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Helpful Medications You Should Carry While Traveling

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Getting sick unexpectedly is part and parcel of life. Even if you're the picture of health, illness can strike without warning, often without clear symptoms at the outset. This is especially true when traveling away from the familiar environment of home, where accessing medical care might not be as straightforward.

When it comes to travel, being prepared is half the victory. Carrying a small selection of medications for common ailments can save you from the hassle and discomfort of unexpected sickness. Here's my take on the must-have travel medications to keep you covered.

Motion Sickness

Motion sickness (↗️) is one of the common conditions that you may experience while travelling in a car, train, airplane or boat. It is a disturbance of the balance-sensing system (inner ear, eyes and sensory nerves) that is caused by repeated motion.

It usually develops with a feeling of unwell, sweating, headache and/or dizziness, and is quickly followed by nausea or vomiting (↗️). Children between 5 and 12 years of age, women, older adults and people with a migraine problem are mostly affected by motion sickness.

To avoid the discomforts of a sudden motion sickness, you should keep an antiemetic drug, such as prochlorperazine maleate (Stemetil) or ondansetron (Zofran), and general pain killers like aspirin or paracetamol (↗️), in your bag.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is another common but very distressing problem that you may get while travelling. It is often caused by eating contaminated food, and its symptoms include nausea, vomiting, intestinal discomfort and/or diarrhea.

The symptoms either can start within a few hours after eating the contaminated food or may delay from a few days to several weeks.

To cope with food poisoning while travelling, you should keep zinc tablets and some sachets of oral rehydration solution (ORS), so that you can maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance.

However, if your condition gets more severe, you may need to take antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), antispasmodics, or anti-emetics to reduce the length of time you are sick.

Allergic Reactions: A Silent Threat

Allergies don't take vacations. A sudden flare-up of sneezing, congestion, or itchy eyes can ruin your trip. Keeping an antihistamine like ketotifen or cetirizine can provide quick relief for those unexpected allergic reactions. For more on managing allergies, check out Medicines to Treat Allergy Symptoms (↗️).

General Acidity

Acidity is a very common problem that can occur at anytime, anywhere. You never know when your stomach will produce excess acid and you'll feel gastric inflammation.

So, as a preventive measure, you should keep either antacids (e.g. aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide gel/suspension) or a proton pump inhibitor, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), while travelling.


Being a pharmacist, it is my responsibility to inform you that you must consult with a GP or pharmacist before keeping any of the medicines I have mentioned in the above post. You never know which medication you may be hypersensitive to. Also, I have no idea or knowledge about your medical history, so please consult with your doctor first.

Wrapping Up

Traveling opens up a world of experiences, but it's wise to be prepared for the health challenges it may bring. Keeping a well-thought-out selection of travel medications can save you from discomfort and ensure your adventures remain enjoyable. For a deeper dive into keeping healthy on the move, and always remember to consult a healthcare professional before your departure.

Your health shouldn't take a backseat when exploring the world. By preparing for common travel-related ailments, you ensure your travels remain memorable for all the right reasons. Stay safe and travel smart!

Image Source: Rhoda Baer, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

⚠️ Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.