Health and Medical - Packing List for Travel to Vietnam
By Beverly Roeder, DVM, PhD, Karen Muller and Allison Martin
Packing list for medical and health needs, with suggestions for yourself and your family.
Medical Kit for Adults
- ConsidernAnti-malaria tablets : Vietnam has chloroquine-resistant malaria.
- Motion sickness medications : Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) tablets are good for travel on boat, plane, or bumpy vans. Consider bringing Bonine (meclizine) which also helps for the side-effect
- of dizziness that some people experince when taking malaria-prevention drugs. Both are antiemetics (anti-vomiting drugs).
- Band Aids : Get the neosporin impregnated bandaids and also bring various sizes.
- Gauze bandages/adhesive tape : Good for larger wounds and particularly for burns or some blisters.
- Waterless skin disinfectants : Good for washing hands when no clean water is available. (Purell, Rite Aid Instant Hand Sanitizer)
- Hand sanitizer wipes: Also helpful before you eat anything or after trips.
- Moleskin : Good for chafe spots or blisters, particularly on the feet.
- Tweezers : Get the kind with sharp tips for extracting splinters or
- removal of ticks or splinters.
- Antibiotic ointment : Very important for keeping cuts from getting infected. Critical if you get burned. Neosporin and silvadene cream are veryhandy. Use baby wipes to help cleanse the wound then bandage with ointment.
- Betadine : Consider this iodine-based disinfectant for scrubbing out wounds
- Imodium A/D : Anti-diarrheal medicine (non-prescription).
- Pepto-Bismal : Less potent anti-diarrheal medication but good for indigestion, tablets are easiest to bring.
- Lomotil : You might consider bringing this anti-diarrheal medicine by prescription only.
- Reydration salts : Prepackaged, powdered GatorAde or electrolytes are ideal (can get at REI). Ibuprofen/aspirin : For aches and pains. (Remember
- that these are blood thinners so if you have an injury you will increase both bleeding and possibly swelling. Alternatively soda of various sorts is also available in Vietnam.
- Anti-fungal powder : Foot rot and jock itch are significant problems. Lotrimin AF is a good over-the-counter product in liquid, cream and powder
- Antihistamine : Benadryl is good for allergic histamine release blockade.
- Mouthwash : Useful for oral ulcers, sore throats, and also topical disinfectant if nothing else is available.
- Toothpaste : Good oral hygiene is critical.
- Dental floss : Maintain good dental hygiene and this lightweight, strong thread has many uses and is reasonably bacteria-free.
- Eyeglasses, spare pair.
- Tissues : Individually plastic-wrapped packages of tissues. Not every bathroom is equipped with toilet paper. Also useful for colds, of course.
- Sunscreen : Best to get sunblock with at least UV 30 protection.
- Insect repellent : This is actually very important. Also consider shirts with long sleeves.
- Chapstick or lip balm such as Balmex
- Vitamins : Calcium and vitamin C deprivation in your diet may be a problem while in Vietnam - bring a good multivitamin and either Tums or a
- chewable Calcium supplement.
- Tampax & sanitary napkins : Sanitary napkins can also serve as
- a good wound dressing.
- Prescription medicines . Bring a full supply of all your prescription medicines. Don't expect to find any particular medication in Vietnam.
- Newskin : You spray this over cuts and burns and it acts like a flexible
- Ace bandage or VetWrap : Good to hold medicated gauze or Telfa pads
- over a wound. Rubber gloves (sterile or non-sterile exam gloves)
- Eye wash or contact lens solution : You may also want an antibiotic ophthalmic ointment or drops for dry eye or for for eye infections, especially if you wear contact lenses.
- Lifesavers or other snacks : Helpful if you are suddenly low on blood sugar and no other food is handy.
Medical Kit for Baby
- Baby digital thermometer
- Kaolectrolyte or Pedialyte powdered electrolyte packets
- Eye dropper
- Cotton balls
- Ibuprofen Children's Liquid suspension 8 oz.
- Benadryl dye-free pediatric liquid (6.25 mg diphenhydramine HCl/5 ml) 4 oz. Bottle (good to help prevent motion sickness on airplane and many Asian people are motion sensitive)
- 6 cc syringes for dosing oral medicine
- Phazyme or Mylacon (simethicone antiflatulent) drops for colic/GI gas pain - an adoptive VN baby in our group needed alot of this
- Baby Anbesol anesthetic gel for teething pain
- Baby Orajel Tooth & Gum Cleanser with baby tooth brush & gum terry wipe
- Polytrim sterile ophthalmic drops
- Neomycin, Polymyxin B & Bacitracin Zinc sterile ophthalmic ointment
- Auralgen ear drops (anesthetic external ear drops for earache pain)
- Lotrimin antifungal cream
- Mycitracin (Bacitracin/Polymyxin/Neomycin) ointment
- Antibiotic Band-Aids
Antibiotics for Vietnam Adoption Travel
Many USA pediatricians advise against prescribing an antibiotic to take with you to Vietnam and other international adoption areas due to fear of misuse by untrained parents in treating diseases, but also out of ignorance as to the gravity of the situation that exists in these foreign countries. Medical facilities may be poorly equipped, may have little or no access to prescription medications, and unfortunately any Rx medication that is present may have been produced under questionable circumstances regarding formulation, sterility, shelf-life, etc.
According to Dr. Roeder, many of the kids in Vietnam have not had any previous antibiotic to treat any illness,and the likelihood of sensitivity and the risk of anaphylactic shock from an allergy to the antibiotics is very slim. Her son was very sick from the very first day they met. He had an ascending middle ear infection with a high fever. Without the prescription meds that her pediatrician had sent with me, he could have died. He also had continued problems and needed lots of oral rehydration for diarrhea and fevers. We used Ibuprofen to help with the fevers which were later confirmed to be due to malaria. The anemia he suffered from was resolved after he was successfully treated for the malaria, but he also has hemoglobin E trait.Later, Preston was a healthy, happy little boy at least 6 months ahead of schedule on the pediatric assessment charts for developmental skills and abilities. With the correct diagnosis and early treatment he has not had any lasting ill effects from any of these medical problems.