What are 10 items in a first aid kit India?
Travel health

What are 10 items in a first aid kit India?

In this post, what are 10 items in a first aid kit India? I will be covering everything you need to know about the most frequently used item you should be taking. Now here is a post you will not want to miss out on as it really pays to know this stuff, so read on, guys.

When I first started my backpacking life twenty years ago, I read many books on staying healthy while travelling. The result was a first aid kit that was ready to face the apocalypse. I had syringes, scalpels, stitches and even my own blood transfusion kit. I think it is fair to say that reading too much on these matters certainly has its setbacks. 

Although I am not a doctor and would never claim to be one, I have, however, spent more than enough years travelling on the Indian subcontinent to be able to give you some coherent and well-sourced advice.

I did some calculations a while back, and I worked out I have spent about 28% of my whole life backpacking. It is safe to presume that I have been sick many times. Even though that is true, I never needed almost all of the things I packed in my first ever medical kit.

So what did I need? I will now walk you through all of the most common things I have had to use over and over again. This information comes from years of getting myself into messes. It pays for first-time travellers to read blogs like mine as they will get into plenty of messes of their own.

Before we jump in, I will state that you don’t need to buy most of the stuff that I talk about, as you can get it along the way. The medical industry is huge in India, and supplies are available almost everywhere. So your medical kit doesn’t need to weigh a ton and take up most of your bag. With that said, let us get started and find out exactly what are 10 items in a first aid kit India.

We all come to India for a reason but it all comes with risks of needing first aid

We are drawn to India for a variety of reasons. It could be you want to experience a little of the countries incredible biodiversity. Or perhaps you are embarking on your own spiritual quest. The reality is, there is a good chance you will get sick along the way. Packing correctly is essential, and this post, what are 10 items in a first aid kit India, is a good framework for what that should be. 

So what are 10 items in a first aid kit India?

There a million things you could be carrying in your first aid kit, but only a handful you are likely to need. There is certainly a multitude of diseases you could potentially pick up. However, I suspect you will find it is the same few problems that come up repeatedly. I think my Indian readers will agree with these points and if  I have missed anything, please leave your comments below.

Number 1 – Medicine for an upset stomach in India.

Medicine for an upset stomach in India is essential as it is by far the most common health problem you are likely to encounter. Also known as the infamous Delhi belly, it is definitely not unique to just that one city and is very much a countrywide problem. In fact, it is very much a safe bet you will get a touch of diarrhoea at some point while backpacking in India. So for this, there is no harm coming prepared as you will certainly use it all.

Imodium will stop any bowel movement in its tracks, and it is super useful to carry for long journeys. After all, you don’t want a crisis on your hands or in your trousers, right? Remember not to take too much of the stuff, or it will turn the contents of your stomach to clay for days on end. However, it does not cure anything. It only stops things from happening temporarily.

If your diarrhoea persists, you will need an antibiotic such as Narfloxocin or ciprofloxacin to fix it. You can purchase both over the counter with no prescription from any pharmacy. Except in Mumbai for some reason, and there I found I needed to see a doctor first.

If you are going to the toilet ten times a day, you will be losing a lot of water. In the ruthless desert sunshine, this can obviously lead to complications fast. I would suggest you purchase ORS formulate rehydration salts from any pharmacy. These things make a world of difference, and they only cost a few rupees. Drink plenty of water and rest. Carry Multivitamins as it can get to the point where it is hard to hold anything in, and I have found this to be very helpful.

If you cannot hold down the pills because you are vomiting, you will need to make a beeline to the hospital. It is best not to leave it too long as this can become life-threatening if left untreated.

Northern India's food and your belly.

Local restaurants are called Dhabas. They are where you can get a lot of the best food in the country. Many restaurants can get quite dirty with a complete lack of health and safety rules or anyone to enforce them. Before sitting down to eat, check to see if the restaurant is even vaguely clean or if anyone is washing their hands? Is it popular with the locals? Does it sell meat? These are all things that can minimalise the chances of you getting sick.

Number 2 – Mosquitoes Protection for India travel.

Mosquito protection in India is essential. In Truth, it is not just mosquitoes that will bite you in India. However, they are certainly the most numerous and most likely to make you sick. Ticks can also give you nasty diseases, but unless you are spending masses of time hacking your way through jungles, it is not really an issue. Bed bugs and leeches are just annoying but carry no risk of illness.

Mosquitoes can give you dengue fever, and I can confirm it isn’t very pleasant. There are also parts of the country with outbreaks of malaria from time to time in patches of the subcontinent. The side effect of malaria treatment can be massive, and I can absolutely confirm this as well. To check to see if you will need medication in the first place, see what your government recommends. Check outfit for travel to see what we say here in the UK.  Get your medicine in advance, as it can be hard to find once you are on the road.

There is no protection from Dengue, so cover up as much as possible and remember these little buggers bite in the daytime and in cities. Take lots of strong spray with a high DEET content if you will be in a high-risk area. I hear many travellers say I dont want to use DEET as it is bad for your skin? I’m sure it is, but do you know what’s even worse for your well being? Wear the bloody formula, and dont put your life in unnecessary danger. Dengue is a significant risk in the rainy season in many parts of the country and should not be taken lightly.

I always buy the local insect repellents as they are effective and cheap. Use mosquito coils if you are sitting outside, and if you are coming from abroad, get them from India as they are way cheaper. Also, do not neglect to bring a mosquito net. I have found it is best to bring one with four corners as it is often easier to find things to hang them from.

A tip I learned from South East Asia is when you have been bitten, apply some tiger balm to soothe the itchiness. This sounds like an old wives tale at face value, but I have found it really works. You will undoubtedly get bitten often, so anything is worth a try, right? If you want to give this a whirl, purchase the white one as the tanned one dyes your clothes, and it never comes out ever!

Number 3 – Hand sanitiser and wipes.

Hand sanitiser and wipes are something you can get everywhere, especially after the coronavirus global pandemic. I always end up using buckets of it, even before the covid-19 outburst. Trust me when I say it comes in use all the time. For example, when you have just used the public toilet on a sleeper class train, and you are about to sit down and eat. Coldwater and a bit of well-used soap, if you are lucky, is definitely not enough to make you feel like you should.

definitely pack this in your first aid kit for India

I always keep one of these in my day pack, and I would suggest you do too. You never know when you will need it.

Number 4 – Pain killers.

Ibuprofin and paracetamol are available everywhere, and there is no need to stock up on masses of pills. If you want something fancy such as codeine, you will find that hard to get anywhere. If you develop flu-like symptoms, for the love of god, dont take ibuprofen as you may have dengue fever, and you wouldn’t know without a blood test. Ibuprofin can lead to complications and make a nasty disease so much worse. There is also evidence to support ibuprofen makes things worse in the event you catch COVID-19 as well. In short, unless you have a toothache, it is probably best to stick to Paracetamol unless you absolutely know.

Number 5 – Slips trips and falls.

Slips trips and falls are commonplace and while you probably won’t need a blood transfusion set, it pays to carry supplies. You don’t need to go nuts, but you should be prepared. If I am not hiking, you can get away with just a few plasters. You can buy anything you need from one of the many pharmacies you will find along your route.

If, however, you will be spending time in the wilderness, you will need a much bigger kit. Bandages for a start. Take a mixture of crape and support. Take it from me the Himalayas are taxing on your limbs. Also, take Scissors, Antiseptic wipes, Gloves, Surgical tape and even some butterfly stitches wouldn’t go amiss. It is better to have it than not. A foil poncho and high energy sweets are also useful when you feel like you hit rock bottom from exhaustion. It happens, guys. It is also important that you know how to use this equipment properly in the event you need it.

Number 6 – Indigestion treatment.

Ok, so as you can imagine, your belly can find the local food a little rich, to put it mildly. I get through loads of the stuff while I eat my way across India. Buy a big bottle and carry it because if your belly is anything like mine, you will use it. I also take a big tub of Andrews, and I have been super grateful for that several times. You would think I would simply slow down on the local food, but it’s all so good!

First aid in the Indian wilderness is very important.

It is not hard to picture why you will need to carry extra supplies while trekking based solely on this picture. Even on the popular treks, there is no guarantee when someone may or may not be coming to your aid. Better to take care of yourself in India great outdoors. To find out more about making your own adventure to this wonderful corner of the universe, check out my blog on 10 essential things you should know before you go to Ladakh. 

Number 7 – Water treatment.

You should never drink the water straight out of the tap in India. That is just asking for trouble. So what can you drink? Many travellers consume bottled water only. It is both safe and affordable.

However, that generates a ton of plastic waste, so many people buy bottles with a filter on them. You can also purchase iodine tablets that take up considerably less space than a filter, but it makes everything you drink taste like a swimming pool. If you are going off-road for long periods of time, it is unlikely you will be able to find any bottled water, so make sure you have something in place.

There is no need to be scared to drink the water on the tables at restaurants or people’s homes. Indian people are reluctant to drink from the tap as well. While buying a lifetime supply of Evian would cost a small fortune, it is all still well treated.

Number 8 – Fungal infections.

I have had the pleasure of getting one of these many times. I have read the average human being has dozens of species of fungus living on or in their bodies at any one time and only notice them when they get out of hand. Well, the conditions are just right for them to get out of hand in the tropics, so get ready to get lumpy. Particularly watch out in the run-up to the monsoon when all that heat turns to steam. Your skin will never really get dry. You have a shower, and unless you are under the AC, you will start to sweat again immediately.

Treatment comes in the form of powder or tablets. I normally show the person behind the counter of the Pharmacy my disgusting rash, and they know. Show some compassion and refrain from whipping your stinky foot out if you get an athletes foot, as that’s just cruel. Look for any medicine containing these common drugs:

  • Clotrimazole.
  • Econazole.
  • Miconazole.
  • Terbinafine.
  • Fluconazole.
  • Ketoconazole.
  • Amphotericin.
The jungles is one of those places you will need a good first aid kit in India

It is hardly surprising that the rain forest is one of those places everything goes mouldy, including your skin, especially in the rainy season. The forests may be pretty, but it is hard going on your body. Everything gets wet, and things can quickly become an uphill struggle trying to stop mould from setting in.

Number 9 – Sun protection.

Sunscreen is one of those things that you will definitely need at some point unless you have skin like leather. India is one of those countries where sunshine will pretty much always be an issue. If you are coming from a country where it is not baking hot, I suggest you cover up as much as possible.

You will need to apply sunscreen to where ever is left exposed. Well, at least until your skin becomes accustomed. Buy sunscreen from a reliable source as, believe it or not, there is plenty of counter fit sunscreen in widespread circulation in India. Who would have known that is something you could do with sunscreen?

In the event you do get burned, rub something soothing on it. There are a million lotions and potions, and I feel like I have heard them all. For me, I would suggest a good moisturizer as this definitely works, but it is whatever suits the individual on that one.

Number 10 – Eye protection.

Yes, your sunglasses are part of your medical kit. The sun is brutal and can be blinding. Would you please make sure they are UV protected and don’t be afraid to spend out a little on that? In the Himalayas, it is terrible, and even though it might not be hot, those suns rays are mean. Buy sunglasses with thick frames as they will take a beating on a long trip. It is best to keep them in a case when they are not in use. They are an important part of your kit so take care of them. Be kind to your eyes as you only get one set.

Carry some purified water with you in case dust gets in there. It is not just in the desert where this is a problem neither. If you feel like you have something in your eyes, wash it out immediately. This might not seem like a big deal, but it really is. I have permanent damage to the skin under my right eye from an infection I got on a train coming from Mumbai to Jodhpur. The dust in this country can wreak havoc on your poor eyes, trust me.

Adventure travel in India

Here you can see me sporting what must have been my 20th pair of shades I bought on that trip. I seem to lose or break them continually. As long as they have UV protection, I have learned there is no need to spend too much on a style as it gets you nowhere.

Storing your medical equipment.

I must make it clear that in no way do you need to purchase all this stuff before you travel. Your kit would take up most of your bag, so buy stuff as and when needed. Unless I stated to have it in advance, some good quality could be hard to get your hands on.

I normally have a first aid kit and a wash bag for tablets. It starts off empty but ends up bulging at the seams with my lotions and potions I picked up along the way. The mosquito net will be obviously separate, and it takes up a lot of space. You won’t need it often, and I know it is frustrating to carry it. However, the few times you do find of use, it might save your life. Get a double even if you are a single traveller because many rooms only come with a double bed.

Hand sanitiser and your sunglasses go in your day pack. You will need them so often it is unwise to keep them in your bulk luggage. Everything else you will only need from time to time.

Summary of my post what are 10 items in a first aid kit India?

I hope you have enjoyed my post and found it of value. As I said, I am no doctor, but I have been travelling a lot of times. What’s more, I have been sick a lot of time too. While it is true, you can get some pretty exotic diseases from travel in India. I am sure it is the same few that keeps coming up again and again. I think this is quite a concise guide to what to pack for India. Well, for the first aid kit anyway. For further reading of my many tips on staying out of the hospital, check out my post.

I think that covers everything I want to say on the matter, but if you have any more questions or feel I missed anything, leave your comments in the box provided. So that’s a wrap guy’s, and until the next time, stay safe and travel hard.







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