The summer travel season kicks off with Memorial Day weekend, and Prisma Health encourages everyone to create travel first-aid kits before heading out since even small injuries, if left untreated, can derail a vacation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44% of Americans do not have first-aid kits even though having a well-stocked and maintained kit is essential in being prepared for accidents.
“We all like to think that nothing bad is going to happen to us, but injuries can happen anywhere at any time and to anybody,” said Dr. Nathaniel Mann, a Prisma Health emergency medicine physician who is also fellowship-trained in wilderness medicine. “Being adequately prepared by having all vital medical products in one accessible location may reduce the severity of an injury, save your vacation or even help save a life.”
He suggested that people create their own kits instead of buying pre-packaged ones. Augment your kit with items specific to you and your family’s needs.
Mann recommended starting with these essentials:
- Stop-the-Bleed kit, to include compression dressings or a tourniquet you’ve been trained to use
- Even if you don’t have severe allergies to bees or wasps, consider carrying an EpiPen. Familiarize yourself with its use ahead of time.
- Include something sugary like gluose tablets or even gummy candies to treat episodes of low blood sugar
- Adhesive bandages of assorted sizes to cover minor cuts and scrapes
- Sterile gauze pads of various sizes
- Medical adhesive tape to attach gauze pads to skin around wounds
- Antiseptic wipes to disinfect wounds
- Non-latex gloves
- Pain relievers: ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and aspirin
- Antihistamines to relieve allergies or itching
- Dramamine or an anti-nausea medicine for motion sickness
- Consider an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection in open wounds
- Calamine lotion/hydrocortisone cream for bug bites or poison ivy
- A list of emergency phone numbers and allergies of family members
“The more remote you plan on going, the more prepared you should be to handle minor injuries by yourself. Remember that some of these medications can do double duty – for example, you may not be prone to motion sickness in a car, but Dramamine could mitigate vertigo or dizziness from an unexpected sinus infection,” said Mann.
Not every sickness or injury can or should be treated at home, said Mann. “Get as much training as you can, but trust your gut and know when to seek help.”
Prisma Health offers On Demand Video Visits for around-the-clock urgent care for everything from suspected strains, minor burns and cuts, dizziness, fever and minor head injuries. Learn more at PrismaHealth.org/VirtualCare.
For a complete list of first-aid kit supplies recommended by the American Red Cross, visit https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/anatomy-of-a-first-aid-kit.html..