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Cruise Travel First Aid Kit
Be prepared for small emergencies

by Linda Coffman

Cruise Travel First Aid

First Aid For Travelers

Life's little bumps
Before I could fully explain how I scraped my knee, the ship's nurse smiled and pointed to several baskets of supplies on her desk when I appeared in the infirmary. I left with several adhesive bandages, a packet of Neosporin cream, and the advice that swimming in one of the ship's salt water pools would promote healing.

Over the years, I've stubbed my toes, toppled down stairs, and experienced any number of other clumsy little accidents, not to mention nasty cuts on coral reefs and blisters from 'stylish' shoes. Fortunately, most of the time my injuries were minor. Unfortunately, they didn't all happen within close proximity of the ships' medical centers. As a result, I've learned to be prepared at all times with basic items for first aid. My tote bag always contains a few adhesive bandages and a small bottle of waterless antibacterial hand sanitizer, which can also be used to clean small cuts.

For all around care, I've put together a kit of first aid and emergency items that I never leave home without.

Cruise Diva's Travel First Aid Kit

  • adhesive bandages
  • first aid antibacterial cream
  • waterless antibacterial hand sanitizer
  • aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • anti-nausea medication
  • anti-diarrhea medication
  • antacid tablets
  • antihistamine
  • seasickness remedy
  • zipper-top plastic bags or ice bag
  • dental adhesive
  • prescription medications

Even those of us without dentures may have several caps and fillings. It's rare that a shipboard medical center features a resident dentist, so a small container of dental adhesive or special dental repair kit is handy. A temporary repair can mean the difference between discomfort and relief from extreme temperature sensitivity until a dentist is available in port.

Another condition to consider is edema, the accumulation of excess fluid in body tissues. It's a very common condition, particularly after long airplane flights and while cruising in hot, humid climates. Swollen ankles and feet are regular complaints and preventative measures are called for. During pre-cruise flights, drink plenty of water while avoiding caffeine and alcoholic beverages; walk around the plane every hour; and wear special compression stockings (available from Magellan's). Should swelling still develop, raise your feet and apply an ice-filled zipper-top plastic bag for relief. Sleeping with elevated feet helps as well—try putting a folded blanket or life vest under the mattress. From the ship's spa, Elemis Instant Refreshing Gel does wonders for swollen ankles. In addition, when applied to the temples, it also clears sinus congestion and eases headache pain.


  • Contact lens wearers should pack an extra pair. 
  • All medications and first aid supplies should be hand carried—do not pack them in checked luggage. 
  • Prescription medicine should be in its original container. 
  • Always have enough medicine on hand for a couple extra days in case of travel delays when returning home.

Seasickness: Rockin' the Boat The cause of mal de mer and how to overcome it.

Cruise Care The ship's Sick Bay. You hope you won't need it but it's comforting to know you can depend on it, if only for a bandage.

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