Don’t forget the essentials for your family’s first aid kit on your next Costa Rica Vacation
There is nothing quite as daunting as an overseas drug store when you need simple first aid supplies. Costa Rican health care services are among the best in the world, but minor bites, cuts and abrasions happen. It’s comforting to have your favorite remedies available; these are our recommendations for your Costa Rican vacation:
• Insect repellant – for children, limit DEET to 10% – 15%; for adults, 30% – 50% DEET or up to 15% picaridin
• Anti-itch cream/gel – all-natural remedies may include menthol or camphor and orange, lavender, thyme, lemongrass and other essential oils; 1% cortisone cream is another option. In a pinch, Vicks Vapor Rub, hand sanitizer gels, alcohol wipes or even toothpaste will relieve itching.
• Sunscreen – an absolute must; choose SPF factor 15 or higher
• Sunburn care – aloe vera or soy lotions can soothe sunburned skin; a hydrocortisone cream can also relieve a painful sunburn
• Pain relief – acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin for headaches, pain, fever and simple sprains or strains
• Antibacterial cleansers – alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipes, at least 60% alcohol or more
• Topical antiseptic cream – for minor cuts and abrasions
• Antifungal spray or creams – especially useful in Costa Rica’s hot, humid climate
• Bandages – assorted sizes, including butterfly closures; gauze pads, rolls and tape for more serious wounds
• OTC remedies – diarrhea medication, laxative, antacids, allergy and cold remedies, nose or eye saline drops, or sleep aids
• Styptic powders or pens – for people on anticoagulants such as warfarin
• EpiPen – if someone in your party is subject to anaphylactic reactions from bug bites or allergies
• Scissors, tweezers, cold/hot packs and latex-free disposable gloves
Drinking water in Costa Rica is safe; water purification tablets are unnecessary unless you plan to visit remote areas where clean water is limited. If you take prescription medications, bring extra and make sure they’re in their pharmacy-labeled containers and keep them in your carry-on luggage. It’s also a good idea to keep a carry a list of all prescription medications, with dosages, on you.
Since it’s your kit, you can customize it to meet your needs. Pack your first aid kit in a sturdy Tupperware-type container to go in your checked bags. Once you arrive in Costa Rica, you can carry it along with you easily on day trips.