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Travel Medicine (cont.)

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What should be in my travel first-aid kit or medicine kit?

  • Your kit should be packed in your carry-on luggage.
  • Prescription medications that you take at home
  • Medications that your doctor recommended to prevent travel-related illness, including malaria medications, if indicated
  • Over-the-counter medicines to treat minor illnesses (heartburn, headache, head cold, mild diarrhea, motion sickness, travel sickness)
  • Sunscreen, lotion to use to treat sunburn
  • Insect repellents
  • Alcohol based sanitizer with over 60% ethanol content
  • Bandages, tape, thermometer, and tweezers
  • Other items according to your itinerary. Adventure travelers who are far from medical help will need to consider additional items such as water purification tablets, commercial suture/syringe kits to be used by local health-care provider (ask your doctor for a letter on letterhead stationary prescribing its use), and other necessities.
  • Condoms, especially if there is a chance you may have sex with new partners
  • Women who get vaginal yeast infections should consider carrying along a treatment course (pills or vaginal products)

What are the medical concerns with jet lag?

Jet lag happens when travelers cross several time zones and disrupt their normal sleep-wake cycle.

To reduce the duration and the symptoms of jet lag, try to be outside when the sun is up. It may make for a very long (or short) first day, but it will help you adjust more quickly. Some travelers also try to change their sleep-wake habits before they leave.

Medicines are available that can promote sleep, but there are few studies on how well they work with jet lag. Zolpidem (Ambien) is a prescription sedative that promotes sleep. Another group of prescription drugs known as benzodiazepines also promotes sleep, but they may have more side effects, including temporary amnesia. Melatonin is a natural hormone available as an herbal preparation in the United States. Doses of approximately 5 mg have been shown to induce sleep. Melatonin is available over the counter.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/26/2016


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