Health & Happiness: What’s in your first aid kit?

By Jennifer Means, ND, LAC

So, I just came back from camping with the family…

Ah, the beauty of nature… Ugh! The mosquitoes! 

Ack! The sunburn!  Oh no! I stubbed my toe!

Don’t worry. I’ve got my handy dandy first aid kit!

The Red Cross has a great list of things to put in your first aid kit – things like gauze pads, band aids, an emergency blanket, etc.  I bought one from some kids that were selling them as a fund raiser.

But then I add my own remedies – simple things to bring that have proved to be invaluable time and time again. And I thought that it might be useful to share a few of those items here.

  • Packets of electrolyte drinks like Emergen C -Great for a long day of sun, traveling, fevers, high altitudes, leg cramps. It’s easy to become dehydrated and these don’t weigh much, travel well and are kid friendly.
  • Activated charcoal capsules – 20 capsules will usually do the trick but bring more if you are traveling somewhere where diarrhea is a risk – like to Mexico or on a cruise. 2-3 capsules will absorb toxins and gas from the gut and slow down diarrhea. You can take them several times a day if needed. Safe for children too.  Take away from other medications as it can interfere with absorption. You can use it topically for insect bites too. Make a paste and put it on the site. Cover with gauze because it will stain clothing.
  • Arnica 30c – For those of you who don’t know about arnica, it is nothing short of a miracle. It is a homeopathic remedy – which I’ll talk about some other time – but bottom line is that it is another safe item for people of all ages and it usually comes as little sugar pellets that you melt under your tongue. It is wonderful for bumps and bruises and is usually dosed 3-5 pellets as often as every 15 minutes for a bad bonk and 3 times a day for minor bumps.
  • Magnesium capsules – if you are one of those people who get constipated when you travel, magnesium usually works great. It can also help with muscle cramps and headaches.
  • Black tea bags – work great for poultices on boils, styes, or other non-systemic infections. Just make a cup of tea, cool the bag enough so that it won’t burn you and apply to the site. The tannins in the tea bag draw out the infection. Cover with antibiotic ointment after the poultice. Let the cup of tea cool and apply to sunburn areas. Aloe vera gel works great for sunburns too.
  • Melatonin – Great if you are traveling to different time zone. This will help you adjust to the new time and sleep better. Some people are sensitive to it and get weird dreams, so just be prepared. 1-3 mg at bedtime is usually enough.
  • Essential oil of Lemon grass, tea tree and lemon eucalyptus – dilute a few drops of each in a spray bottle and spray for bug repellent. Avoid your eyes.

Well, I could go on but it’s all I have space for. So, Happy Travels! And remember! The best treatment is prevention! Wear your sunblock, drink plenty of fluids and don’t forget to bring your medications when you travel.

Dr. Jennifer Means & Dr. Elizabeth Elliott welcome you for Primary Care for the whole family: Nutrition, IV Therapy, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture. For more information, contact us at 503-641-6400.