Vacation is supposed to be that idyllic time where everything goes right, the sun is always shining, and you feel like a million bucks. Which is great until you don’t feel like a million bucks, you feel more like a scratched up penny found along the side of a busy highway. It could be because you’ve caught a bit of a bug. Or maybe your body has decided to punish you for besting your kids and conquering the rock climbing wall yesterday. Either way, by packing a few first aid and medical items in your suitcase, you’ll be prepared for anything and feeling better soon.
General First Aid
Pain reliever/fever reducer (e.g., Advil, Tylenol; and don’t forget the children’s pain reliever/fever reducer, too)
Anti-itch cream for bug bites (especially important for after shore excursions in warm weather ports of call)
Antihistamine (e.g., Benadryl)
Anti-motion sickness pills or patches
After-sunburn care (e.g., Solarcaine)
Insect repellent (e.g., OFF!)
Upset stomach medicine (e.g., Pepto-Bismol)
Anti-diarrheal (e.g., Kaopectate or Immodium)
Cold and cough medicine
All other medications, whether they’re taken on a prescribed schedule or as needed
Think about the over-the-counter medications you and your family use regularly and consider packing those.
Remember, you’re not flying solo here. The ship’s medical unit can handle most common medical emergencies at sea, so don’t hesitate to call them if needed for anything from upper respiratory infections to small cuts requiring stitches.
Also, be sure to pack your medical insurance card. While it won’t be accepted by the ship’s doctor (these charges are generally billed to your on-board account), it can be useful to have anyway. Let’s say you fall ill on-board the ship and when you return to your home port, you still have three or four days planned in New York or Florida but you still feel sick. You can visit a walk-in medical clinic, and while they might not take your insurance, having the card with you can help ensure all of the clinic paperwork is accurate and complete so that perhaps you can get reimbursement from your health insurance company.
No one wants to think about getting sick or hurt on vacation when you’re away from the familiarity and comfort of your own home, and especially when traveling with kids. But having a few common medical items packed in your suitcase can ease the experience and get you feeling shiny and new again sooner.