It's always wise to bring a medical kit with you on vacation — especially on extended vacations. Having a few things on hand can help make your trip more enjoyable and minor illnesses less inconvenient.

Below are suggested over-the-counter (OTC) items to pack in your medical kit. Personalize your travel kit by deciding which items are the best to carry.

  • Antiseptics (betadine, alcohol)
  • Antibacterial soap or towelettes, hand-cleaning gel
  • Personal toilet tissue (small facial tissue pack works well), washcloth
  • Sterile bandages, ACE (rolled elastic) bandages, cotton
  • Scissors, tweezers, teaspoon, tablespoon
  • Thermometer — digital
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen
  • Motion sickness pills (such as Dramamine® or Bonine®) — look for the active ingredient meclizine, which is less sedating
  • Sunscreens
  • Anti-diarrheal medication (such as Imodium® AD [loperamide])
  • Antacids, acid-blocking OTC medication (such as Pepcid® and/or Pepto-Bismol®)
  • Laxatives or stool softeners (diet variances and travel can cause constipation)
  • Over-the-counter vaginal yeast medication, or athlete's foot cream
  • Over-the-counter sleeping pills
  • Salt tablets where excessive sweating occurs due to heavy exertion in a tropical area
  • Powdered sports drinks (such as Gatorade®, Powerade®)
  • Non-sugar sweeteners (such as Sweet-n-Low®, Equal®, Splenda®) if medically indicated
  • Insect repellent with 30% to 50% DEET recommended (towelettes with repellent may be easiest to transport); or products containing picaridin
  • Common medications and necessities including decongestants, antacids, antihistamines, condoms, spermicidal gels, other contraceptives, and tampons/sanitary napkins
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses and contacts; hearing aid batteries; watch batteries

In case of custom inspections, bring prescription medications in their original containers to avoid questions related to a mixture of pills in a single bottle. This will also help in case of emergency refill requests.

If there are too many bottles, list medications, including brand and generic names (brand names often vary overseas) and dosage amounts. Any necessary narcotics or needles should be carried along with a letter signed by a doctor explaining why and how they are to be used.

Blood that is vomited usually comes from what is referred to as the upper GI, or gastrointestinal, tract. This includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (upper part of the small intestine). Pancreatic problems can also be the source of blood vomiting.

There are several causes of vomiting blood. Most of them are very serious and require immediate medical attention.

Causes can include:

  • A tear (called a Mallory-Weiss tear) in the lining of the esophagus, caused by excessive vomiting
  • Swollen veins (varices) in the lower part of the esophagus and stomach. This often happens in people with severe liver damage, including people with long-term alcoholism.
  • A bleeding stomach or duodenal ulcer
  • Irritation or swelling of the esophagus, called esophagitis
  • A benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous tumor in the stomach or esophagus
  • A severe injury to the abdominal area, as caused by a car accident or blow to the abdomen
  • An inflammation of the stomach, called gastritis
  • Taking too much aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
  • A condition called Dieulafoy's lesion that affects an artery in the stomach wall
  • Inflammation of the small intestine, called duodenitis
  • Pancreatic cancer

Child life specialists are healthcare professionals who help children and their families understand and cope with medical experiences associated with hospitalization and illness. These professionals are trained in fields such as child life, child development, education, and psychology and are certified by the Association of Child Life Professionals.

Child life specialists promote patient and family centered care, collaborating with parents and members of the medical team to foster effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities to minimize the stress of hospitalization. They provide emotional support for families and encourage optimum development of children who face a broad range of challenging experiences.

Child life specialists seek to help patients understand their medical experiences by providing developmentally appropriate preparation and education. Research has shown that when children understand what is happening to them, they cope more effectively and experience less psychological trauma. Pediatric patients and families may seek out Child Life Specialists to provide guidance and help managing medical experiences.

Child life services are provided at no charge to pediatric patients and their families. Child life specialists work in a variety of inpatient and outpatient areas: Cleveland Clinic Children’s Main Campus, Fairview and Hillcrest Hospitals, Beachwood, Fairview/Westlake, and Strongsville ambulatory surgical centers.

Programs and Services

  • Behavioral modification plans: These plans help to encourage success with a new medical regimen.
  • Education: These programs provide education for a new diagnosis tailored to your child’s developmental age/level using tools such as play, books and technology to meet the child’s individual needs.
  • Pediatric medical preparation and pre-surgery teaching: These programs provide age-appropriate medical preparation and pre-surgery teaching to help alleviate a child’s fears, anxiety or misconceptions.
  • Support during procedures: These programs help reduce pain and anxiety during medical procedures by using techniques such as distraction, guided imagery and relaxation exercises.
  • Therapeutic play activities: Specialists provide therapeutic play activities to help normalize the medical environment. Therapeutic play activities can occur at bedside, in playrooms, or in waiting areas.
  • Medical play: Medical play is provided to help children become more comfortable with the medical environment and equipment they will encounter.
  • Support for brothers and sisters: Specialists are available to help siblings understand what is happening and how to work through their feelings and concerns regarding their brother or sister.

Here are some tips to help you stop smoking and stay stopped:

  • Pick a quit date—usually 1 to 3 weeks in the future—and write it down. Prepare for the date by cutting down on tobacco use, staying away from your favorite places to use tobacco, and making a plan for how you will deal with stressful events without smoking. Don't try to become tobacco-free during a very stressful time in your life. This will lower your chance of success.
  • List your reasons for becoming tobacco-free. Read over the list before and after you stop. Carry the list with you and look at it several times a day. (Successful people usually have strong personal reasons to become tobacco-free.)
  • Tell yourself you are a great person for becoming tobacco-free. Remind yourself of this when you want to use tobacco.
  • When you get the urge to use tobacco, take a deep breath. Hold it for 10 seconds, then release it slowly. Take it one moment, one hour, and one day at a time. Cravings are usually short-lived and will go away whether or not you use tobacco.
  • Keep your hands busy. Doodle, play a sport, knit or work on a computer.
  • Write down and understand what triggers your urge to use tobacco. Then change the activities that were connected to tobacco. Find new activities to replace tobacco use. Be ready to do something else when you want to use tobacco.
  • Eat low-calorie, healthful foods when the urge for tobacco strikes. Carrot and celery sticks, fresh fruits, and fat-free snacks are good choices.
  • Remove all reminders of tobacco use from your home, office, and vehicle.
  • Drink a lot of fluids. Cut down on alcohol and caffeine. They can trigger urges to use tobacco. Select water, herbal teas, caffeine-free soft drinks, and juices.
  • Exercise. Exercising will help you relax. Other ways to relax might include meditation or prayer.
  • Hang out with other people who do not use tobacco.
  • Get support when you need it. Ask friends and family for their support. Tell them about your milestones with pride. In addition to family and friends, seek support from a comprehensive tobacco cessation program, an individual counselor, and support groups as needed.
  • Treatment options include medication, nicotine replacement therapy, and/or behavioral therapy.
  • There is the Ohio Quitline: 1.800.TRY.TO.STOP (1.800.934.4840).
  • You may also contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, or the American Lung Association.
  • There are many online resources to help you, including the Centers for Disease Control, National Cancer Institute, National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, and World Health Organization Tobacco-Free Initiative.

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