First-Aid Travel Kit

Q What should I take along in a small travel medical kit?
A Of course you'll want your doctor's name and phone number and an extra supply (in their original bottles)of prescription medicines you take routinely. You also need sunscreen, insect repellent, antibiotic ointment, pain reliever, and an assortment of bandages. But experts say that some of the most useful items to pack in a first aid kit are those that can pull double duty in an emergency.

  • Antibacterial baby wipes can kill the germs on your hands before a meal and clean up a scrape after a bike spill.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate tablets, sold as Pepto-Bismol, can quell heartburn and diarrhea.
  • Gel bandages can protect blisterprone feet and help a cut heal without scarring.
  • Aloe vera gel soothes minor burns, whether from the sun, a teakettle, or a cheap razor.
  • Diphenhydramine, or Benadryl, will blunt many allergic reactions, from hay fever to hives, and can double as a sleep aid.
  • Needle-nose tweezers make safe removal of ticks and splinters easy.
  • Sugarless chewing gum can distract a cranky child, relieve ear pain during a plane landing, and serve as a stopgap for a broken filling.

You can easily assemble a kit by buying an existing one and adding to it. Most AAA Travel Stores (888-386-5386) sell the 53-piece Lifeline First Aid Kit (member price $11.95

This article was first published in July 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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