A Kilimanjaro medical kit

If you’re wondering whether to pack a medical kit for Kilimanjaro, well we think it’s a good idea. Indeed, if you’re planning on trekking with a budget company, we think it could be essential. Why? Well, according to Hans Meyer, the Chagga treated their cuts and scars with the liberal application of cow dung.

But we advise you don’t. Instead, take a proper medical kit with you onto the mountain. Because few agencies at the budget end will have one.

In theory many of the mountain huts at the campsites have first-aid kits. But we still advise you to take one anyway. Just to be on the safe side; for you never know what they’ll have, how old it will be or how far you’ll be from the nearest station when you need help.

A medical kit for Kilimanjaro

A medical kit to take with you up Kilimanjaro should include the following:

  • Antiseptic cream For small cuts and grazes.
  • Plasters Ditto.
  • Bandages Useful for twists and sprains as well as for larger flesh wounds.
  • Compeed For blisters.
  • Elastic knee supports For steeper gradients, particularly if you have knee problems.
  • Anti-malarials Though you’re highly unlikely to catch malaria on the mountain (you’ll be above the anopheles mosquito’s maximum altitude for nearly all the trek), if you’re on a course of anti-malarials you should continue taking them.
  • Ibuprofen/Aspirin/Paracetamol Or other painkillers, though do read the discussion on AMS in this website and the medical indications in the packet before scoffing these.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate The active ingredient in Pepto-bismol, which could be useful for settling upset stomachs.
  • Imodium Stops you going when you don’t want to go, which could come in handy.
  • Insect repellent Useful on the first and last day, though above the tree-line the climate is too cold for most insects to survive.
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  • Rehydrating powders Such as Diarolyte. These are usually suggested to people suffering from diarrhoea. But they’re useful after a hot day’s trekking as well.
  • Lip salve or chapstick/vaseline Useful for that nighttime haul to the summit, where the wind will rip the skin from your lips.
  • Throat pastilles Useful, as the dry, dusty air causes many a sore throat.
  • Any current medication you are on Bring with you all your needles, pills, lotions, potions and pungent unguents.
  • Diamox Diamox is the brand name for Acetazolamide, the drug that fights AMS and which many people use prophylactically on Kilimanjaro. In order to help you decide whether you want to bring some of these with you, visit our Diamox webpage.
  • Sterile needles If you are having an injection in Tanzania, insist that the doctor uses your new needles. Then carry everything in a waterproof bag or case, and keep at least the emergency stuff in your daypack – where hopefully it will lie undisturbed for the trek’s duration.

Carry everything in a waterproof bag or case, and keep at least the emergency stuff in your daypack – where hopefully it will lie undisturbed for the trek’s duration.

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