[Guest Post] How to Pack a Medical Emergency Kit for Missionaries

My good friend Dr. John Oglesbee wrote a second article about how missionaries can put together a medical emergency kit.  I think this is vital for missionaries who are going to remote places.  I have been to remote places and have become very ill.  I was so thankful that I went prepared with medications that probably saved my life.
Add or delete as needed according to your personal needs and location.
Some items need a prescription (RX). Be sure all are legal in the country you are visiting!!
Some items are certainly optional, depending once again on your particular situation.

1. To be definitely included: a sufficient supply of all the prescription medicines you take regularly (have enough to hold you until you can be certain of replenishing your supply). Do not forget the prescription items that you may need on a periodic basis (such as for headaches, allergies, etc.). – Do not forget to include the non-prescription medicines you take regularly or intermittently.

2. Water filter: A hand held micropore water filter – Fresh water can be life-saving.

3. Blood Pressure Unit (automatic and/or cuff with stethoscope)

4. First-Aid Supplies: tape, gauze, band-aids, elastic bandage (Ace dressing), small scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, etc. An 18 gauge needle is a great tool for removing stickers and other foreign bodies.

5. Sunscreen –at least 20% SPF –Lip balm with sunscreen is helpful.

6. Mosquito repellent: with at least 20% DEET

7. Dental supplies: Dental cement and temporary filling material may come in quite handy.

8. Glasses: Extra glasses and contact lenses [Do not forget sunglasses.]

9. Antacid tablets: Also some Pepcid, or Prilosec may come in handy; generics are okay.

10 Gatorade Powder: This is most helpful when reconstituted and used for fluid replacement in vomiting & diarrhea. You can also get rehydration salts or make your own solution in a pinch.
•    Six (6) level teaspoons of Sugar
•    Half (1/2) level teaspoon of Salt
•    One Litre of clean drinking or boiled water and then cooled – 5 cupfuls (each cup about 200 ml.)

11. Benadryl: An antihistamine good for itching and swelling due to allergic reactions. This can also be used as a mild sleeping pill. It is available over the counter in 25mg tabs/capsules (adult dose: 50mg).

12. Antifungal cream: Athletes foot or groin fungus is common in hot, moist climates.

13. Diarrhea:
a) Plenty of clear liquids or rehydration solutions as above
b) Imodium – to slow down the peristalsis and cramping
c) Ciprofloxin RX (first choice) or Bactrim RX at the onset [For those of you with children, do not forget liquid or chewable medicines with a knowledge of the proper doses.]

14. Motion Sickness: Dramamine or meclizine can be gotten without prescription.

15. Decongestant and cough medicine: A long acting decongestant nasal spray, such as Afrin, can be very helpful – especially when flying.

16. Corticosteroid cream or ointment: Get the prescription strength; the OTC is mostly worthless.

17. Fever and pain: Acetominaphen (Tylenol), aspirin, or naproxen or ibuprofen-type for more severe pain, and do not forget the liquid form for the children but never aspirin for the children.

18. Antibiotics: All or these are RX. To fit different needs (in addition to allowing for allergic problems), I would recommend several different antibiotics such as the following:
a) Amoxicillin and cephalosporin are good for general use.
b) Ciprofloxacin category is good for diarrheas and certain skin and pulmonary infections.
c) Zithromax (azithromycin) or levofloxicin is good for respiratory infections.

19. Malaria: Ask someone who knows or visit the CDC website to find just what is best for where you are visiting; the treatments vary greatly by country as do the prophylactic (preventative) treatments.

20. A good book on medicine for the lay person like Where there is no Doctor by David

Do you have a medical emergency kit?  If so, what other things could you think to keep in that bag?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!  Leave a comment in the comment section so that your thought may help others.