When travelling to certain destinations around the world, we recommend packing a sterile needle kit. Sterile needle kits are designed to be used by trained medical professionals and should be on your packing list if you’re travelling to developing countries and remote areas. In these destinations sterile medical equipment may be hard to come by or the quality of the medical equipment in may be questionable. While sterile needle kits are more of a ‘just in case’ item, it’s really the same principal as having travel insurance, you’ll hopefully never need to use it, but it’s always good to have that peace of mind that it’s there!
What is a Sterile Needle Kit Used For?
Sterile needle kits contain a selection of needles and syringes, which can be handed to a medical professional should you need emergency medical treatment when travelling. In many African and Asian countries, the risk of HIV and Hepatitis B means that you should always travel with a sterile needle kit. Having your own sterile needles and syringes to hand to a doctor will prevent you being treated with contaminated equipment and contracting diseases such as HIV through the use of contaminated needles. The needles in sterile needle kits use a globally recognised colour coding system, so medical professionals all around the world will know which type of needle to use.
What Does a Sterile Needle Kit Contain?
Just what a sterile needle kit contains can vary on the type of kit you buy. The basic needle kits normally contain a selection of colour coded hypodermic needles, a couple of syringes and some pre-injection swabs to clean and sterilise the area before injections. You’d be most likely to use these in an outpatient capacity, for injections, blood tests and dental work. The needles & syringes which are normally included in a basic sterile needle kit are:
0.6x32mm – Blue (23G)
0.5x25mm – Orange (25G)
0.8x38mm – Green (21G)
1.1 x 38mm – White (19G)
The more comprehensive sterile needle kits would most likely be used on longer trips or if you were admitted to hospital when travelling. These kits will contain the hypodermic needles you’d get in a more basic sterile needle kit, but you’d get a larger quantity of each one. You also tend to get more of the larger sized syringes included, as these can be used for administering larger quantities of medication. Comprehensive sterile kits can also contain other medical equipment such as a scalpel, dental needles, wound closure strips and an IV Cannula for administering fluids, medication and blood, should you require an emergency blood tranfusion. Sutures are often included too, which help to ensure that a clean and sterile needle is used should you require stitches during your trip.
Do I Need Dental Needles Too?
As toothache and dental complaints are so common, you’ll probably find you’re more likely to have a dental issue when travelling than need an injection or blood transfusion! Dental needle kits are another option for travellers and contain items such as dental needles, clove oil, syringes and temporary filling cement. These can be handed to a dentist abroad to ensure you’re treated with sterile equipment should you require dental treatment when travelling.
When Would I Need to Use a Sterile Needle Kit?
It can be difficult to imagine when you might actually need to use a sterile needle kit when travelling, so here are some scenarios where you’d find yourself in need of one…
Scenario 1: You’re volunteering in a village in Africa, helping to build a new school…One day you manage to cut yourself and need a tetanus injection.
Scenario 2: You fall ill during your trip and have an undiagnosed illness, the Doctor wants to perform a blood test to determine the cause.
Scenario 3: You’re in a car accident and you’re admitted to hospital. You may need to be hooked up to an IV drip and syringes may be used to administer medication.
Scenario 4: You’re travelling and make a last minute decision to travel to a destination that requires a vaccination you haven’t had, so you have to visit a clinic for this in a developing country.
Where Might I Need a Sterile Needle Kit?
- In remote areas and villages, where medical supplies may be limited or of a questionable quality.
- South & Central America