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Pre-Travel Precautions

Vaccinations

Before stocking your first aid kit, remember to take care of the most important person--YOU. Any trip out of the country warrants investigation of what vaccines are recommended. Don’t forget about the recommended vaccines in our country, too! The CDC (Center for Disease Control) can be contacted at 404-332-4559. They provide you information regarding what vaccines you will need in particular areas of the country. Here are just a few:

  • Td (Tetanus-Diphtheria) every 10 years.
  • Influenza, one dose annually, usually in the fall.
  • Hepatitis B, 3 doses.
  • Hepatitis A, 2 doses.
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), if no records are available, 2 doses.
  • Varicella, 2 doses.
  • Meningococcal, one dose.
  • Rabies; if traveling to a rabies infected area, check with the CDC or your healthcare provider regarding whether or not you should be vaccinated.

Other illnesses worth mentioning in foreign travel: Vaccinations for Yellow fever or typhoid.

Personal Family Health History

Be aware of your family’s health history as well as your own. Examples include chronic medical conditions, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, diabetes, and recent annual exams.

Should an emergency occur, it is very beneficial to have this information available for the healthcare provider who is treating you, especially if you need to be evacuated out of an area. No one ever plans for an emergency situation. Know your family’s medical history, as well as your own.

Medications

Know what medication you are taking including over-the-counter medication, herbs, supplements and vitamins. Know the dosage and frequency. Have it written down, preferably in two difference places. Get prescriptions filled before traveling.

Allergies

What are you allergic to, including medications, food, environmental allergies.

Diagnostic History

Chest x-ray findings are pertinent, recent labs available, and most importantly, ECG readings which you can get on small, wallet-sized cards, are very useful for healthcare providers when traveling. This may sound like overkill. However, in an emergency situation, it is an enormous timesaver for the healthcare provider who has never met you and does not know your health history.

Before Leaving for an Extended Trip

  • See a dentist.
  • Get vaccinations updated.
  • A must is a second pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • Have phone numbers of family and healthcare providers available.

The #1 cause of death amongst deer hunters and hikers are heart attacks. Obtain the following:

  • Cardiac assessment.
  • Fasting cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Fasting glucose and Hemoglobin A1C.
  • Blood pressure monitor.
  • Stop smoking before a trip if possible, especially if hiking in high altitudes.
  • If applicable, obtain a stress test. If you have a family history of cardiac disease and any of the above risk factors, this would be very beneficial, as it would tell you if you are at higher risk.

Rescue Insurance

This is rarely thought of, but can result in enormous financial savings in the long run. The cost for rescue insurance is nominal, and in some states is as little as $12 per person, per weekend. If, for example you travel to Grand Teton and while hiking, fall and break your leg and need to be evacuated out of the mountains. A helicopter evacuation alone is generally over $1,000, not including the hospital bill. Most insurance will not cover this. Please consider rescue insurance in the form of a supplemental rider if going on an extended trip.

Think About Your Family

When your children reach their teenage years, you would like them to tell you where they are going, with whom they are going and what time they are expected back. Exercise the same courtesy. Leave a detailed itinerary with your family, a friend or neighbor. Your itinerary should include phone numbers, airline flight information, etc.

Other Considerations

Obtain all permits as required, campfire permits, fishing, hunting, rafting, etc. Many areas do require permits for boating and starting fires.

Label everything you can think of. Prepare for environmental extremes in the area to which you are traveling, heat and cold, for example.

Pack your first aid kit to meet the needs of all members in your traveling party. Know the distance you will be from a healthcare provider. Waterproof containers, Ziploc® bags are a must. They have many uses, which will be discussed later.

If possible build your own first aid kit, as it is much cheaper than a pre-built kit.

 

 

First Aid Kits Home
(Introduction)
Pre-Travel Precautions
(Vaccinations, Family History, Allergies, etc.)
Types of First Aid Kits
 - Camping First Aid Kits
 - Car First Aid Kits
 - Sports First Aid Kits
Medical Professional Checklist
(Recommended list of items for doctor / physician assistant / nurse / etc.)
First Aid Tips
(A growing list of basic first aid tips)
First Aid Treatment
 - Animal Bites
 - Bee Sting First Aid
 - Blister First Aid
 - Bruises
 - Burn First Aid
 - Chest Pain
 - Fainting
 - Headaches
 - Lacerations
 - Spider Bite First Aid
 - Sprains and Strains
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