What’s in Our Health Kit

August 30, 2012 in Inspiration, Travelogue


I’ve been putting off writing this post,and I apologize to the Groovers, who have reminded me three times to do so!

The question has been asked lots of times: What do you have in your health kit?

First, let me say that we have a three pronged approach to healthcare, at home and abroad: staying well, and treating illness & emergency care. I’ll share what we carry with us for all three.

Staying Well

This includes eating healthy foods, getting plenty of sleep and decent hygiene. Tony swears by a local beer every night to populate his gut with the appropriate local bacteria (of course we don’t test this on the kids!)

To that end we carry with us:

  • Kefir grains (for their probiotic benefit, brewed and consumed daily)
  • Sprouting seeds (lots of vitamins and nutrients in sprouts to boost health)
  • Yogurt and cheese cultures (yes, we make our own yogurt and cheese as we travel)
  • Grapefruit Seed Crush Extract: for gut health, natural antibiotic and as a fruit & veggie wash

We also carry the following supplements from BeeYoutiful:

  • Ultra-immune
  • Super Mom Vitamins
  • Super Dad Vitamins
  • Bee-immune
  • Spirulina

 Treating Illness

Anyone who’s traveled much will tell you that virtually everything you need can be had anywhere you go, and sometimes much less expensively than at home. This is true. What is also true is that when you most need it is often the time it’s least convenient to go on a hunt for it.

To that end, we carry a pretty extensive medical kit for treating basic illness, including (but not limited to):

  • Ibuprofen & Paracetemol
  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Percocet
  • Prescription migraine meds (Relpax)
  • Anti-diarrheals
  • AZO (UTI meds)
  • Anti-fungal cream
  • Benadryl
  • Albuterol inhalers
  • Cough and common cold meds
  • Campho-phenique
  • 2 full prescriptions of anti-biotics
  • Ear oil
  • Anti-nausea meds



We carry health and emergency evacuation insurance as we travel. We know lots of people who go without it, but we also know a few who are alive because they had it. We’re not willing to gamble when it matters most.

We also carry the following in our health kit for emergencies:

  • Bandaids and bandages of all sizes
  • Chemically activated cold packs
  • Electrolyte replacement powders
  • Triple anti-biotic creams
  • Burn spray & colloidal silver burn cream
  • Blister and burn bandages
  • A needle kit including syringes & IV start
  • Suture kits

We’ve had some criticism on those last two items. It seems that some people think that we’re a bit over the top for carrying a stick kit and suturing supplies and one person even intimated that it was irresponsible for us to suggest that other should carry something they aren’t trained to use.

Let me explain:

We are carrying them because we found ourselves in a situation where we needed a kid stitched up in Guatemala and the healthcare center didn’t have a suture kit. They didn’t have butterfly bandages either. They ended up field taping Elisha’s hand up and giving him a round of antibiotics (which I’m not a big fan of) to ward off infection.

I’m carrying the needles, etc. so that I can take them with me for the doctors to use, not because I’m going to stitch my own kid up in the forest instead of seek proper care. Although, if it came down to it, I’d do my best in an extreme situation.

I realized, the day that we didn’t have what we needed to put Elisha back together, that we were very lucky that it wasn’t more serious. I realized that, in an extreme situation, if I had the choice between a dirty needle or the potential death of a kid, I’d gamble on the dirty needle. The reality is, if I’m better prepared, I’ll never have to make that choice. The needle kit was immediately added to our bag.

Could we be carrying more: of course. Could we do with less: certainly. For us, this is the balance we’ve struck between being prepared for the worst and trying to ensure the best possible health situation for our family.

What’s in your family’s travel medical kit?