Media releases 2014


Pack your first aid kit

Monday, 22 December 2014 by Aimee Bourke

New research shows that over half of all Kiwi travellers have suffered from some sort of minor illness while abroad - a timely reminder of the importance of packing a first aid kit says Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI).

According to the survey of over 2,000 New Zealanders, carried out by TNS for SCTI, the most common illnesses are cold or flu (19%), travellers’ diarrhoea (16%) and travel sickness (12%).

Craig Morrison, SCTI CEO, says that while these conditions rarely require treatment from a medical professional, they can still leave sufferers miserable - and occasionally struggling to buy basic over-the-counter remedies in a foreign country.

“Can you imagine the difficulty of trying to buy paracetamol when you don’t speak the language? Some of the over-the-counter medicines we can buy here aren’t necessarily available in other countries and there can also be issues with counterfeit medications in parts of the world.”

The survey also revealed that 28% of travellers had suffered from sunburn, 20% from insect bites, 10% from cuts/grazes and 3% from broken bones/sprains.

Because of this, Morrison says anyone travelling overseas should take the time to prepare a first aid kit that contains both preventative and remedial items. These should include:

  • Pain relief – paracetamol or aspirin
  • Antacid tablets
  • Cold relief capsules
  • Throat lozenges
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Antihistamine tablets or liquid
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Antiseptic cream/ointment
  • Sticking plasters and wound dressings
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent

Morrison also advises anyone taking prescription medicines – particularly strong painkillers - to carefully check the Embassy or High Commission of the country they are visiting to see if there are restrictions around medicines.