Don’t Leave Home Without It: First Aid Kit

No, that picture wasn’t taken in 1979.  I just forgot to set the white balance on my camera.  See, everyone?  This is why I’m obsessive about white balance!

What you see above is the standard kit I pack every time I go abroad.  In fact, most of the stuff in that kit has already traveled to at least a handful of countries.  Fortunately, I haven’t had to use it!   However, not only do I like being prepared just in case of emergency, I also like caring for eighteen-year-old backpackers who left home woefully ill-prepared and now don’t know what to do with their blistered feet.  So what’s in my first aid kit?  I’ll take you through it clockwise from the top left, in a spiral just like a cinnamon bun!

  1. Bug spray.  This formula is relatively low in DEET as I don’t plan to visit any areas with malaria, dengue fever or other serious mosquito-transmitted diseases.
  2. Hand sanitizer.  This is a random spray bottle of hand sanitizer; I’ll have more purse-sized bottles as well.  Look for unscented for the airplane (and avoid Bath and Body Works scented hand sanitizers in enclosed spaces at all costs!).
  3. Moist towelettes, for scrubbing dirt and grime off my hands before disinfecting.  Also helpful for mid-day dirty feet tidying.
  4. Green pills- anti-diarrhea medication.  I’ve never had to take it but I’ve shared it with sick friends.
  5. Alcohol wipes to sanitize wounds, should wounding occur.
  6. Antibiotic ointment to protect and help heal cuts.
  7. Hydrocortisone cream to treat itching after bug bites (or Eastern European laundry detergent).
  8. The mysterious white case.  Inside this envelope are a few condoms and- take note- the morning after pill (also known as Plan B or emergency contraception).  I have been sexually assaulted while abroad before, though fortunately I haven’t been raped.  So far.  I carry condoms in case I choose to have sex, and I carry Plan B in case I don’t choose to have sex.
  9. Bandages.  Big, small, fabric, plastic… bandages galore!
  10. Moleskine.  A friend got me hooked on this- you just cut out a little square and stick it on your feet anywhere that shoes are rubbing in a way that might cause future blisters.
  11. Tabcin.  This is South American cold medication that you dissolve in water and drink.  It’s the most effective way I’ve found to treat cold symptoms.
  12. Yellow pills – paracetamol.  Painkillers.  There will be pain.
  13. Red tablets – lozenges in case of sore throat.
  14. Small pink pills – Benadryl.  An antihistamine in case of allergies and a “worst case scenario” sleep aid.  Do not take at the airport while waiting for a flight!

In retrospect, it might have been easier to explain them by row!  Next time!


One response to “Don’t Leave Home Without It: First Aid Kit

  1. Pingback: Carry-On Essentials | Lipgloss and a Backpack

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