You can never predict when injuries will happen. Here are some tips on dealing with wounds when you’re away from home.
Exercise common sense, and take precautions. Cindy Bitter, M.D., an emergency room physician at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, suggests thinking carefully about risky activities.
“People sometimes do silly things when they travel, like signing up for resort scuba diving for the first time, going cage-diving with sharks, tackling the Alps or feeding the stingrays,” Bitter explained.
Dr. Bitter, who is a world traveler, adds that she never goes hiking without bringing along wound care supplies, ibuprofen and ACE bandages.
Stock up before you go. Community Medical Centers of California advises not to leave home without packing a carry-on bag including all prescriptions you’ll need; first aid basics such as bandages, sterilizing wipes and antibiotic ointment; over-the-counter medications; and copies of health insurance cards. Also, check with your health care insurer to make sure you’re covered abroad.
Be aware of airport security. McKesson Patient Care Solutions warns that airport security rules could restrict the first-aid supplies you’re allowed to store in carry-on luggage. Liquids, aerosols or gels should be in containers that are three ounces or less and packed in a transparent zip-lock bag. Put this together beforehand, labeling items clearly so Transportation Security Administration personnel can easily identify the contents. Also, remember that sharp items like scissors are prohibited, so if you anticipate the need for bandage changes to cope with wound seepage, it’s a good idea to cut dressing materials ahead of time.
Wash your hands. If you do suffer an injury, the first thing to do is wash your hands before touching the wound. When you’re traveling, you could come in contact with numerous sources of infection during the course of a day. So when you go to treat the wound, you risk transferring germs to the injury site. If you don’t have immediate access to soap and water, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
Dress the wound. Finally, care for the injury just as you would closer to home. Apply direct pressure with a piece of gauze to stop the bleeding, clean the wound, apply antibiotic ointment and top it off with a gauze or bandage. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, seek immediate medical care from a professional.
You’ll also want to talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue to get your prescribed wound care supplies delivered straight to your front door, setting you up with all of the tools to promote wound healing at home.