A Kilimanjaro medical kit
According to Hans Meyer, the Chagga treated their cuts and scars with the liberal application of cow dung. We advise you don’t; instead take a medical kit with you onto the mountain – as few agencies, at least at the budget end, will have one. In theory many of the mountain huts have first-aid kits, but 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.
- Rehydrating powders Such as Diarolyte. Usually prescribed to people suffering from diarrhoea but 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. 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. 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.