Join Date: Jan 2003
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physician opinion 2
As a general guide, only carry the meds you'll need until you can get proper medical attention. Consider your medical kit a means to take care of minor problems, and major problems only until you get to port. It's just too expensive to try to keep a full 10 day course of antibiotics, pain pills, or what not if you're never more than a day's sail from help. If you're heading across the pacific, your needs are much greater.
For pain I bring good old tylenol (also good for fever), aspirin (also important shoud someone have a heart attack), Tramadol, (pretty strong, but not a narcotic), and maybe 10 or so vicodin tablets. This for a month long cruise.
I also bring a variety of over the counter meds for colds, constipation, heartburn, allergies, and such.
I bring several different oral antibiotics for urine, skin, ear, respiratory infections. If I were not a physician, I'd probably only bring one broad spectrum antibiotic that would cover most things (Levofloxacin comes to mind) until I could get to a clinic somewhere and have the lab tests done to make a proper diagnosis.
The only injectable meds I brought on my last cruise was epinepherine for severe allergic reactions and Phenergan for severe nausea & vomiting. If making a major crossing, I'd add a few more things.
More important than a list of meds to go buy is the knowledge to use them properly. So first get the training and read the books that have been written for cruisers on offshore medicine, then decide what you need based upon your trip, the people on your boat, and your ability to use the medication correctly.