Don't hit the road without building a medical emergency kit outfitted with all the supplies you might need to stay healthy in your travels.
Having a small supply of emergency medical equipment in your car is a good idea even if you're not traveling! But if you're taking a road trip, camping, or living on the road for an extended period of time, it's a really good idea.
Unless you're planning on going way off the grid, it wouldn't be difficult to find most of these items at nearly any gas station across the United States. But the point of keeping an emergency medical kit in your car is for emergencies! By keeping a small supply of essentials, you can help prevent a bad situation turn even worse and it might even be a lifesaver until you're able to get more help.
Here I'll breakdown what Ryan and I packed in our medical emergency kit for three months on the road. Use this as a starting point and adjust based on your particular needs to create your own medical emergency kit to keep in your car!
Bandages are probably the single most important thing you could pack in a medical emergency kit. It's up to you just how many types of bandages you'd like to bring along, but knowing how accident-prone Ryan can be I'm bringing quite a few.
Firstly, I packed a variety pack of flexible fabric band-aids which are perfect for minor cuts and scrapes. (I mean these are a staple in every home medicine cabinet, right?) In addition to the smaller band-aids, I also packed a rolled bandage and a triangular bandage, both necessary for wrapping bigger wounds. A rolled bandage is helpful for bandaging bigger gashes, while a triangular bandage works well for head injuries and it can even be formed into a sling!
You can use gauze to absorb large amounts of blood before applying a bandage, ultimately making it more effective. Plus, gauze will prevent you from wasting bandages unnecessarily.
You can always use safety pins, but if you don't have any or would prefer not to use them, grab some adhesive tape to hold a rolled or triangular bandage tight and in place!
You need something sharp in your car whether it's a pair of scissors or a knife because they both hold tons of practical and safety uses. But when it comes to medical purposes, a pair of scissors (or a knife) can be helpful in cutting bandages or cutting clothing off if you need to. For that reason, I like to keep a pair with the rest of my medical supplies!
Antiseptic Towelettes/Hydrogen Peroxide/Isopropyl Alcohol
Antiseptic towelettes, hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol are used to clean and disinfect wounds which helps prevent the spread of bacteria. Towelettes are probably more convenient for travel, but just to be safe I also packed two little bottles of hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol in small travel-sized bottle like these.
Neosporin is an antibiotic ointment that helps minor cuts heal faster, prevent infection, and reduce pain. Make sure to apply some after cleaning the cut and before applying the band-aid!]
Anti-Itch Cream and Insect Repellent
Having a general pain reliever is a must in general, but a super must when you're on the road. Ibuprofen reduces fevers and helps alleviate aches and pains which, let's face it, are a natural part of being in a car for an extended period of time.
Cold and Flu Medicine/Cough Drops
If you feel a cold coming on, you want to take medication as soon as those symptoms hit, right? Be prepared with the medication right in your car and you may as well toss in a few cough drops while you're at it too!
Allergy relief just might come in very handy with all of the different kinds of allergens you'll likely be exposed to when traveling to new places.
I am super prone to heartburn and would never travel anywhere without Antacid tablets, but this is one of those things you could easily leave out if you don't have a use for them!
Oral Pain Relief
Mouth and tooth pain just seems to hit the worst, doesn't it? Whether you're prone to it, or you've only had the displeasure of experiencing it once or twice, oral pain relief gel should be a staple in your kit.
Splinters are the absolute worst. But they're even worse when you can't get them out because you don't have a pair of tweezers! Should you ever get a small splinter of wood, piece of glass, thorn or anything else stuck under your skin, you can almost always use a pair of tweezers to get it out.
Of course, this won't apply to everybody, but I like to have a few emergency pads/tampons stashed in my medical kit just in case I run out! Keeping them in your medical emergency kit isn't necessary, but I like to keep some there so that I can forget about them and only use them when I really need to.
This may look like a lot, but everything actually packs up nicely and doesn't take up too much space! As a tip, check out what you can grab from your own medicine cabinet at home before going out and purchasing new things. We had most of these supplies already so we didn't need to spend much money completing our kit.
And as a space-saving tip, you don't necessarily need to bring full packages of everything! Take a few cough drops with you and bring a few tablets of allergy medication, for example. Use your personal medical history and your specific travel plans to guide the building of your own medical emergency kit.