Traveling with Kids: What to Bring in a Medical Kit

This is all from personal experience and is not a substitute for consultation with a licensed healthcare practitioner, such as your physician. The information and other content provided in this post, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

So recently, we came back from a trip to Mexico and of course, someone always gets sick. This is not my first time traveling abroad with the kids. We have been traveling internationally with kids since each of them was about 1 year old. Usually, we go to different countries for New Years. We have gone to the Dominican Republic, Jamacia, and just recently Mexico.

No matter what we do, someone always gets sick, both adults and kids. Being abroad, especially in low and middle-income countries, I do not recommend going to the hospitals there because it is not the same type of medical care we are used to in the United States. Often, to even get seen by a doctor, you may have to pay cash upfront. Most times, they don’t take credit cards, speaking from experience here. About five years ago, while we were in the Dominican Republic both Natan and Kalista got sick and had liquid in their lungs. We ended up having to take them to the emergency room there and it was one of the most horrific experiences of my life. It was not clean, it did not feel safe and before the nurse would even look at my kids, who were gasping for air, she requested $500 cash for each child to even be looked at. Of course, we didn’t have $1,000 cash on us.

From experience, I put together this blog post of exactly what I pack when getting ready to go abroad especially when traveling with children.

  1. Physician’s Phone Number complete with international dialing code etc. If you aren’t sure what to do with a sick child, this is the person to go to. I also recommend writing it on a piece of paper and keeping it in a first aid kit or wallet. You never know when a phone may get lost.
  2. Antibacterial Wet Wipes to use on the airplanes, for armrests and tray tables especially. These are also great for wiping down hotel room TV remotes, the room phone and anything else that may not be squeaky clean.
  3. Tylenol and Motrin is a no brainer. This helps to keep a fever down.
  4. Benedryl in case someone starts suffering from an allergic reaction. Additionally, a doctor can prescribe an allergic reaction pack that is a seven day supply in the case that something creates a really bad reaction.
  5. Zyrtec or Claritin is always packed in case of seasonal allergies or in case there is a little mold in the hotel room, we’ve had that happen before in the tropics.
  6. Pepto Bismol for nausea, heartburn, etc. I like the chewable ones because you can carry them on an airplane.
  7. I bring a prescription of general antibiotics, a different dose for each child, as size and age determine what that dose should be. Talk to your doctor about where you are going and what your concerns are and they will be able to help you determine what the best course of action is.
  8. Nebulizer, an inhaler, and Albuterol are always packed because of Natan’s asthma.
  9. Neosporin ointment, bandaids and alcohol wipes for literally anything a kid gets into.
  10. Hydrocortisone cream in case anyone gets stung by a jellyfish.
  11. Anti-diarrhea meds & laxatives because traveling does something to everyone and no one wants to miss out on the fun because of toilet issues.
  12. Digestive Enzymes for when a resort’s food may not be the absolute best and eating at restaurants for a week is hard on tummies.
  13. Thermometer, to keep an eye on that temperature. I always bring a couple. This time around we had issues with one.
  14. Zofran is an anti-nausea pill to stop vomiting. It’s very easy to take even for a child as it quickly dissolves on the tongue. You can get a prescription from you physician.
  15. Download the GOOGLE TRANSLATE APP on your phone, if you’re in a foreign country and don’t speak the language. It’s very helpful to explain symptoms and key issues to a doctor when there is a language barrier.

This sounds like I pack this huge suitcase of medical supplies and have so much stuff with me but I actually kind of do. It has really saved me and my kids so many times. Even if a child hasn’t had an asthma attack or allergic reaction in years don’t forget to pack those emergency supplies and make sure they aren’t expired. Epi-pens expire so quickly and it always pays to be prepared. Additionally, taking 10 minutes before a trip to figure out what the word is in the host country’s language for any chronic illnesses or conditions can be extremely helpful.

My hope is that we, as mommas, drag all this stuff with us all over the world, and never have to use any of it.

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