A woman walks down the beach holding a beach bag with a red cross on it.

Do You Have a Summer Essential Kit?

Is it just me, or does anyone else have a summer essential kit? It’s kind of like an expanded first aid kit. Every summer, our family takes a few trips. We go “down the shore” (as they say here in New Jersey) several times, and we visit my parents in Pittsburgh.

Ironically, when I’m at home, I rarely need anything from my summer essential kit, but when we are away, every possible scenario seems to happen, and I like to be prepared.

Getting ready for summer

I’ve already made my kit for this summer, and I used a small, soft packing cube so I can just transfer it in and out of suitcases, from hotel to home, wherever I need it. I even managed to collect a bunch of supplies for my kit from the dollar store!

What's in my kit?

When dealing with health conditions like eczema, allergies, and migraine, my kit is truly essential! So what’s in my kit?

Eczema creams

I always travel with several steroid creams in case of an eczema flare-up. I usually bring a mild OTC cream such as hydrocortisone cream, and a more potent prescription steroid cream.

Hand creams

Dry, flaky skin on my hands is annoying! I always throw a small tube of travel-size hand cream in my kit.

Band-aids and antibiotic ointment

I always have plenty of Band-aids for the kids, who ask for a Band-aid for every minor scrape or scratch (most of these scrapes are invisible!). Band-aids also come in handy for blisters or when your shoes/sandals rub against your skin.

Allergy medication

When I’m away, it seems I always have an allergic reaction to something. I keep a small pack of generic Claritin in my bag - this is good for a mild allergic reaction or even just allergies in general. I usually bring some Benadryl too, just in case.

Migraine medication

Sometimes, the heat and humidity get to me, and a migraine comes on. I always keep Excedrin Migraine in my bag, so if I feel the pain coming on, I can take two Excedrin at the first sign of a migraine.

Lubricating eye drops

A few years ago, I had a corneal abrasion, which was just about as painful as giving birth, no lie! It didn’t heal properly at first and took a while to improve. If my eye ever starts to feel a little dry or scratchy, I use a few drops of lubricating eye drops.

Other essentials

Some other things I tend to throw in the bag include earplugs, a nail clipper (I think I own 300 of them but can never find one), scissors, a small Vaseline, tweezers, and cough drops (especially if we are traveling in the winter months). My kids are older now (the youngest is 9), but when they were younger, I would always pack a bottle of children’s ibuprofen and oral syringes, too.

Pharmacist’s tip: An accurate measuring device is essential - kitchen measuring devices are not accurate for measuring medication.

This kit is in addition to my regular medications, which I pack in a pill organizer (in a Ziploc bag, in case the pills fall out, which they have before!)

A fully stocked bag

When we go away, we are usually not too far from a drugstore or grocery store, but they are not always convenient to get to, or they may be closed when I need something. Keeping a fully stocked bag of essentials practically ensures that I will not need most of it!

Another pharmacist's tip: Keep the bag at room temperature away from heat (do not allow it to sit in a hot car), sunlight, and moisture, since it contains medications.

Do you have an essential kit for travel? What’s in your kit?

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