Accidents happen everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the supermarket or climbing Mount Everest — you can slip and break your leg in any environment. The difference between having an accident in a populated place like a store and a remote region like a mountain range is the accessibility of aid. It’s always smart to carry a first-aid kit, but not everyone knows that the necessities of one’s kit will vary depending on where one plans to go. You can buy ready-made first-aid kits from adventure stores or even your corner drug store, but these don’t necessarily have all the tools you’ll need while you’re on the road. Here’s a handy guide to help you pack essential first aid items to make you safer on your travels; from what kind of purification you should use to where to find satellite phone products, this guide has it all.
There are a handful of essential ingredients that every first-aid kit must contain. Seemingly simple cuts and scrapes shouldn’t be ignored in any scenario, as they can quickly become infected and require professional aid. Thus, you’ll need antiseptic wipes or spray to sterilize and clean wounds as well as antibiotic ointment to kill any possible beginnings of infection, and then standard bandages of varying size to keep out dirt and further microbes. To save yourself from infection from larger wounds, it’s helpful to carry gauze and adhesive tape; plus, these items come in handy in humid areas where bandages don’t stick well to the skin.
In addition, it is beneficial to carry simple tools like tweezers and scissors. Tweezers will enable you to better clean a dirty wound by picking out small pieces of debris you can’t reach with your fingers. Scissors will not only provide a means of cutting appropriate sizes of gauze and medical tape, but with them you can also trim dead skin off old wounds. Often times you can find these tools packaged together with other useful items, like a knife and a can opener, in a handy and space-saving multi-tool.
Finally, a small handful of painkillers may help you manage aches and pains from your travels that would otherwise slow you down. Over-the-counter options like ibuprofen or aspirin should be enough for most excursions. Additionally, a basic antihistamine comes in handy if you suffer from allergies or might have difficulty sleeping during your trip.
If you’re traveling beyond popular destinations in populous cities into remote regions or developing nations, you might need to add a few more items and tools to make your vacation as safe as it can be.
If you’ll be visiting a region where you won’t be able to trust the water, purification and filtration supplies are necessary. Purification tablets come in many varieties and strengths depending on the cleanliness of the water and are rather lightweight, but you might have to wait up to an hour for them to have full effect. You can also use gadgets like a SteriPen or a pump filter to clean and sanitize your water. Additionally, old fashioned boiling can be enough to make water potable, so you should carry matches in case your other methods run out or don’t work, as well as for a variety of other reasons.
Even if you utilize these methods to clean your water, you still have a chance of catching a stomach bug through food or water. Though it may feel terrible, you actually want your body to rid itself of the microbes, so vomiting and diarrhea should be allowed. But, you may need to halt the sickness for a few hours while you are in transit (perhaps to a hospital or clinic) so you should have anti-diarrhea tablets on hand. Then, when your illness is over, you’ll need a method to replenish your body of the vast amount of fluids it has lost, and rehydration salts work splendidly to achieve this.
In the event that your illness doesn’t cease in an appropriate amount of time, or you suffer an accident too severe to be addressed simply by gauze and anti-bacterial, you’ll need to be able to contact emergency services from any location. Consider renting a satellite phone to provide you the ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere on your vacation.
Renting provides you variable products and plans if you are an infrequent world traveler, but if you often visit the same remote regions, you might consider investing in a phone all your own.
Being hurt or sick and without the necessary supplies is one of the worst situations to be in. While minor scrapes and sicknesses can be addressed with a smartly packed first-aid kit, be prepared for the worst with an assured method of communication like a satellite phone.
Written by Steve Manley