Travel with Peace of Mind: Your Essential Holiday Medical Kit Guide from Infinity Medical Concierge

June 18, 2024

Ophthalmologist's Department

Preparing for end-of-year getaways can be a source of anxiety, especially when ensuring nothing vital is left behind. The contents of your travel medical kit are crucial for a stress-free vacation. Infinity Medical Concierge has sought advice from top health experts to ensure you're well-prepared for your December holiday.

We've consulted with Prof Guy Richards, a renowned Emeritus Professor of Pulmonology and Critical Care at the University of the Witwatersrand, for his expert advice on essential general medicines to pack:

    Pain / fever
  • Analgesic (pain relief) medicine such as paracetamol or aspirin.
  • Vomiting Diarrhoea
    • Diarrhoea medicine is not a good idea as if the cause is bacterial it worsens the condition.
    • Azithromycin for diarrhoea but only if it persist > 3 days, if there is a fever or if there is blood in the stool
  • Constipation
    • Mild laxative, for constipation.
  • Skin issues (bites, stings, allergic reactions)
    • Antiseptic solution for cleaning wounds or bites.
    • Sting relief solution, e.g. Stingose (aluminium sulfate).
    • Antihistamine tablets for bites, stings or allergies.
    • Low potency hydrocortisone cream.
  • Cuts/scrapes
    • Blister and wound patches, such as sticking plasters.
    • Wound dressings, e.g. a crepe bandage, gauze swabs and OpSite, and Steristrips, which can often take the place of stitches.
    • Safety pins, scissors and tweezers (you may not be allowed to carry these in your cabin luggage).
  • Nose/chest
    • Decongestants for colds. (Take the influenza vaccine before departing)
    • Throat lozenges for sore throats.
  • Depending on holiday
    • Motion sickness tablets if on a cruise.
    • Insect repellent
    • Water purifying tablets.
    • A mosquito-proof bed net
    • Altitude sickness medicines if necessary
    • Malaria prevention tablets
  • Miscellaneous
    • Antacid for indigestion.
    • Fluid and electrolyte replacement powder or tablets, e.g. Gastrolyte or HYDRAlyte.
    • Hand sanitiser or wipes.
    • Digital thermometer (a forehead thermometer is best for travel as it doesn’t break or run out of batteries).
    • Sunscreen (at least SPF 30+).
    • Ear plugs.
    • Health insurance card.
    • Spare pair of glasses or your eye prescription.

Prof Richards also added that regular prescription medicines should be kept in their original containers with clear labels and carried in your hand luggage when travelling. You should also take a letter from your doctor stating the names of the medicines, the dose and that they are for your personal use, plus a copy of your prescriptions, written using the generic name of the drug to avoid confusion with trade names in foreign countries. Note that some countries may not let visitors bring in certain medicines, so you may wish to check first with the embassy or consulate before you go.  

Travelling with children or grandchildren

For those of you holidaying with youngsters, Dr. Kim Barnard, a respected Paediatrician from Randburg, offers these additional child-specific recommendations:

  • Oral: Calpol/panado syrup; neurofen
  • Suppositories: empaped, ponstan
  • Vomiting and Diarrhoea
    • Zofran/zofer sublingual *
    • Tasectan sachet
    • Vivomixx (micro) (my preferred), but any probiotic really
    • Rehydrate sachet x2
  • Constipation
    • Glycerine suppositories
    • Lacson syrup
  • Sunburn
    • Avene’ thermal water
    • Burnshield gel
  • Skin issues (bites, stings, allergic reactions)
    • Clotrimazole cream (antifungal)
    • Supuriban or Fucidin ointment (antibacterial)
    • Anthisan (anti-itch)
    • Advantan (medium strength corticosteroid) *
    • Epimax ultra/Eucerin aquophore (irritations, eczema flares, nappy rash)
    • Antipeol (nappy rash)
  • Cuts/scrapes
    • Variety of plasters
    • Dettol/savlon for cleaning
  • Nose/chest
    • Congested/runny nose:
    • Saline spray (salex, sterimar physiomer etc)
    • Corticosteroid nose spray (I use zilfone) *
    • Iliadin
  • Wheezy chest: (these should be prescribed by your paed and therefore be in your med box. If you have never used them don’t self-prescribe)
    • If have nebuliser: Pulmicort (0.25) and Duolin*
    • If no nebulizer, use a spacer with Flixotide* and asthavent
  • Aspelone (if part of chronic management only. Not to be given without doctor direction) *
  • Antihistamine syrup: deselex, Telfast etc
  • Miscellaneous
    • Tweezers
    • Nail scissors
    • Sunscreen
    • Lip ice
    • Dental floss
    • Eye drops
    • Syringes

(Items marked with * will need a prescription.)

Should any medical questions or emergencies arise during your holiday, Infinity Medical Concierge is at your service. Our dedicated team is on standby throughout your holiday season to provide you with the medical support you and your loved ones require. Connect with our 24/7 medical concierge at 087-330-7000, email, or use your Infinity MC Mobile App for any assistance.