When preparing for a vacation in Bali, we carefully select our wardrobe to feel comfortable both in the heat of the Balinese coast and during the cold nights when ascending volcanoes.
However, during the journey, not only joys but also unpleasant surprises can await us—such as feeling unwell, for example. A small first aid kit won't weigh down your luggage but will help you quickly deal with possible problems.
Taking care of assembling a vacation first aid kit is better done in advance, and there are several reasons for this:
1) Some medications in Bali may cost more.
2) Not all medications that are familiar and effective to us are sold in Bali.
3) If you are on a tour or a motorbike trip, it may not be very convenient to distract yourself in search of the nearest pharmacy.
4) Perhaps the medication you take is potent, and to purchase it, you may need a prescription from a local doctor, whom you still need to reach.
5) In remote corners of Bali or neighboring islands, pharmacies may have a very limited selection of drugs.
1. Antiseptic Agents
Injuries are possible whether you're biking, surfing, or even simply slipping on a wet tile floor in a hotel or guesthouse.
To disinfect superficial skin injuries, travelers need antiseptic agents. For example hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is sold as Hidrogen peroksida.
In addition to that, it is necessary to bring an antibacterial ointment for external use, which should be applied to infected wounds by sprinkling the powder into the wound at each dressing change after cleansing, until the infection subsides. For example, Baneocin is a combination product containing two bactericidal antibiotics, Bacitracin and Neomycin, with synergistic action. If you haven't brought this medication, you can purchase Baneocin in Bali, which is called Nebacetin or Enbatic Powder.
In hot climates, you are susceptible to both allergies to unfamiliar new foods and insect bites that cause allergic reactions. Antihistamines can be useful for both a vacationer with allergies and an ordinary person.
In Indonesian pharmacies, the easiest antihistamines to find are Cetirizin (Intrizin) or Claritin (Claritin).
If you have an insect bite or a burn from contact with an insect, Hydrocortisone will help relieve swelling and itching. It can be bought in Indonesia under the name Hydrocortizone or Locoid.
3. Remedies for burns
Of course, when coming to the hot island of Bali, you won't be able to resist the pleasure of sunbathing on the beach. And many enthusiasts of this joy may face sunburns the next day.
It's better to prevent this problem than to cure it. Use strong skin protection with SPF not less than 50, gradually increase your sun exposure time while tanning, but if you happen to get sunburned, reliable remedies are necessary.
In Indonesia, you will be able to purchase a product at the pharmacy called Bepanten; however, it is only available in the form of a children's cream in small tubes.
4. Medicines for motion sickness in transport
A long car ride along winding mountain roads, sea motion on a boat on a trip to the islands - all this can potentially harm people with a weak vestibular system and children.
If you haven't brought this medication, you can buy its equivalent in Indonesian pharmacies - a product called Antimo or Dramamine. It comes in a regular adult version and a children's version with strawberry or orange flavor, and it is often available even in convenience stores.
5. Painkillers, antispasmodics and local decongestants
For muscle and joint injuries that often accompany active recreation, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is necessary.
To treat a headache or toothache, you need to take Ibuprofen and Paracetamol with you.
Ibuprofen in Indonesia can be found in pharmacies under the same name, and Paracetamol is sold in almost any minimart, again under the same name or as Panadol.
To promote the absorption of hematomas and alleviate localized swelling, you can bring gels based on heparin, which have antithrombotic and mild anti-inflammatory effects. In Indonesian pharmacies, you can find it under the names Thrombophob or Thromboflash.
To relieve abdominal pain, tourists should take a product with an antispasmodic effect.
In Indonesia, for spasms you can buy at the pharmacy Ginifar, Santagesik, Neuropanstop.
6. Gastrointestinal drugs
Vacation is hard to imagine without a culinary journey through the local dishes, which often conceals dangerous twists. It is advisable not to dive into local cuisine headfirst during the first 2-3 days, but rather to try dishes gradually. The challenge lies in the spicy seasonings that Indonesian and Balinese cuisine is famous for, and in the fact that this food is unfamiliar to your stomach.
Another potential "bomb" is friendly gatherings with various alcoholic beverages. As a result, the pancreas begins to actively produce the necessary enzymes for the digestive process. You can help it by using digestive enzymes.
In Indonesia, such medications are sold under the names Enzymofort, Enzycomb, Elsazym, and Berzymplex.
Frequently, when consuming a large amount of fatty, fried, or spicy food, heartburn may occur, and to alleviate it, antacids are necessary. Antacids are typically available in the form of suspensions, chewable tablets, and dissolvable tablets, which is convenient since they do not need to be taken with water.
If you are experiencing heartburn and don't have such medications on hand, you can buy a suspension or tablets like Mylanta, Promag, or Novamag at a pharmacy or convenience store.
Сtummy and intestinal issues can also be triggered by consuming stale or unwashed fruits, vegetables, and water from "questionable" sources. Therefore, it is advisable to equip your first aid kit with enterosorbents to address these issues.
In local pharmacies, you can find a medication called Norit. Additionally, in Indonesia, Smecta is often used as a sorbent.
To restore intestinal microflora that has been affected by food poisoning, it is advisable to consider probiotic medications.
In Indonesia, medications such as Protexin, Liprolac, Probiokid, and L-Bio are used to normalize intestinal flora.
Indispensable during a vacation can be anti-diarrheal medications. The most common one is Loperamide. Loperamide can be purchased at local pharmacies under the name Imodium.
But if diarrhea is caused by consuming contaminated food, leading to a gastrointestinal infection, then medications with antimicrobial action are necessary.
In Indonesia, such medications are sold under the trade names Nifudar, Nifural, Sanfuro, and Fuzide.
7. Cold medications
It's quite challenging to imagine catching a cold on such a hot island like Bali. However, you can still get one by seeking refuge from the heat under air conditioning or traveling in the rain, especially in mountainous areas, or riding a bike at night in light clothing. And if you happen to ride a bike in the mountains in the rain, it's guaranteed – a "hello cold" for the delicate constitution!
Medicines containing Paracetamol with excipients will help against colds and fevers. In Indonesia, medications for colds can be found under the names Bodrex, Fluxedin, and Paramex Flu.
Medications for local treatment of nasal congestion with vasoconstrictive action are recommended to be used as needed, following the instructions and not exceeding 5–7 days.
In Indonesia, a medication called Otrivin is sold.
8. Remedies for ear infections
Surfers who spend long and enjoyable hours in the water often encounter the problem of ear pain or ear infections. To address this issue, medications with antibacterial, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties can be helpful. In Indonesia, you can purchase Otopain, Otopraf, and Nelicort for this purpose.
9. Remedies for cystitis for women
Long stays in the ocean, swimming in pools, and sitting on a cold and wet pool edge can lead to cystitis. Therefore, women heading to Bali can be advised to include in their first aid kit medications such as Fosfomycin (Monural) or pipemidic acid (Palin). In Indonesia, Fosfomycin is sold under the name Monuril, and pipemidic acid can be found under the names Urinter and Urixin.
To avoid exacerbating chronic conditions, avoid getting too cold in the local water while swimming. For chronic urogenital tract conditions, it's better to swim for no more than 10–15 minutes (and not stand in the water!). It's important to follow this rule: after swimming, remove your swimsuit or trunks rather than letting them dry on your body under clothing.
10. Additional tools and tools
Take scissors, tweezers, bandages, sterile wipes, regular and antibacterial adhesive plasters, and a digital thermometer in a case just in case. Of course, if needed, you can purchase all of these items at a pharmacy in Indonesia.
1. If you are traveling with a child, ensure that necessary medications are available in pediatric doses as well.
2. Even if you have all the necessary medications with you, refrain from self-medication. Always read the instructions, the list of contraindications, and potential side effects before using any medication. If symptoms persist despite self-treatment, it's advisable to consult a local doctor.
3. Don't forget to bring medications for existing chronic conditions. Hypertensive individuals should always have medications to lower blood pressure, asthmatics should carry drugs to relieve attacks, and diabetics should have blood sugar-lowering tablets. Those prone to herpes outbreaks may find antiviral creams containing acyclovir useful.
4. In the luggage compartment of the plane, you can carry many medications, except for those with psychotropic and narcotic effects (both synthetic and natural, containing codeine, amphetamines, neuroleptics, tranquilizers, phenobarbital, anesthesia drugs, and centrally acting muscle relaxants).
5. If you are carrying potent medications on board that you may need during the flight, it's essential to have the following documents for them:
a doctor's certificate stating that the medication is prescribed to you;
a prescription for the medication on a medical form;
a receipt for the medication (which confirms the legality of the purchase).
6. You cannot transport drugs with expired or expiring dates.
Where to buy medicines?
1) It's best to purchase medicines in Bali from the Kimia Farma pharmacy network or from a pharmacy with the word "Apotek" in its name on Google Maps. Just type in the word "Apotek" on Google, and it will show you the nearest pharmacies.
2) Medications are also available in Guardian and Watson chain stores. However, they often offer more expensive analogs and may try to sell vitamins or dietary supplements instead of medications.
3) Basic medications can also be bought in convenience stores like Alfamart, Indomaret, Minimart, Cirkle-K, in the section dedicated to medicines.
4) Additionally, if you install the Go Life extension in the Go Jek app, you can order medicines with home delivery. Another excellent website for a pharmacy network, with most pharmacies operating 24/7 and offering home delivery, is https://www.k24klik.com/
In general, it's better to take care of your body, strengthen your immune system, and defeat illnesses before they even think about coming to you. Be healthy!