India,  Tips and Tricks

India First Aid Kit: What You Should Pack

A good India first aid kit can be a trip-saver if something happens – even as small as a cut, scrape, or runny nose. Yes, you can buy just about anything in India that you can at home – but you might not want to right when you need it!

My mom, who is a hospital administrator and an RN, helped me pack my round the world first aid kit. If you’re just heading to India, you won’t need quite as much!

While this list feels long, it’s easy to find the small carrying sizes of each of these. Make sure that you keep the original packaging and don’t mix pills within bottles – that can put you on the wrong side of immigration, even if everything is legal!

DISCLAIMER: This does NOT constitute medical advice. I’m not a doctor – talk to your doctor before leaving for India and make sure it’s right for you! This is all based on what worked for me. When you visit your doctor, it’s a good idea to talk about prescriptions and vaccines as well! (I cannot recommend Cipro enough, just in case of Delhi Belly!)

Over the Counter First Aid Items for India

General Items

  • A case to carry it all
    I didn’t use the case here – I found a cute little pencil bag from the Dollar Spot at Target, and it worked like a charm. But whichever way you go, you’ll want something to corral it all that isn’t your everyday toiletry kit. If you ordered packing cubes, you could easily re-appropriate a small one of those to your first aid kit.
  • Moleskin
    If you’re an active vacationer, this can be a huge help in preventing blisters. India has a whole lot of stairs, and you’ll want to be out exploring!
  • Big Bandaids
    Great for if you scrape your knee, get a big cut, etc. These can be especially effective at sort of “sealing” a cut or scrape against some of the pollution or bacteria that could find its way in.
  • Hydrocortisone Cream
    Things bite. Especially if you’re in a tropical or sub-tropical area. Bites itch. Handle it by carrying this. Especially in Southern India and in monsoon season, the mosquitos can be killer!
  • Blister Band-Aids
    Blister band-aids can be harder to find in other countries, and can be a lifesaver for keeping your trip on track. You probably won’t need many, but it’s worth taking a few with you.
  • Silver Anti-Microbial Wound Gel
    To be honest, I don’t know the difference between this and Neosporin, but I had both. I used this one more because my mom told me it’s anti-microbial properties were better. I can attest that any cuts and scrapes I’ve used this on have never gotten infected. I hope the same for you! Fun fact: if something is anti-microbial, it is also anti-bacterial. (The reverse is not necessarily true.)

Stomach Items (Delhi Belly Relief)

  • Anti-Diarrhea Meds
    I would not buy the small size of this. In fact, if you’ve got a sensitive stomach in the US or Europe, I’d recommend planning on taking this for the duration of your trip, so plan accordingly. You probably won’t use it all or need it every day, but these are small and light pills – you’ll regret running out far more than carrying extra! (Remember my friends and their “solid days”? Yeah, there’s a reason, and a solve.)
  • Pepto-Bismol
    Pervious comments apply. And yes, take BOTH this and an anti-diarrhea med
  • Tums
    I’m pretty convinced there is no such thing as “enough” when it comes to things to help your stomach while traveling, especially in India. The food is AMAZING, but it can be spicy and the number of spices can upset you’re stomach if you’re not accustomed to it.

Pain Relief

  • Neosporin
    Get a small tube – but this is great if you step on something, get cut walking past something, or who knows what? Neosporin is worth taking!
  • Tiger Balm
    They should really call this “lifesaver balm.” I used this a LOT. There are two formulations – red and blue for hot and cold. Honestly, I wish I’d brought both. But I only took “red” with me. If you’re walking a lot or doing intense activities, this is a great muscle pain reliever. I also found this great when my muscles were sore after super long flights.
  • Ibuprofen
    I prefer Ibuprofen to Tylenol, but take at least a small bottle of whichever is your go-to
  • Excedrin Migraine
    This is harder to find, and I do get migraines, so I brought two of the purse packs of this one. If you get migraines, make sure to go to India prepared – with all the pollution in the air, the heat, and the humidity, it can be a migraine-triggering wonderland. (Hopefully not! But better to be prepared, right?)

Allergy and Sinus

  • Re-wetting Eye Drops
    Even if you don’t wear contacts, you’re likely to get dry eyes at some point. These are even more useful if you do wear contacts. Remember that in the big cities, pollution is far worse than you’re likely used to.
  • Cold Medicine
    Yes, India is well known for causing stomach issues. The pollution gave me a wicked bad sinus infection. Be prepared for both, and make sure you take something for cold relief!

Miscellaneoous

  • Dramamine (Normal Formula)
    This is useful for both motion sickness and when you need to go to sleep. It’s especially useful when you need to sleep through something that might give you motion sickness. (This is another one, where if space is at a super premium, I’d drop the ZZZZquil and just bring this.)
  • ZZZZZquil
    Combine jet lag, long plane rides, long train rides, potential hostel stays and everything else, and it’s likely you’ll need help sleeping at least a few times.

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What to put in your first-aid kit when you're visiting India

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