International travel and health

Medical kit and toilet items

Sufficient medical supplies should be carried to meet foreseeable needs for the duration of the trip.

A medical kit should be carried for all destinations where there may be significant health risks, particularly those in developing countries and/or where the local availability of specific medications is uncertain. This kit will include basic medicines to treat common ailments, first-aid articles, and any other special medical items, such as syringes and needles (to minimize exposure to bloodborne viruses), that may be needed and can in some cases be used by the individual traveller.

Certain categories of prescription medicine or special medical items should be carried together with a medical attestation on letterhead, signed by a physician, certifying that the traveller requires the medication or the items for a medical condition. Some countries require that this attestation be signed not only by a physician but also by the national health administration.

Toilet items should also be carried in sufficient quantity for the entire visit unless their availability at the travel destination is assured. These will include items for dental care, eye care (including contact lenses), skin care and personal hygiene, including alkaline soap for washing wounds suspected of rabies contamination.

Contents of a basic medical kit

First-aid items:

  • adhesive tape
  • antiseptic wound cleanser or alkaline soap
  • bandages
  • scissors
  • safety pins
  • emollient (lubricant) eye drops
  • insect repellent
  • insect bite treatment
  • antihistamine tablets
  • nasal decongestant
  • oral rehydration salts
  • oral rehydration salts
  • simple analgesic (e.g. paracetamol)
  • sterile dressing
  • clinical thermometer
  • sunscreen
  • earplugs
  • tweezers
  • adhesive strips to close small wounds.

Additional items according to destination and individual needs:

  • medication for pre-existing medical conditions
  • antidiarrhoeal medication (to include an antisecretory agent, an antimotility drug, oral rehydration salts, with appropriate written instructions regarding their use)
  • antibiotics targeting the most frequent infections in travellers (e.g. travellers’ diarrhoea, and infections of skin and soft-tissue, respiratory tract and urinary tract)
  • antibacterial ointment
  • antifungal powder
  • antimalarial medication
  • mosquito net and insecticide to treat fabrics (clothes, nets, curtains)
  • adequate supplies of condoms and oral contraceptives
  • medication for pre-existing medical conditions
  • sterile syringes and needles
  • water disinfectant
  • spare eyeglasses and/or spare contact lenses (and solution)
  • other items to meet foreseeable needs, according to the destination and duration of the visit.