Having a safety kit in your car, home, RV, purse or backpack can be a life-saver at best and simply take up a bit of space at worse. With spring here and summer plans in the works, it’s the perfect time to expand and create a self-care kit to go along with your basic safety kit.

A self care kit can include personal items for putting you at ease, a book of poems, pictures of loved ones or paper and pen for journaling and should include specific items such as a list of important contacts, statements from your doctor describing any medical problems, prescriptions that may be required, treatment information regarding your health problem, and a very clear explanation about any drugs or medical paraphernalia you are carrying with you.

It can also include time-tested natural remedies that our forebearers found essential. Acupuncturist and herbalist Mariposa Bernstein will talk Thursday about both Eastern and Western-based traditional remedies for maintaining balance and re-establishing health for an array of travel and emergency situations.

The basic medical kit usually includes adhesive tape, cotton swabs, gauze, Band-Aids, sterile cleaners and antibacterial ointment. Depending upon where you will be traveling, it might also include water purification tablets, salt tablets, disinfectant, small scissors, tweezers and thermometer.

Your natural self-care kit may include remedies for bee and insect bites, poison oak and ivy, stomach and intestinal remedies, sunstroke, burns and headaches.

The most common problem for most foreign travelers explains Adventure Abroad.com is overmedicating, according to Adventure Abroad, a Web site. They provide an extensive list of preparations if one is going to live abroad for any lengthen of time.

“We’ve provided this detailed information to stimulate thought, not provide evidence or rationale for a traveling pharmacy. In most cases, your body’s normal defenses, common sense and plenty of rest will provide faster relief.”

For those traveling in major European countries, you will find that natural remedies sit in primary locations in every commercial pharmacy. Europeans use essential oils, homeopathy and herbal remedies medicinally and have so for hundreds of years.

You can simply walk in and request help finding the right homeopathic remedy for normal distress such as headache or stomach upsets, find natural relief for menstrual cramps or recovering from jet lag or request an herbal-based cream or lotion for tired feet, burns and rashes. Readily available, the local pharmacist can assist you for these simple discomforts.

When traveling to Third World countries, you may wish to carry your basic medical and self-care kit with you. Contact The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control for important information. They publish Health Information for International Travelers and provide a yearly update on required vaccinations and other health issues.

The travel Web site recommends exercising restraint when traveling. Here are four basic recommendations for staying well and maximizing the chance of having a healthy, enjoyable trip.

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Stay hydrated — drink plenty of liquids.
  • Avoid excesses of alcohol and food, at least until your body starts to adjust to its new environment.
  • Plan ahead. By building flexibility into your travel itinerary you can reduce emotional and physical stress, enabling you to adjust more quickly to your new surroundings.No matter whether headed somewhere exotic or staying right here in earthquake country, taking the time to plan a self-care kit can help you be physically and emotionally prepared to handle stressful events and situations with the best of your self.

    Liz Koch is the Way of Life Health Educator.