of oral hydration solution for infants and toddlers. Sports drinks such as Gatorade work well for all ages groups in a pinch for staying hydrated while sick. Some brands have powder packets you can mix with 8oz of water – Gerber has one called “liquilytes” that are handy for travel.
4. Antibiotics if you are traveling to remote areas (consider bring the chewable form if available) or if your child has a history of frequent infections such as ear infections or urinary tract infections. Consult your pediatrician about this if you have concerns.

Infants and Young Toddlers
1. Formula and bottles. Consider the powdered formula for easy of packing and traveling. Just be sure to mix well.
2. Baby food if not on table food
3. Diapers and swipes
4. Diaper rash ointment: Vaseline works for most situations or A&D
5. Dish soap to wash out bottles each day

Special Situations
1. Prescription medications
2. Daily medications including vitamins
3. Allergy medications: benadryl (diphenhydramine), epipen if needed
4. Cold and cough medications
5. High altitude medications for high locations
6. Sea Sickness medication for cruises and boat trips: patches for adults and older teens, dramamine
7. Sun block
8. Insect repellent
9. Special clothing for very warm, buggy, or cold locations
10. Buy bottled water every where you go – better to not risk tap water in even major cities.
Nuts and Bolts
1. Names, numbers, addresses, URLs and emails of medical facilities in the area you are visiting
2. Summary of medical histories in your family members including allergies, weights, medications, medical problems
3. Dates of last tetanus shot for all family members
4. Location of nearest large medical center and children’s hospital to where you are vacationing/traveling
5. Number of local embassy

Much of this may not be needed if you are traveling to a big city with easy to access medical care. But, if you are traveling to remote locations where medical care may be difficult to find or a few hours away, having essentials on hand will help you manage whatever comes up “in the field”.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, M.D, F.A.A.P. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, M.D, F.A.A.P. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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