Travel first aid kit for Southeast Asia: tips and information

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What medication should you take with you on your trip? And where can you save a lot of money when buying medicine? Here are my tips.

A few notes in advance:

  1. Do not let them make you crazy! Just because you are on another continent, you don't suddenly get a thousand diseases that you didn't have before.
  2. Never take everything I have listed here with you. Below is a general checklist to help you not forget anything. You know best what you really need.
  3. My tips here on the Internet cannot replace advice from a specialist doctor or pharmacist.
  4. Note the side effects listed on the medication package insert. These may be more pronounced due to the heat and blazing sun. Therefore, do not throw in medication lightly, just so that you can enjoy every minute of your holiday without worries.

First aid kit for Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries in Southeast Asia

A travel pharmacy in your luggage helps you to be prepared for the most common illnesses on the go and to react appropriately. It saves you the time-consuming search for a suitable pharmacy and tedious discussions about your problem in a foreign >

Small aches and pains occur quickly when traveling. There are, for example, colds caused by air conditioning or an upset stomach after bad or unusual eating. In addition, the climate can sometimes lead to discomfort, headaches, etc. And small wounds are also common. It can be quite pleasant to have the usual first aiders with you.

Of course, the travel destination and the duration of the trip are decisive for the size of the first aid kit. It makes a big difference whether you are in one of Thailand's tourist centers with first-class medical care, or playing Robinson Crusoe on a remote Indonesian island where the next ship will come in three days.

If you are in treatment or taking medication for illnesses before you start your trip, you should talk to your doctor about what this means for you in relation to the trip (for example, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, thrombosis risk, etc.).

In addition, you should take a closer look at the first-aid kit if you are traveling with (small) children.

Here are my recommendations. I am always a bit more careful by nature and usually have a few more medications with me than others.

Spicy food, unusual dishes and drinks, spoiled food, poor hygiene in toilets - the list of possible causes of stomach problems is long. But also here applies: do not drive yourself crazy! I almost always eat at simple street stalls, order my drinks with ice cream and have rarely had any problems.

If you have a bad diarrhea, this is the number 1 rule: Drink a lot to make up for the loss of fluid. What also helps well are electrolyte solutions. These are small sachets of powder that you dissolve in a glass of water. This way your body receives important nutrients and you usually feel better quickly.

I would only take drugs that stop diarrhea if it cannot be avoided. For example, if there is a long bus ride without a toilet. Otherwise the following applies: what has to get out has to get out!

Warning: If you have diarrhea and fever or blood in your stool, see a doctor!

Another problem can be heartburn, mostly caused by unfamiliar food.

The following medications help:

Dizziness, headache, and nausea are symptoms that are sometimes triggered by unusual movements in transportation.

The following medications help:

You should always have a pain reliever with you. In addition, an antipyretic that also helps against severe pain. Do not use aspirin in tropical countries. For example, the Professional Association of German Internists (BDI) warns that the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) can exacerbate the effects of certain tropical infectious diseases.

The following medications / items help:

You enter the sky train, the shopping mall or the plane and immediately ask yourself why the air conditioning systems cool the temperature down to what feels like 0 degrees. Of course, you were sweating profusely until shortly before. Most cold stories from Southeast Asia begin like this.

Therefore, I always have the following resources with me:

May also help:

Depending on your travel destination and length of travel, it may be a good idea to have your doctor prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic beforehand. But handle it responsibly. Too many drugs of this type are swallowed for no reason.

Hardly any other topic causes as much uncertainty as malaria. Prophylaxis? Stand-by? Neither? Of course, the decisive factor is the specific travel destination. In many places there is no risk at all, in others a high one and in some places the time of year is important. So talk to a tropical doctor! He can give you the best tips for your travel route. If he recommends protection against malaria, your health should be worth the high costs of the tablets. These are prescription only. Incidentally, they are significantly cheaper in the Netherlands. If you order or buy there, you can save a lot of money (e.g. Malarone 12 pieces, approx. 60 euros in Germany, 35 euros in the Netherlands).

The pointy stone in the water, slipped when climbing, blistered, because your feet are not used to flip-flops - you have little ratchets quickly. There are also insect bites, skin irritation, etc.

The following medications help:

If you have an open wound, be careful not to contaminate it and catch fire. A first-aid kit for on the go is a good choice here. Of course, you can also put the individual components together yourself. For plasters, you shouldn't necessarily take the cheapest.

The following items / medication can help:

  • Plasters (various sizes, some water-repellent)
  • gauze bandage
  • plastering
  • sterile compresses
  • Association scissors
  • 1x Gloves
  • tweezers
  • safety pins
  • Dressing Spray
  • Often there are things to buy in a package. For example in the DocCheck first aid kit

Whether condoms or birth control pills, I would bring these things home with me. Pay attention to the storage temperature here too!

The sun has a lot of power in Southeast Asia. Even if it is cloudy, there is a risk of sunburn. Accordingly, you should always apply cream properly. Particular caution is required in children. Sunscreen is usually significantly more expensive in Southeast Asia than here.

Sunglasses are also recommended. You can get these re-thrown there, but make sure that they are of good quality. The fake brand glasses are usually not anti-reflective and do not protect the eyes from UV radiation.

The following means and objects help:

It's an agony with the crappy critters. Not only does it itch. Mosquitoes can transmit malaria and dengue fever. Neither beautiful. Another problem: malaria mosquitoes are nocturnal, dengue mosquitoes are diurnal. Your tropical doctor will tell you which areas are affected.

It is therefore recommended that you protect yourself well against mosquito bites. Appropriate funds are available on site. These have been tried and tested and are significantly cheaper than ours. Nevertheless, I always take at least one pack from home, in case the little nuisances pick me up at the airport.

Warning: means with deet are not good for children. It is best to take a suitable remedy from home.

The following medications help:

There are also a number of books on travel medicine. But 99 percent of the time you don't have to deal with that. This is more for someone who goes on a multi-day tour deep into the jungle, climbs a mountain alone etc. I only included the literature references for completeness.

The following books are available:

Of course, you should take enough medication with you that you have to take regularly.

I use a medication bag for this , I have everything well together and do not have to search long if I quickly need a medication.

Where do I buy the medication?

I mostly linked the shop pharmacy in the list. I have been ordering my freely available medication there for about a year. In comparison, it is significantly cheaper than the pharmacy around the corner. Even with a simple nasal spray, this is sometimes up to three euros difference. The difference was even greater for other articles such as mosquito spray etc. Even Bol.com, where the selection is also smaller, could not keep up with my comparison for once.

Buy medication on the go

Many medications are of course also available on site. Although they are often cheaper in Southeast Asia, I am reluctant to buy them there. The reasons are as follows:

  • There are no leaflets in my >
  • The quality requirements are not comparable to those of us.
  • It happens every now and then that fake drugs or stretched drugs are sold.
  • It is often unclear whether the medication has not expired or has been exposed to excessive heat.

If I have to get medication there, I go to large pharmacies (for example at hospitals, in shopping centers or airports). The advice is usually better there, and the supply and demand is greater.

Storage of medication

Medicines should generally not be exposed to temperatures above 25 degrees. I know this is difficult to keep up when the backpack is strapped to the roof of the car when the sun is blazing. Therefore, take medication in your hand luggage. For important medications that you always have to take, check with your doctor if you can tolerate the heat. You may be able to store them in the refrigerator. If there is an alternative to suppositories, it is better to resort to them (e.g. tablets, drops).

Other sources of information

travel insurance

In Southeast Asia, the cost of medical treatment usually has to be paid immediately in cash - or if possible: with a credit card . The amount will be reimbursed after the trip if you have international health insurance. This practical and clear comparison calculator contains what I think is the best travel insurance. After you have entered the age and duration of the trip, you can view the various tariffs in the overview.

Here I have put together more information on travel insurance for Southeast Asia .

Do you have any tips for the first aid kit?

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