Medical Kit
A window in Tom's universe.
This is more than a website of photos, it is a place to
share photos, adventures, stories, opinions, and
information. I hope you enjoy the time you spend here.
Tom Ballard Photography
Travel items for all trips... Somewhere back in my Costa Rica story,  I said I would provide a list of medical
related things I think everyone should have with them, on every trip.. But rather than just share my list on that
story, I have set aside a new page just for this discussion.. So, here it is.. I have seen different versions of this,
and you can develop one to suit you, but this is mine and I think it good.. So, if nothing else, start with mine, then
adjust later if you come up with something better. I will say, I do not include a water filter or purifier on my list..
These things are changing so fast I cannot keep up with them, in fact, I do not carry one, except on mountain trips
and river trips, where I am away from clean water. When I am on these trips, I carry a Sweetwater waterfiter with
an iodine solution as a back up, if my filter dies, as has happened.. The iodine product I am currently(2014) using
is called Polar Pure. I have heard that due to some new regulations, this might be hard to get, but hopefully there
will be something similar that will be available all the time..
Charcoal Capsules. In health food stores, these are referred to as "activated charcoal", at Walmart you
can get essentially the same thing and is called Charco-Caps. Find them in the "GAS" section. These capsules
are great to keep in any home or travel kit, all the time.. Sooner or later, even with the best of care, someone will
get food poisoning. Which means lots of trips to the bathroom, and a feeling of death warmed over afterwards..
When this happens, there are a couple of things you can do, or I would say, I would do.. Which brings us to the
second item:

CIPRO 500 MG tablets.. I now carry these at the advice of my medical advisers. If you get the food
poisoning, which brings on diarrhea and vomiting, this is one of the tools you can use to fight the battle. I have
always used the Charcoal Capsules to fight food poisoning, and it works. When the problem starts, I take two of
the capsules, an hour later, I take two more, an hour later two more, then, I reduce to one per hour.. And, I would
suggest you do the same.. Then, if all else fails, go for the Cipro, which is an antibiotic.. I do not suggest taking
the Charcoal and the Cipro together, as the charcoal absorbs chemicals, and is likely to absorb the Cipro,
rendering it less effective. But, do use it if you have to!!!Take one, wait 12 hours, take a second. Hopefully, by
then, it will all be over and you will be good to travel again.. But, if you need to be traveling, and do not have easy
access to a bathroom while your body is cleaning itself out, take item
number three on my list:

Imodium or the generic equivalent. I think the active ingredient name is "Loperamide".. I generally take this
only when I have to, such as when I need to keep moving. If I have a bathroom handy, I stay with it and let my
body clean itself, but if I have to catch a plane or attend a meeting, etc, then I use this stuff, per the instructions
on the container.

Electolytes. If you are doing battle with food poisoning, and are losing a lot of body fluids in
the process, then you need to replace it as fast as you can.. There are homemade versions of
electrolytes and there are commercial versions.. The homemade versions are water, salt,
sugar, and citric acid, such as line juice.. You can mix it several different ways, but my way
would be to start with one quart of water, add one quarter teaspoon of salt, one quarter
teaspoon of sugar, and the juice from about one third of a line.. Drink as many quarts of this
mixture as you can.. If you prepare ahead of time, you can buy commercial mixes.. The one I
carry with me is
Emergen-C. You can find these in some food stores, some health food
stores, some running stores, and on the internet at places like Amazon, which is where I get
mine. The product comes in little packets and each packet is good for one quart of water..

These are the basic items to carry to fight food poisoning and related issues. There are
several bugs in nature that can cause you to have a bad day, or more than a bad day, but you
can fight back.. The items listed above are what I think you should carry with you are at all

Now, I am going to share another little secret with you, that you can use for diarrhea, but it is
not something you can carry with you when you travel. It is very effective, but just not practical
to carry.. This is a home remedy that has been used by country people for years. I should
know, I was raised there and have used this remedy many times in life.. It was discovered by
accident, so the story goes. A whole community was falling victim to diarrhea, and in some
cases people were so sick they died.. Then one little boy, who was expected to die, did not, in
fact he started getting better.. The country doctor just could not figure out what the heck had
changed this little mans future, as he was just a day away from sure death when he started
getting better..

As it turns out, whoever was supposed to be watching him, was leaving the boy unattended for
short periods of time.. This boy had an affinity for pickles and pickle juice.. And, when he was
left alone, with what little strength he had left, he would sneak into the kitchen and drink a bunch
of the pickle juice, then sneak back to bed.. After a day of this, he got better.. The doctor saw
the improvement, but could not figure it out.. He kept asking the little boy if anyone had given
him anything, or had he drank anything that the doctor did not know about.. Finally the little boy
admitted to sneaking in the kitchen and drinking the pickle juice.

After a bit of thought, the doctor gathered up several gallon of  apple cider vinegar, mixed it
with salt and ground black pepper, to resemble the juice in the pickles, and took of to give it to
all his patients.. And, yes, people started to get better.. I do not think any of know the medical
reason why it worked or still works today, but it does.. So, if you are at home, and have a case
where you get diarrhea from food or other source, it is possible to beat it rather quickly using
the same method the doctor used.. To mix your own, take a glass of water,
8-10 ounce in size, and one quarter teaspoon of salt and one quarter teaspoon of ground
black pepper.. Mix it well, then drink all of it, rapidly.. In other words, don't sip on it, drink it..
Repeat this about every 30 minutes to an hour.. In most cases, it will be over in a couple of
hours.. Too bad we cannot carry this with us.. But, maybe someday someone will figure out
how to get it done..    

As for your basic first aid kit, there seems to be an endless number of ways to mix and match
for these.. So, I will leave that to you.. But for the food poisoning, and related issues, the
suggestions above will do you good...