Sunday, February 19, 2006

Traveler's First Aid kit

What medicine always goes in your bathroom bag when you travel? This is my new favorite question I ask when chatting with other travelers. I've heard bag-balm, Pepto-Bismol tablets, weed, pain relievers, or condoms.

In the last 10 months we've been living in Costa Rica, but have traveled to Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala. And being the hypochondriac that I am, I've put together a beat-em-up first aid kit that does not take up too much space. It has already come in handy. This is only my personnel list, hopefully it will get you thinking about what you should carry with you depending on where you are going, what type of traveling you intend on doing and the current status of your health. Do you really want to spend a couple of days sick than a few more trying to find the right medicine or doctor? Planning ahead and prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here's what's in my bag:

Pepto-Bismol Tablets, these are small pink tablets that help with most digestion problems: otherwise known as the Black Water Fever, otherwise known as shits like you’ve never known!

Ciproxina 500, this is a strong general antibiotic for infections that just won't heal. Or if you have a serious case of diarrhea and or throwing up you can take one of these and it will clear your system out of everything, but only for very serious instances. Don't take antibiotics on a whim; you don't want to develop resistance. I met a fellow traveler-pill popper who got sick, ended up in the (developing nation) hospital for five days and went through 3 strong antibiotics before getting better. The doctors never did figure out what the virus was.

Imodium, is for blocking up your system during diarrhea. I only take immodium when dehydration becomes an issue. It blocks both the good and bad stuff.

Fluconazol is a one pill antibiotic for yeast infections. For me, this is only for use in remote areas. For a natural cure for yeast infections go here.

Bandages and band aids, include various sizes. Also don't forget. moleskin, if you plan to do serious hiking.

Antibacterial skin cream for various scrapes and open wounds. In the tropics you can never be too careful.

DEET and Anti-itch cream, I just discovered Jungle Juice, which is %100 DEET. Anything else is pathetic. Spray this on; don't take a shower for a couple of days and you are good to go. Yes, there are health problems associated, but it works for me. But it might kill you or make you insane. Dengue is a serious problem in Central America, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Plus bites are prone to infection. I contracted mange, the skin disease, in Mexico after a bug bite. It lasted for six months because I refused to take antibiotics. Now I carry them everywhere!

Pain killers, I carry a little bit of ibuprofen, aspirin and vicadin. Ibuprofen is for headaches and cramps. Aspirin doesn't do anything for me, but I heard it is good for heart attacks. And the vicadin is for serious broke your arm kind of injuries. Or for hellishly long plane rides!

Sun Block I didn't think I had to list this but we had some guests come without, so here it is on the list. It's up there with toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss. Sun block is expensive down here so please, if you come to visit us, bring your own sun block.

So that's what's in my bag. For more information on healthy traveling see The Travel Clinic hosted by a doctor specializing in traveler’s health. Also it's helpful living in a country where you can buy your own drugs over the counter from a knowledgeable pharmacist.

PS: Do not pet cats and dogs on the street. I just saw a well fed and well taken care of dog with ring worm. And we all know what ring worm leads to....

Good night, I'm going to go cleanse my colon and puke.


John the Bartender said...

Donofan!!! Never leave home without it!
It works like magic when you've got the runs. I mean magic- it dries you up almost instantly. I first discovered it while traveling through Peru.
And being in a Latin American country, you can get it right over the counter...

Great blog. We're thinking of moving to Costa Rica and I read it often.

Roberta Robles said...

Thanks I'll have to look that up, although I don't want to be 'bloated' with diarrea medice! hehe