I've received a couple of off-forum questions recently about the contents of my travel medical kit -- just as people often wonder where tour operators go on holiday, people seem curious about what a doctor packs in his travel medical kit, so I thought it might be useful to post them here.
I customise my medkit depending on trip length, planned activities, and the remoteness of my destination, but these are the basics -- note that this is in addition to any presription medication.
Hand sanitising gel
Alcohol or Betadine swabs for disinfecting cuts, scrapes, etc
Triple antibiotic ointment (Polysporin)
An assortment of plasters (bandages)
Sterile gauze pads and tape
Digital travel thermometer
Insect bite cream
A few throat lozenges (cough drops)
A course of antibiotics (Cipro)
A course of cold medicine (Sudafed)
A course of Immodium
Salt and sugar packets to create oral rehydration solution -- you can also buy commercial rehydration solution
Tweezers (on my Swiss army knife)
You don't need huge amounts of any one item -- I usually do 4 of each for things like plasters, gauze pads, alcohol swabs, salt packets etc. I have a little zipper pouch I got from a drug company, but you can put everything in a Ziploc bag to keep the smaller items from getting scattered through your luggage.
In case you're curious, so far I've used everything except the Cipro, Benadryl, and Immodium (touch wood) on my trips. This trip was the first one where I used the Betadine, gauze, and tape though...more on that in my trip report.
Because I have a bad ankle due to an old sports injury which tends to give out at inconvenient times, I'll bring an ACE bandage if I plan to do a lot of walking/hiking.
If I'm going somewhere extremely remote, I'll also take a separate emergency sterile kit (syringes, a blood draw/transfusion kit, and sutures). There is a high incidence of HIV in Africa and equipment does get re-used without being properly sterilised -- I don't want to make anyone paranoid, but it's something to consider. I've made up my own from supplies I got at the hospital, but you can buy them commercially as well. If you go to the trouble of bringing one of these, keep it in your daypack -- it doesn't do you much good sitting in your tent if you really need it.
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