published Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Phillips: Take medical records on long road trips


by Ellen Phillips

Q: We're planning a long road trip soon. I know to pack an emergency kit in the car, but what about any other medical needs not found within the kit? — Carl Careful

A: Dear Mr. Careful: You're smart to know more than a few Band-Aids and sunscreen go in your medical kit. As I haven't an MD in front of my name, I consulted with a family (doctor) friend who tells me the following items are most important to have on hand when traveling:

• Electronic medical records. Be sure to use a USB drive to store any and all medical info, such as family physician's phone, all meds and doses, allergies and so forth. In the event of a problem, this little device could literally save your life.

• Benadryl. Take these 25-milligram tabs with you to relive congestion, seasonable and food allergies (nonlife-threatening), bug bites and rashes. My buddy tells me this medicine also can double as a sleep aid and can prevent motion sickness.

• Naproxen. Used as a pain reliever, naproxen is more effective than either acetaminophen or ibuprofen; plus, the benefits last longer.

• Johnson and Johnson First Aid waterproof tape. Use the tape to dress wounds and to splint broken fingers and toes. Take it a step further to fix torn clothing, tents, sleeping bags and suitcases. (I've used the tape before to strap a torn suitcase and it worked great!)

• Antacids with calcium. Because on vacation we tend to eat foods with which our diet isn't familiar and to perhaps drink more, the antacid helps both heartburn and indigestion.

• Water, food (peanut butter is perfect), and "space" blankets for warmth. It's always a smart idea to prepare in case you get stranded on the road.

about Ellen Phillips...

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at www.timesfreepress.com under Local Business.

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ChrisC said...

Inside the USB drive or one more document that I might bring is a visitor insurance or health insurance records. In the case where I might be hospitalised and not carrying enough cash with me, the medical personnel need to know that I am covered, and so they will not deny me any medical procedures that I might need.

May 24, 2012 at 4:56 a.m.
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