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Your guide to first aid kit while travelling

Are you geared up for your long-awaited vacay? All your clothes and travelling gear are packed, your camera is battery ready and you are all set to go. Before you rush out of the door into that blissful holiday and forget about the whole world, let us remind and guide you about your first aid kit too.

Like your camera or travelling gear, a first aid kit is one of the most essential items in your pack. 

While there are many pre-packed ones available in the market, you must customise depending upon your needs. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this…

What to keep in mind: 

Before you begin, it would help to take note of the below pointers…

  • Your kit should be selected according to your destination and mode of transport. Make a note of the place, climate, type of travel, any mandatory medication, the number of people as well as their age group.
  • Keep the kit light and practical for ease in movement. Also, ensure that it is in a bag that is accessible and easy to carry. Imagine being bitten by an insect and frantically searching for an antiseptic inside a huge backpack. Not a pleasant situation to be in!  
  • Do not forget the basic medications that should be a part of your first aid kit. A couple of analgesic tablets, antihistamines for allergies, tablets for cold and flu, throat lozenges as well as specific illness medication that you may be taking daily should be a part of your medicine kit. 
  • Do check the expiry date of what all you are carrying.

Gauze, cotton balls or swabs for cleaning wounds  

WHY: Nobody wants to get bruises and cuts ever, let alone when they are in the midst of enjoying their sojourn. Having said that, one has to be prepared, especially while trekking and travelling to hilly regions. These come to your aid to handle any wound, cut, bite or rash. Reason being, while visiting various places, your hands touch several unknown surfaces. In case you land up with an open cut, rash or bruise, you risk infection and other serious diseases if you touch it with hands. The safer option would be to use cotton balls or swabs as they are made of pure sterilized cotton. 

HOW: Just pour or dab the antiseptic on it and gently dab on the wound. 

Note: While cotton balls and swabs are ideal for cleansing and applying any medication, they (especially cotton) should not be kept on the wound. There are chances of the loose fibre sticking to the affected area and causing infection. It is also important to dispose of the used cotton ball or swab properly so that it does not come in contact with any other person. 

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Antiseptic solution

WHY: As you will be in remote areas with little access to doctors, it is best to take as many preventive measures as possible. An antiseptic solution comes handy as it is effective in disabling the germs from spreading as well as kills disease-causing bacteria. These heroes can be used for small bruises and cuts.

HOW IT WORKS: When you sustain a cut and the wound remains open, bacterial microorganisms start to settle in the wound and fester. The antiseptic solution contains ingredients that go inside to stop the growth of such microorganisms. It helps in cleaning the wound of any external debris that may lead to pus formation or festering and spread of infection. 

HOW TO USE: Wash your hands with an antiseptic soap. After drying with a clean towel, take a clean cotton swab to dab a bit of the solution on to the wound. Depending on the cut, you can apply a diluted or concentrated form. 

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Medication for an upset stomach

WHY: More often than not, one of the major problems that arise while travelling is an upset stomach. After all, who can resist gorging on amazing local delicacies when in a beautiful destination!

HOW IT WORKS: Most herbal medications contain your ordinary kitchen ingredients that help retain and maintain a healthy stomach. Jeera, lemon, ginger, black salt, edible soda, ajwain, etc are some ingredients commonly found in them. 

HOW TO USE: Follow the instructions mentioned on the packaging. However, we do request you to consult with your physician before partaking any medication. 

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Band-aid

WHY: Used to protect a minor cut or wound against infection, a band-aid is a gauze with medical solution patch and adhesive. It also keeps the wound safe against friction and dirt. 

Please note: If your cut is too deep, please consult with a doctor no matter where you are.

HOW IT WORKS: A band-aid works by protecting and healing the wound. It covers an open cut and thereby blocks any contact with external elements that may contain infections or dirt. The safeguarding helps recover the cut and heals better and faster. 

HOW TO USE: After cleaning the wound or cut with an antiseptic liquid using a cotton ball, dry the wound and surrounding area with a clean towel. Stick a band-aid in such a manner that the medicated gauze covers the concerned area exactly. It is important to change once the old one gets wet. 

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Thermometer

WHY: High fever should not be taken lightly and be addressed at the earliest. This is especially important if you are travelling with children. 

HOW IT WORKS: If you see signs of tiredness or unusual warmth on the skin, check the body temperature using a digital thermometer. It will tell you how much fever the person is having and accordingly you can decide the course of action.

HOW TO USE: Put it under your tongue till the beeper goes off and the display will show the temperature.

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Hand Sanitizer

WHY: Be it travelling in a train or your car, walking or just sitting in a restaurant to eat your lunch, your hands have been to all places, good and dirty. The best way to avoid diseases is to wash your hands with soap. But if you are on the go it in a place where this is not an option, a hand sanitizer comes to the rescue. 

HOW IT WORKS: These contain specific ingredients that help in killing bacterial cells. They fight all kinds of germs on your hands and help protect them from spreading infections.

HOW TO USE: Just pour a small portion in your hands and rub it well in your palms, between fingers and all over. Do keep a time gap if you are planning to eat. 

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Mosquito Repellent

WHY: As you already may be aware, the mosquito carries within in many dangerous diseases. Unfortunately, they might crop up no matter what type of travel destination. 

HOW IT WORKS: Mosquitoes find its potential victim by their sense of smell. A good mosquito repellent will evaporate on the skin and work to block the sense of smell of a mosquito, thereby preventing it from finding its victim. 

HOW TO USE: Most mosquito repellents have to be applied to your skin thoroughly. Any exposed part of the body needs to be completely covered in the cream for it to work well.

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Other small items can be added to make your first aid kit more useful. Medical tape, alcohol wipes, tweezers, gauze pads, antibacterial ointment, latex gloves, electrolyte mixes and such can go a long way in making a smart and effective first aid kit. 

People always wish each other safe travels. It is best to avoid accidents and injuries. However, it is smart to carry a well-equipped first aid kit to address any untoward incident. 

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