First Aid carry-on for air travel

Now that many of the airlines are charging for checking your bags, you might want to think about carrying your travel-ready first aid kit with you on the airplane.  What kind of things might you want to have with you during an upcoming trip/holiday?  Obviously what you carry depends on where you’re going (ie. is it a year-long Peace Corps trip in Africa or a weekend get-away to the nearest beach?)  These some general suggestions:

1)  Medication for headache (Excedrin, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc)

2)  Medication for heartburn/indigestion (Zantac, Pepcid, Prilosec, Tums, etc.)

3)  Blister protection (Mole Skin)

4)  The medications you normally take each day – make sure you take enough for your entire trip.  I recommend keeping your meds in your carry-on, just in case your baggage gets lost in transport. Clearly label the bottles or better yet, keep them in your normal prescription bottles in case you’re questioned by TSA about the contents.  If you’ll be taking controlled substances such as narcotics, bring a note from your prescribing doctor on letterhead.  Be aware of local laws that may prevent you from taking controlled substances in some countries, even if you have a prescription.

5)  Sun Screen

6)  Insect Repellant

7)  Allergy Medicine (such as benadryl which can also help with sleep).

8)  Ear plugs – which also may help you sleep

9)  Alert bracelet if you have diabetes, or severe allergy/medical condition

10)  Anti-diarrhea medicine such as loperamide

11)  Medication to help treat constipation such as docusate

12)  Cold medicine such as sudafed to help with congestion

13)  Anti-motion sickness medicine

14)  Adhesive bandages (multiple sizes)

15)  Adhesive tape

16)  Antifungal/Antibiotic ointment/cream

17)  Anti-itch cream for mosquito bites/stings

18)  Hand wipes – Antibacterial an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol

19)  Extra pair of contact lenses or glasses if you wear them

20)  Water purification tablets

21)  Contact card with information such as family member or close contact back home with phone number.  Your health care provider’s name and telephone number.  The hospitals/clinic locations and numbers in the area you will be visiting.  US embassy or consulate in the area you are visiting.

22)  Medication for Malaria prevention – in some destinations

23)  Medication to help prevent/treat high altitude sickness – some destinations

24)  Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas.

This document is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual patient.  If you have questions please contact your medical provider.


I hope that you have found this information useful.  Wishing you the best of health,

Scott Rennie, DO



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