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Travel Medications to Prepare for Your Next Holiday

Travel Medications to Prepare for Your Next Holiday
  • PublishedDecember 2, 2022

As end-of-year holidays are coming up, and most COVID restrictions are lifted across the globe, millions are travelling overseas for the first time in the past 3 years.

Travelling can always be exciting but taking care of your own health is more important than ever before in the post-COVID world. Seeing a doctor overseas can be expensive, not to mention the potential language barrier. Today, MCA brings you the essential medications to prepare for your next holiday.  

Motion Sickness 

Motion sickness is feeling unwell in response to certain types of movement, in cars, trains, aeroplanes or ships. Common symptoms include dizziness, nausea and vomiting, headache, burping and sweating. Some people are more sensitive to motion than others. The ill feeling partially occurs due to a mismatch between the information that the brain receives from the inner ear balance mechanism and what the eyes see. For example, when your eyes are fixed on a stationary object (a book or an iPad) while sitting in a bumpy fast-moving car.

Women and children between 2-12 years old are more likely to have motion sickness than the general population. To prevent or treat motion sickness, there are oral tablets and patches available at your local pharmacy. They help reduce the sense of nausea and dizziness but can cause drowsiness in some people. No prescription is required for them in most jurisdictions. 

Fever, Headache and Pain

Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are recognized as the baseline over-the-counter treatment for fever, headache, and pain. They are generally safe to use with minimal side effects. Flu or COVID-related symptoms can also be relieved by taking appropriate amounts of painkillers. To maximize their analgesic effect, cold patches can be used as well. 

Sore Throat and Cough

Lozenges and throat spray with analgesic effect can be of great help and is over the counter as well. From the common cold, and COVID, to partying too hard, throat-related problems can be a common complaint from travellers. 

Runny nose, Sneezing, Allergies

Whether you are allergic to pollen, dust mites or pets, some antihistamine nasal sprays or oral tablets can control mild allergic symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and excessive tearing. There is a wide variety of them that come in different dosages or routes of ingestion. If those are not working for you, consult your doctors for stronger allergy control medications such as steroid spray, which requires a prescription in general. 

Wound, Sunburn and Insect bites

A minor scratch can happen here and there, especially on a hiking trip. Common things to prepare include band-aids (come in different sizes), alcohol wipes (for medical purposes), and antiseptic cream. Always prepare enough sun cream, ideally with SPF 50+ protection and water resistance. If you have developed a sunburn, gently apply some aloe vera gel to soothe the pain. If you are visiting mountainous regions or areas with insects born diseases such as malaria, or dengue fever, always prepare some repellent and apply it on clothing or skin before heading out for the day. 

Indigestion

Long travel and over-eating can cause indigestion presented with abdominal fullness and reflux. Some natural supplements can help promote stomach movement and food digestion. Antacids made up of calcium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide can directly soothe the pain and burning sensation over the chest caused by reflux. 

Diarrhoea and Food poisoning

Street food in a foreign land is enticing but can cause lots of trouble for your stomach. Though usually benign, diarrhoea and food poisoning can cause significant dehydration and even death. It’s important to get some antidiarrhea pills handy in case of an emergency. The most used antidiarrhea medication in most countries is loperamide, which targets your intestines to slow them down. It should work within 1-3 hours after ingestion. 

Personal regular medications

Finally, don’t forget your usual medications, from asthma control sprays to blood pressure or cholesterol tablets. It’s best not to miss them and take them on a regular basis as prescribed by your doctors. Label and consolidate the relevant medications into a pouch and pack them in your hand-carry bag.

Written By
Tony Zhang

A recent Bachelor of Biomedicine graduate and a current Doctor of Medicine student in the University of Melbourne, Tony is motivated to strive for his best in study, work and volunteering. He is a firm believer in the power of simple language to spread healthcare knowledge and promote public health awareness among Asian population.