What to Pack in a Travel Health Kit

Fever, diarrhoea, muscle strains – accidents or illnesses are not the first things that come to mind when planning a holiday. People with allergies need to be prepared so that they do not have to resort to inappropriate medications while abroad. Here are some tips for packing a travel health kit before you go.

It is best not to buy a ready-made kit, but instead to put together your own. Bring medications that you have tolerated well in the past. If you are unsure, discuss the options with your doctor. For exotic travel destinations, you may want to consult a doctor specialised in tropical medicine.

Packing list

  • Depending on the type and severity of the allergy: antihistamines, chromones, corticosteroids, beta2-adrenergic agonists, emergency anaphylaxis kit. Please note: even the newer antihistamines can make you feel tired and impair your ability to drive. When combined with jetlag and unfamiliar traffic situations, you may encounter real difficulties.
  • Pain and fever relief: over-the-counter analgesics. Tip: The active ingredients acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen and diclofenac may worsen asthma symptoms. People with asthma should use paracetamol instead.
  • Skin protection for all destinations: sunscreen, mosquito repellent, tick repellent, tick card. Tip: If you are prone to contact allergies, use perfume-free products. Mosquito repellents should be tested for tolerability at home before you leave. For sensitive skin, icaridin-based products may be better tolerated than DEET.
  • Additional medications depending on the destination
    Anti-diarrhoeal medicine and, if necessary, isotonic electrolyte powder and products for disinfecting water, antispasmodics for colic, cold and sore throat medication, ointment for sprains and bruises
  • A first-aid kit is also recommended
    containing disposable gloves (latex-free if you have a latex allergy), wound disinfectant, adhesive plasters (rubber-free if you have a latex allergy), sterile gauze compresses (7.5×7.5 cm), gauze bandages (8cm), tensor bandages (8cm), triangular bandage, scissors, breaksafe thermometer

Transport

Emergency medications that need to be taken regularly must be carried in your hand luggage. Pack enough doses for several days in case your checked baggage gets lost. To avoid hassles when going through airport security, you should carry a doctor’s note with you (e.g. for an anaphylaxis emergency kit). If you need a large amount of opioid medications or painkillers that are regulated by law, you may need to present a doctor’s note at customs.

Storage

Many medicines are sensitive to high or low temperatures. For example, asthma inhalers may lose their effectiveness if they are stored in direct sunlight. And most adrenaline autoinjectors should not be kept at temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius. (If the liquid is cloudy, this could indicate reduced effectiveness.) If you have to transport sensitive medicines for a long period of time, use freezer packs. Avoid direct contact between the freezer packs and the medicines. When travelling by car, store the medicines under the passenger seat. In hotel rooms, store them in the refrigerator.

More tips

  • If you have taken the same travel health kit with you on holiday many times, check the expiry date of the medicines.
  • Keep package inserts in a separate location. This makes it easier to replace the medicines or look for similar alternatives.
  • Bring your travel allergy passport, vaccination certificate and the telephone number of your treating physician in Germany.
  • You may also want to take along a food allergy dictionary or install a translation app.