Travel and First Aid – What you should know

With the Festive Season on our doorstep it is almost certain that people will travel to holiday destinations across South Africa to explore our beautiful country.

Unfortunately there could be a wrinkle in your travel plans if you are not prepared. A minor medical incident can spoil a fun-filled holiday without proper action being taken. ER24 paramedics want to know if you are ready to help.
Almost everyone will need to use a First Aid kit at some time and you need to make sure that you are prepared. First Aid kits range from a very basic to a comprehensive bag, depending on your travel destination. Obviously what you will need depends on your medical training and level of expertise.

ER24 paramedics give the following advice on what to pack in your travel First Aid kit: tweezers, scissors, safety pins, First Aid dressings, two or three rolls of bandages, eye-pad, triangular bandage, gauze swabs, plasters, antiseptic cream, burn dressing, antiseptic wound-cleaner, latex gloves (if you are allergic to latex, use non-latex gloves), CPR mouthpiece, personal medication, sunscreen and personal information. Although this is very basic, you can still add your own items to the bag.

It is important to know that, should you pack your personal medication in your First Aid kit, you should label it as personal medication. Do not dispense your prescription medication to anyone, even if they use the same medication. If you are faced with an emergency, you can follow easy steps to ensure that you provide the best possible assistance.
Always ensure your safety first. Do not touch any blood or other body fluids if you are not wearing medical gloves. If you do not feel you can help safely, rather ask another person for help or contact the local emergency services. Some of the most common injuries sustained while on holiday can range from a minor scrape to a deep cut.
Should you be faced with a situation where a person sustained a deep cut and it is bleeding profusely apply direct pressure with a clean cloth or bandage and seek medical help.

Do not pour any liquid or cream into the wound. You can rinse the wound with clean water if needed. Burn wounds are also very common and it is advised that you only use an approved burn dressing.
Do not apply any cream, butter, toothpaste or any other substance onto the burn. Rinse the affected area with cool clean water.

Should the burn be severe and form blisters, or where the skin is peeling, seek medical help immediately.
Be prepared and know the number of the local emergency service or speed-dial should you stay in a hotel or lodge. You can find out from the reception what the local emergency number is.

Should you be faced with any medical incident where you are unsure of what to do, you can contact ER24’s National Emergency Contact Centre on 084 124 from any telephone or cellular phone and ask the Emergency Call Taker for advice. The medical team will evaluate the situation and give you advice on what to do or dispatch the closest ambulance to you. You can also buy a First Aid kit from ER24 or from your local pharmacy.
* For more information visit ER24’s website at – André Vermaak (ER24).