Whenever we go away for a long trip, I always feel like a drug mule with my secret stash of drugs. So what are some ‘musts’ to pack (besides your prescribed medications)?
If you’re going for a while, it is likely you will need to take a pill at least once. Whether it’d be fore a headache or a backache, it’s always useful to have a packet within easy reach. We use Panadol or Nurofen
2. Diarrhroea tablets
If you have the runs whilst you’re in the middle of your trip, you’re gonna wanna take these. This is only a temporary solution to at least get you through the day, but once you are back at your hotel stop taking them and let nature take is course so you can get the bug out of your system. We use Gastro-stop
3. Electrolyte powder
This is something that is surprisingly difficult to find at pharmacies overseas. It’s very useful to have on hand to get your fluids up after having a bout of diahoreoa or vomiting (or if you’re really hungover). We use Hydralyte
Speak to your GP and ask for some general antibiotics you can take should you happen to fall ill from an infection. Not all GP’s are willing to do this, but it has been useful in the past especially when access to a doctor overseas is impossible. If you know you have a recurring infection like tonsillitis or a UTI it is good to have a antibiotics specific to them, on hand. There are many countries where antibiotics are freely available over the counter (such as India or Vietnam), so you can either just ask for a specific one or list your symptoms to the pharmacist and they can advise you
These are only required in certain countries such as those in Asia or Africa. The most common ones are Doxycycline, Malarone and Larium. Speak to your GP or travel clinic about what is best for you. Also make sure to mention if you’ll be going to any areas or altitude as this can make certain medications less effective.
Make sure you look into this months in advance as there are some vaccinations that are short on supply and require ordering in.
Take a look at the Fit for Travel site which lists the vaccinations required for each country.
Some countries require you to bring a certificate proving you’ve had a certain vaccination (like Tanzania with the Yellow fever vaccination) and if you don’t have proof they will inject you at the airport which may not have the most sanitary conditions.
General Tips to avoid Illness
In certain countries (especially Asia and Africa):
– don’t drink tap water
– avoid fresh salads as they have been washed in tap water
– don’t have ice in your drinks
– brush your teeth with bottled water
– use hand sanitizer before and after you eat
– avoid raw meats
– avoid meat if you are in the mountains (often they are transported by donkeys over a few days unrefrigerated)
– for malaria prone areas use insect repellent, mosquito net if available and avoid dark clothing
– stay hydrated, especially in hot conditions
– if you cut yourself make sure you clean it with antiseptic and cover it up straight away, if you don’t have that available see if you can access some salt and water and use that temporarily to clean out the wound
The medications and advice recommended are targetted for common issues that travellers experience. If you feel that you experience something more severe make sure you seek medical attention urgently. Travel insurance is a must, I would recommend cover that includes at least AUD$10 million for medical coverage.
Have a great time on your trip and stay safe 🙂
Til next time
Ann & Jason xo