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February 26, 2013

What’s in your health kit?

 

The question has been asked lots of times: What do you have in your health kit?

First, let me say that we have a three pronged approach to healthcare, at home and abroad: staying well, and treating illness & emergency care. I’ll share what we carry with us for all three.

Staying Well

This includes eating healthy foods, getting plenty of sleep and decent hygiene.

To that end we carry with us:

 

The following supplements from BeeYoutiful:

 

Treating Illness

Anyone who’s traveled much will tell you that virtually everything you need can be had anywhere you go, and sometimes much less expensively than at home. This is true. What is also true is that when you most need it is often the time it’s least convenient to go on a hunt for it. To that end, we carry a pretty extensive medical kit for treating basic illness, including (but not limited to)

 

Emergencies

We carry health and emergency evacuation insurance as we travel. We know lots of people who go without it, but we also know a few who are alive because they had it. We’re not willing to gamble when it matters most. We also carry the following in our health kit for emergencies.

 

We’ve had some criticism on those last two items. It seems that some people think that we’re a bit over the top for carrying a stick kit and suturing supplies and one person even intimated that it was irresponsible for us to suggest that other should carry something they aren’t trained to use.

Let me explain:

We are carrying them because we found ourselves in a situation where we needed a kid stitched up in Guatemala and the healthcare center didn’t have a suture kit. They didn’t have butterfly bandages either. They ended up field taping the ten year old’s hand up and giving him a round of antibiotics (which I’m not a big fan of) to ward off infection.

I’m carrying the needles, etc. so that I can take them with me for the doctors to use, not because I’m going to stitch my own kid up in the forest instead of seek proper care. Although, if it came down to it, I’d do my best in an extreme situation.

I realized, the day that we didn’t have what we needed to put Elisha back together, that we were very lucky that it wasn’t more serious. I realized that, in an extreme situation, if I had the choice between a dirty needle or the potential death of a kid, I’d gamble on the dirty needle. The reality is, if I’m better prepared, I’ll never have to make that choice. The needle kit was immediately added to our bag.

Could we be carrying more: of course.

Could we do with less: certainly.

For us, this is the balance we’ve struck between being prepared for the worst and trying to ensure the best possible health situation for our family.

What’s in your family’s travel medical kit?

Posted by | Comments (3) 
Category: Family Travel, Travel Health, Vagabonding Life, Vagabonding Styles


3 Responses to “What’s in your health kit?”

  1. gabi klaf Says:

    Jenn, LOve it LOve it! Tell me how you managed to grow sprouts in SE Asia for I can never find the beans I know how to sprout. You culture your own stuff- God, teach me. In terms of our medical kit. We found that year one we lugged so much everything and used almost nothing, threw most of it away cuz it expired, and got locally what we needed at that time. And so, year two, we had less and tons of oils. Year three, only tea tree oil and lavender, band-aids, and a small ziplock with this and that medication. Hope we’ll use NONE OF THEM! mwah,gabi

  2. Sage Says:

    When I traveled overland from Indonesia to Europe, I had all kinds of stuff and found myself treating others more than myself… The one issue I had (and had to resupply along the way) was insulin as I’m diabetic.

  3. Jennifer Miller Says:

    Sage… interesting that you mention diabetes and the insulin hunt… I’d love to know more about that, and how you managed over the long haul. When my FIL joined us in Guatemala one winter I’d done a lot of footwork in advance of his arrival to make sure I knew where adequate supplies could be had, and where the “good” doctors were in case something went wrong. I’m always inspired by folks who find ways around very real physical “limitations” and still make it happen. Is there anywhere you have NOT been able to find supplies? What would you recommend to us as preparedness for traveling off the beaten track with my FIL… he’ll be joining us again this year for a while.

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