Save Yourself! How to Pack a Travel Med Kit

From Aches to Zzzs, here's what you need.

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    Aches and Pains

    “Travel with some type of anti-inflammatory, especially if you forgot how nonathletic you were before agreeing to that 20-mile volcano hike,” advises nutritionist Monika Woolsey. Lombardi carries adhesive patches called SalonPas, “which reduce pain, swelling, inflammation, and bruises. I plastered them all over my knee when I slipped on a wet rock in the Alps,” she says.
    SalonPas
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    Blisters and Chafing

    Pack moleskin for the insides of your shoes, advises wellness coach Ivonne Berkowitz-Ward, useful in helping to relieve "any rubbing or irritation when walking, even [with] comfortable shoes."   For relieving and preventing all sorts of chafing, longtime flight attendant Toni Vitanza packs a tube of Monistat chafing relief powder gel, "generally available near the OTC feminine hygiene and yeast infection stuff," she notes, though it isn't used to treat yeast infections, nor is it just for women.
    Monistat
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    Bloating and Constipation

    Enzyme supplement Beano will help prevent gas, particularly useful on long flights "and if you're sensitive to bloating and constipation, it's an easy remedy," Woolsey says. The supplement's also handy if you're trying a more vegetarian diet and your body isn't used to it, she notes. An alternative constipation remedy might be your cup of tea, literally. "Smooth Move" tea from Traditional Medicinals and Yogi Tea’s "Get Regular" teabags are among those containing "the senna leaf, which is a gentle laxative,” says Berkowitz-Ward. “After a nighttime cup, everything is back to normal the next morning,” she suggests, “with no cramping or long-lasting effects."
    Beano
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    Close Shaves

    “A styptic pencil is something I never imagined I might need until I was on my honeymoon and cut my leg shaving,” Berkowitz-Ward says, and the cut wouldn’t stop bleeding. The aluminum sulfate in the chalky pencil helps staunch the blood flow from shaving cuts and other small nicks.
    Clubman
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    Fever

    For overall ease of use, especially if you’ve got kids in tow, spring for a digital ear thermometer. And ensure you’ve packed age-appropriate varieties of your favorite fever-reduction meds.
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    Nausea

    Crystallized ginger will help "combat that queasy, seasick feeling on boats and planes," Lombardi says. If you don’t know if you’re prone to seasickness, especially before your first ocean boat ride, consider popping an anti-motion sickness pill like Bonine or Dramamine. Take it an hour before your ride, because if your attitude is “I’ll take the pill if I need it," the first time you realize you need it may well be when you’re theatrically vomiting over the rail.
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    Splinters

    A sewing needle and tweezers are indispensible for splinter removal, Lombardi says, as are a small mirror and magnifying glass. “And the mirror also can be used to signal in distress.”
    iStock
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    UTIs

    A urinary tract infection “can ruin a trip faster than anything,” Vitanza says, and “all honeymooners and any woman intending to visit a hot tub or pool” are wise to bring an OTC product to treat the infections, she says. While UTI’s are best treated by prescription antibiotics, OTC meds like Cystex and Uristat can help alleviate UTI discomfort until you can get a prescription.
    Cystex
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    Zzz Deprivation

    This is an at-home problem, too, but the stakes are a bit higher when drowsiness can spoil an expensive vacation or impair your attention span while operating a car, Jet Ski, or other heavy machinery. “If I'm in a different time zone, my body clock may be off, so I make sure to pack a few melatonin tablets,” Berkowitz-Ward says. “Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by our bodies, which helps regulate sleep. You can get melatonin tablets at any supermarket, drugstore, or nutrition supplement store,” and they’re usually shelved with dietary supplements, not sleep aids. Melatonin dosage for adults is small, she says, between 1.5 and 5mg. Take it a half hour to an hour before bedtime, try to allow yourself about eight hours of sleep, and take it only when you need it, otherwise “it may throw off your body's natural balance of [melatonin] and other hormones.”
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