Please sign in to post.

Some health-related packing items

We started packing an ACE bandage and a small ice bag after I sprained my ankle in England on the last trip (wet cobblestones covered with leaves and a downhill walk are not a good combo). Couldn’t find a bandage anywhere and a plastic bag for the ice was messy. We added these two items to our first aid kit. Found small ones at Walgreens for under $3. We do long-distance walking in England and decided it made sense. We also carry a couple instant ice packs – appears they never heard of them in the UK – just in case.

Posted by
6 posts

Yep. And everywhere else we could find. Asked the pharmacist and others, none of whom had ever heard of the elastic bandages or ice packs. Nothing on the shelves in Boots, Poundland, grocery stores, outdoor stores (Cotswolds). It was an interesting experience. If they list them online, they don’t stock them in the stores – at least none of the stores in York, Halifax, Leeds, or London.

Posted by
13931 posts

I had a similar experience in 2016 and also started carrying an ACE wrap. I fell in London and banged up my knee. It was very swollen and I felt the compression with an ACE wrap would have helped. In several Boots' (London, Salisbury and Bath) I could only find a knee brace and the ones they had were too small for my leg. Since that time it's "lived" in the bottom of my suitcase. I never take it out and it lies flat on one side of the bottom, lol. I've also never needed it since but I carry it because it might be warding off evil, hahaha!

Posted by
4071 posts

Same here, @Pam. Except I have never needed the ace bandage on a trip. It was a pre trip experience that made me start packing it. It just lives in my backpack.

Posted by
312 posts

Interesting- my initial thought was “of course we have elasticated bandages”, but in all the obvious places like Boots or other pharmacies, they only have tubular elastic bandages. In fact, the only place that has similar to ACE bandages is Amazon. We live and learn! Definitely a good idea to travel with your own.

Posted by
4690 posts

Pam, "warding off evil ", I like that, and I'm sure you're correct! Safe travels!

Posted by
377 posts

When my son turned his ankle on our trip to England way back in 2004, we were able to get what AmandaR referred to as a "tubular" elastic bandage what was made to support an ankle and it worked quite well for him. He kept it for a long time since he was a skateboarder and turned ankles were not uncommon.

You might already know this if you do long distance hiking in England, but we were advised to bring moleskin (bandages not animal hides!) if we thought we would need it since it isn't sold in England. It came in handy on our Cotswold Way hike.

Posted by
6 posts

Good suggestions. Moleskin, blister plasters are essential in our first aid kit.

Posted by
2731 posts

I always pack a knee brace and an elastic ankle brace. I used the knee brace almost daily a few years ago. The ankle brace stays in the suitcase just in case. Bandaid blister bandaids are a life saver. After toe problems, I take silicone toe sleeves to protect my toes. I’m allergic to adhesives so have to be careful with what I use.

Posted by
13931 posts

Years ago my brother, then a forester here in Idaho and in the woods every day, got me switched from Moleskin which I always needed scissors for to just plain paper tape. It works as well especially if you apply it before you have a hot spot. I used to have boots that rubbed my heels and would just apply the paper tape before I started hiking and had no issues. It will also stay on thru a few showers as well.

Horsewoofie - my answer is Injinji toe socks and Correct toes toe separators!

Posted by
1364 posts

I pack a tennis ball. Yup, it's strange. I use it as a massage roller after a long day out and about. Not as good as a foam roller but alot smaller.

Posted by
699 posts

Thank you @jmburda for this. I didn’t even think about the possibilities of needing an ace bandage and/or a small ice pack for our 5 day hike. Added to the packing list!

I want them there to ward off evil like Pam says!!

Posted by
3109 posts

At the other end of the body from our legs and feet……I always pack a tiny ziploc bag of salt for gargling away a sore throat.
Cheap and cheerful, but well worth it when you wake up with the beginnings of a sore throat.

Posted by
9562 posts

I always pack a few Pepto-Bismol tabs with me, as bismuth isn't in formulations in Europe. I usually don't know if my tummy is upset until late at night, and it inevitably happens at least once every trip. It's just easier to have those with me.

Posted by
14976 posts

Two items I always pack are Pepto-Bismol (not found in most of Europe) and Naproxem Sodium (Alleve). In most of Europe, it's by prescription only. Acetominophen and Ibuprofen don't work for me.

Regarding OTC meds, I ask myself this question...."It's midnight, I need XXX. Do I need it right away or can I wait to find a pharmacy in the morning?" If I feel I need it right away, I just bring enough to get me started and not a 30 day supply.

I also have a few freezer ziploc bags. They have multiple uses. I've used them as an ice bag.

I have found that just about anything can be found in pharmacies in Europe if you look hard enough. But they might be called something different.

Posted by
237 posts

How do the instant ice packs fare through TSA or European equivalents?

I have a couple of (gel?) ice packs that started out with the inside bladder to bust to freeze initially, but they are also re-freezable.

I also have a couple of (gel?) packs that can either be frozen or heated in the microwave - no bladder to bust.

A zipper freezer bag works, but it eventually comes apart at the seams.

When I had joint replacement, somehow the ice bag at the hospital didn't get picked up when I left. I went to a re-hab facility after and they had no ice bags. Thankfully I had packed some zipper freezer bags. As soon as I could get a ride, I stopped by a drugstore and bought a couple of the re-usable, re-freeze instant packs.

On packing light, regular old-fashioned ice bags would pack lighter and less bulky. But the option to re-freeze or heat-up makes the re-usable variety nice for road-trips.

Posted by
510 posts

Trotter, I pack a tennis ball too! Also a small wooden dowel that I can use on my very sore calves similar to the foam roller concept. And an ankle brace for the too often uneven surfaces that I invariably find and sometimes twist my ankle.

Posted by
233 posts

Day 1 of our trip to Munich my husband tweaked his ankle. He woke up the next morning (on a Sunday) with it very swollen. Since most stores are closed on Sunday, I had to take the train out to the main station which had shops in it that were open, to find a pharmacist who searched around and found an ACE wrap. It travels everywhere with us now. I was so appreciative of having found it. Finding ice was a strike out, until we joined a RS tour a few days later, and our guide managed to score some ice. She really teased my husband about how it was like finding gold!

Posted by
44 posts

Packing those items is a good idea. I sprained my ankle on the Cliffs of Mohr in Ireland and our guide (Lolly Spense) was GREAT. She got me a bag of ice from the hotel bar and found an "ace-type" bandage, called an "elastic" I believe in the hotel first aid kit. I then bought one at Boots in Ireland.

Posted by
4573 posts

Oh yeah. I always carry an ACE bandage. Also several bandanas and a large scarf. Wet bandana in a freezer is an icepack workaround, or holds ice cubes. Large scarf has been a sling more than once.