First mistake? Not much allowance in the budget for this. All I can say is "ouch" when we found out how much they were going to cost!!

We contacted MASTA (www.masta.org) to find out the latest information on health considerations whilst in South America.

At the time we were looking for the information, MASTA did not provide detailed country by country information on their website; you had to phone the premium number (0906 8224100, £0.60/min) and give the relevant answers to the voice prompts: where we were intending to travel to, when, and what our living conditions would be like in each country. After a fairly lengthy phone call going through each of our 6 countries in turn, a very detailed brief arrived in the post two days later.(See note below *)

This listed required immunisations, recommended immunisations and immunisations to be considered, together with fairly up to date health news and security advice for each country. We then took this information with us to the Travel Clinic at our local doctor's surgery and the sister, Isobel, took us through what we needed to have - and how much it would all cost!!

Due to previous travel we have done, most of our inoculations were up to date for the trip:

  • Yellow Fever
  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Tetanus
  • T B
  • Diptheria

But there were two we had managed to do without in the past - Hepatitis B and Rabies. Although neither of these was deemed to be essential, they were recommended by both MASTA and our travel clinic for our planned trip. They certainly weren't cheap - a course of three injections for Rabies at £35 a shot and the same for Hepatitis B at a slightly cheaper £27.50 a shot!!

Update 1st August 2003: The recommended antimalarials for our circumstances were Paludrine and Avloclor. We estimate that we need approximately 12 weeks worth, and travelpharm.com seemed to offer the best deal at only £1.95 for a week's supply (including VAT and delivery). I only made the order today, and this should arrive by Monday. They were certainly very prompt in answering any questions, so first impressions would lead me to recommend them.

Update 16th August 2003: The malaria tablets all arrived on Monday morning as promised. A very efficient service.

* Since receiving our list from MASTA, they now offer an additional option of getting your brief via the Internet for a one-off fee of £4.99. This may be a cheaper option if you need information on a number of countries.


First Aid Kit

I always err on the side of caution with a First Aid Kit. The list below comprises everything we will be taking in our kit. The items chosen are based partly on past experience of travelling, and partly on research on the web for suggested kit contents. The following websites were useful for both First Aid Kits and general travel health advice:


The Kit:
  • General Medication
1 Bottle Ibuprofen (500)
1 Bottle Aspirin (500)
Imodium (24 tablets)
5 packets of Indigestion Tablets
1 Pack of Sudafed Non Drowsy (20 tablets)
2 Boxes of Antihistamines (60 tablets)
1 Packet of Travel Calm tablets (10 tablets)
1 Pack of Throat Lozenges (20 lozenges)
32 Sachets of Oral Rehydration Salts
10 Sachets of Lemsip
Multivitamins and Minerals
Malaria tablets
Ciproxin (General Antibiotic)
  • Bandages etc
2 Packs of Wound Closure Strips (Steri Strips)
2 x No 8 Lint Dressings
2 x No 16 Lint Dressings
3 x No 7 Lint Dressings
2 x No 13 Compressed Dressing Small
2 x No 14 Compressed Dressing Medium
6 x 10cm2 Non-Adherent Sterile Dressings (Melolin)
6 x 5cm2 Non-Adherent Sterile Dressings (Melolin)
1 Sterikool Burn Aid Pad(7.5cm x 7.5cm)
1 Burn Relief Pad (10cm x 10cm)
1 Burnshield Burn Relief Dressing (10cm x 10cm)
1 x 2.5cm Micropore Tape
1 x 2.5cm Zinc Oxide Tape
1 Roll Adhesive fabric Tape
1 Pack of Sterile Gauze Swabs
1 x 1m Elastoplast Fabric Strip
2 Packs of 24 Waterproof Plasters
3 Packs of Compeed for Blisters (small)
3 Packs of Compeed for Blisters (medium)
2 Triangular Bandages
1 Crepe Bandage (7.5cm)
1 Elasticated Tubular Bandage B.P. Size C (6.75cm) 1 Metre
1 Elasticated Tubular Bandage B.P. Size D (7.5cm) 1 Metre
1 Steroply Conforming Bandage 7.5cm x 4m
  • Miscellaneous
1 Bottle of Savlon Antiseptic Wound Wash
1 Savlon Dry Spray
1 Bottle Tea Tree Oil
25 Individually Wrapped Alcohol Free Cleansing Wipes
1 Box of Antibacterial Wipes (200)
1 Tube of Germolene
1 Bottle of Emollient eye drops
1 Bottle of Iodine (Water Disinfectant)
1 Bottle of Neutralising Tablets
1 Tube of Deep Heat
1 Tube of Hydrocortisone cream
1 Tube of Bonjela
1 Tube of Athletes Foot Cream
1 Jar White Petoleum Jelly 85g
1 Eye Wash Solution (500ml)
1 Burnshield Hydrogel Burn Gel 50ml
1 Instant Cold Pack - Disposable
1 Re-usable Hot / Cold Pack with Cover
10 Sachets of Vinegar (Jellyfish Stings)
1 Digital Thermometer
1 Box of Disposable Covers for Digital Thermometer (40)
2 Pairs of First Aid Scissors
1 Set of Splinter Tweezers
1 Box of Safety Pins
1 Box of Disposable gloves (50)
1 Sami Splint
1 Pack of Cotton Wool
1 Box of Cotton buds
2 Sterile Syringe Kits
2 Travellers Dental Emergency Kits
Sun Lotion (Factor 15 for Ed; Factor 45 for Sue!)
1 Tube Burnshield Solace After Sun Burn Gel (100ml)
1 Aspivenin Kit (for sucking out insect bites/bee stings etc)
Lots of Insect repellent (Jungle Formula Extra Strength, Tropical Use)
1 Bottle of 100% DEET
1 First Aid Book