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11 items to pack in your travel medical kit

When you leave home, it pays to be prepared in case you get sick. Although you might be able to find medication at your destination, you could fall ill late at night and pharmacies might be closed.

And if you're going abroad, consider that the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 50 percent of the drugs on shelves in the developing world are substandard or counterfeit. No matter where your travels take you, the CDC recommends bringing the following items in a carry-on bag that you keep with you.

  • Your prescription medications in their original containers with your name and dosing regimen on the label (take what you'll need for the duration of your trip, plus a few extra days' worth just in case).
  • Copies of your prescriptions, including the generic names of the drugs.
  • Pain medication, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
  • An over-the-counter drug for diarrhea, such as loperamide (Imodium A-D and generic) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol and generic).
  • A mild laxative.
  • An antacid.
  • An antihistamine, a decongestant, and a cough suppressant for colds and allergies.
  • Medication for motion sickness.
  • A hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol).

Learn more about how to stay healthy on vacation.

This article also appeared in the June 2014 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.


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