Daniel Susco
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You’ll Want to Build This Illness Driving Kit Before You Actually Need It

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Traveling when you are sick is never a fun experience, but sometimes it is unavoidable. For example, you might catch the flu on the last day of a vacation, you might eat something bad while traveling, or you may have a chronic illness or disorder such as Crohn’s Disease (like I do) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

This kit is intended to provide support for traveling with the aforementioned problems, and is based on items I wished that I had during some of the several illness-plagued road trips I have taken. If you are at all worried about travel, you should contact a doctor (which I am not) for medical advice or treatment (as which none of this should be misconstrued).


Pre-Road-Trip Tasks: Make sure your car is ready for the road before you leave


Motion Sickness Reaction Kit

Many of the items that can help you deal with sickness on the road are covered by the carsickness reaction kit that we talked about before, but to save you from flipping between pages, this includes bags to throw up into (could be large Ziploc bags, airplane bags, or emesis bags), paper towels, sanitizing wet wipes, hand sanitizer, water, and Gatorade.

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Medications

This means both any prescribed medications and over-the counter drugs that can help. In addition to prescription drugs, also pack some antacids (my favorites are the smooth kind) and any pain medicines/fever reducers. Just be careful if your pain is caused by Crohn’s or IBS—ibuprofen and aspirin can sometimes make pain worse.

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Reusable Hand Warmers and a Blanket

These gel-filled packets undergo a chemical reaction when you snap the disc inside that gives off heat. This can be especially helpful if your muscles are sore or spasming, such as if you have been vomiting or if your digestive system is cramping. Just be sure to put some sort of cloth between your skin and the warmer. Once you are home, you just boil the hand warmers for 10-15 minutes, let cool, and you are good to go again.

A blanket is just as good to help keep warm, particularly if you become feverish. This is also a good idea to have in the car on general principle in case of breakdowns.

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Toilet needs

Through a lot of the country, you aren’t more than a few miles and a handy exit from a gas station with bathroom facilities. However, sometimes the space between highway exits in more remote areas makes the idea of trying to hold it in unattractive and downright impossible.

Here, the backwoods camping community is your friend, as there are many kits and bags to let you do your business without a bathroom, from simple “wag bags” to more high-tech flushing camp toilets. Most of these can be safely thrown away or flushed at the next opportunity, although you should research what is best to do with your particular product before just tossing it in the nearest dumpster. Use whatever makes you comfortable. Just be certain to thoroughly clean yourself and anything that comes in contact with the toilet product.

In addition, be sure to bring toilet paper and flushable moist wipes–aside from any needs you may have using a camp toilet, you can’t assume that every bathroom along the road will be well stocked or clean.

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Sweatpants and spare underwear

If you were to use any of the items already mentioned, it seems fair to say that you will most likely be very uncomfortable, and tight clothes like jeans can just make the discomfort worse.

The spare pair of underwear is pretty self-explanatory.

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Air freshener

This could take the form of a number of things. Some people advise deodorizing spray (something without a lot of perfumes that could aggravate allergies), while others just advise a good old box of baking soda, and others like the one in the image above advocate soaking a clothespin in essential oils and clipping it to your car vent.

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Once You Feel Better: Here are some tips on getting that car nice and clean


News Sources: New Zealand Department of Conservation, Everyday Health, John Hopkins Medicine, CrohnsDisease.com, ProbeAroundtheGlobe.com

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Daniel Susco is a native of the Dayton-Cincinnati area, and has written on a multitude of subjects. He can discuss Shakespeare, expound on Classical Mythology, and even make witty jokes about Pliny the Elder (More like “Pliny the Rounder,” right?). In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, cooking, woodworking, and long walks on the beach (just kidding – sunburn is no joke). See more articles by Daniel.