First aid kit for travellers
First aid kit for travellers

The European winter is often the time for long trips abroad to exotic destinations where medicines are sometimes difficult to come by.

Be a savvy traveller:

That's why when you head abroad it's important to pack a basic medical kit.

"The contents depend on the holiday destination and the nature of the trip," says Ursula Sellerberg, from the German Associations of Pharmacists.

"Backpackers taking an adventure trip need different medicines to families going on an all-inclusive seaside holiday with the children."

However, certain medicines are an essential part of all travelling pharmacies, including fever suppressants, painkillers, anti-nausea medication and something for diarrhoea. Sun protection, disinfectant and dressings for wounds also belong in the kit.

Those travelling to malarial areas should thoroughly research whether prophylaxis is needed, and if so, which. A doctor should be consulted to prescribe the correct anti-malarial prophylaxis.

The travelling medical kit should be packed in the hand luggage, as checked-in luggage can go astray.

"Those on long-term medication should take more than they require and divide it up between their hand luggage and the bag that goes into the hold," Sellerberg advises.

The accompanying information leaflets to the medication should always be included, in case of emergency. Patients packing strong painkillers or similar medications should get a doctor's certificate to prevent difficulties when going through customs.

Travellers flying east or west through several time zones should attempt to change their sleeping patterns ahead of the journey to reduce jet lag and speed up adjustment. This means that those flying westward should go to bed later on the days leading up to the trip, while those travelling in the other direction should do the reverse.

By using the daylight hours appropriately after arrival at their destination, travellers can also get their body clock to adjust more quickly, going out into the daylight during the late afternoon in the west, and in the early morning in the east.

Women taking oral contraceptives may have to adjust the time that they take the pill. Whether this is necessary or not depends on the type and on whether they are travelling west or east.

The West Australian

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