“You’re going to need an extensive medical kit if you’re going to venture out there,” reckons Dr Chapman. “You also need to know how to use it all. It should include Betadine, needles for removing urchins, sterile gauze, and a basic suture kit with local anaesthetic, tweezers, basic dressings, crepe bandage and some simple analgesia. Skin glue is also a good idea if you can’t get suturing equipment.”
Dr Chapman doesn’t believe in skimping if you’re going feral.
“Some other things to remember are eardrops, eye drops, antihistamines, electrolyte sachets and antibiotics for a skin infection. You’ll need some decent pain relief. If you have anything remotely strong make sure your name is on the prescription and carry a doctor’s letter for it and any antibiotics to avoid any hassles with immigration. If you’re not on prophylaxis, then a treatment dose of Malarone is a good idea.”
He also recommends a broad-spectrum antibiotic like Doxycycline for wound infections, especially marine contaminated wounds as well as a gastro kit that can assist with travellers’ diarrhoea.
No matter what protection you take, you are going to get bitten by insects, especially if you’re in the tropics, so antihistamines will help.
“Don’t forget the basics, like sunscreen, mosquito repellent and some alcohol wipes,” adds Dr Chapman. “A disinfectant like Bactroban, or any antibiotic barrier cream is always going to come in handy, along the Leukoplast tape to cover the wounds.”
Let’s not forget that you might be in the jungles of Java where all sorts of strange infections lurk.
“A combination anti-fungal/steroid cream can be handy for those weird jungle rashes,” reckons Chapman. “Get one of those rashes on your junk while in the jungle, and you’re going to need to sort it out quickly, or you’re going to be weeping.”
If something goes wrong, and it often does, at least you’ll have the equipment to deal with basic first aid procedures.