If you have heard it once, you have heard it a million times: do not travel away from home without at least a basic first aid kit. That is good advice. And if you frequently travel to remote locations where emergency help is hard to find, you might need more than just a basic kit. Plan to take a few more items with you – just in case.
As a benefit to readers, this post will explain just what a basic travel first aid kit should look like. It will also explain how to use your kit should you ever find yourself in an emergency situation. It goes without saying that first aid is often the determining factor in how well a patient recovers from accident related injuries.
Contents of a Good Kit
Basic, travel approved first aid kits are pretty common. You can buy them online and in all sorts of brick-and-mortar stores. A good kit suitable for a couple of days of hiking or camping in an area fairly close to civilized society would include all of the items listed below:
- Strip Bandages – These are small, adhesive bandages ideal for small cuts and lacerations. They are also great for blisters and boils. Covering a small wound with a bandage helps keep out dirt and prevent infection.
- Gauze Bandages – Whether your kit has gauze patches or a roll of gauze strips, this material is suitable for deeper wounds. Gauze is a material designed to absorb blood and promote clotting simultaneously.
- Medical Tape – Gauze pads and strips are more easily held in place when you have medical tape. A high-quality medical tape will hold up even under wet conditions. It resists perspiration as well.
- Antibiotic Ointment – Preventing a wound from getting infected is the purpose of antibiotic ointment. A decent tube of ointment can be very helpful without taking up a lot of space in your kit.
- Pain Medication – A bottle of over-the-counter pain medication goes a long way toward making an injured patient more comfortable. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are all good choices for pain relief.
- Scissors – A good pair of scissors will be useful for cutting medical tape, trimming gauze pads, and safely removing skin from an open wound.
- Tweezers – You might need a pair of tweezers to deal with splinters and small objects embedded in open wounds.
- Thermal Blanket – It is a good idea to include a thermal blanket in your travel first aid kit. Though a lot of similar articles don’t mention the blanket, the need for one becomes obvious when you understand how easily shock can set in following an accident. A thermal blanket is critical to keeping someone who is in shock warm.
The items listed here are the starting point for a basic first aid kit. If you plan to travel into remote areas for any length of time, you might want to consider some additional items such as water purification tablets, antidiarrheal medicine, rehydration salts, butterfly bandages, and a quick clot medication.
How to Use Your First Aid Kit
By now you should understand just how important it is to have a first aid kit with you when you travel. But there is more to first aid than simply assembling the supplies you need. You also have to know how to use them. There is no better source of knowledge than a first aid class offered by a qualified organisation.
Anyone who travels away from home regularly could benefit from taking a first aid class. A typical class teaches basic first aid techniques including wound dressing, stabilising fractured bones, performing CPR, and even dealing with a variety of animal and insect bites.
One of the things you quickly learn in first aid class is that the care you provide to an injured patient is not intended to be a substitute for comprehensive medical care. First aid is really just to stabilise an injured person until he or she can be transported to a medical facility.
The take-away here is that it is a good idea to learn how to use the supplies in your first aid kit to render emergency care for the purposes of stabilising an accident victim. If you do not know how to properly dress an open wound, for example, your patient could end up with a serious infection before he or she ever makes it to the hospital.
A travel first aid kit, even if it is just a basic kit, should be non-negotiable for people who frequently travel away from home. Good first aid kits can be found online and at brick-and-mortar retailers. You can make your own kit as well, by starting with a weatherproof container and filling it with the sorts of things listed in this post.