Four Jetsetters’ Medicine Kits

James T. Murray

A peek into the personal travel kits of four frequent fliers.

Lorie Karnath, president, the Explorers Club

Among the rules Karnath adheres to are avoid airplane food and never take sleep aids. “I think you’re better off being a little tired,” she says. “And you can’t be an explorer if you need those things.”

  1. Ace bandage
  2. Iodine tablets for water purification
  3. Antibiotic doxycycline (“for suspicious tick and bug bites and bronchial problems”)
  4. Nasonex for stuffy nose or blocked ears
  5. Band-Aids
  6. Bayer aspirin
  7. Tiger Balm (“good for anything from soreness to insect stings”)
  8. Plain crackers to calm the stomach
  9. Imodium for diarrhea
  10. Medical “sharps” (syringes)
  11. Instant hot and cold compresses

Andrew Heiskell, executive VP, Mutual of America

“My theory,” says Heiskell, “is to pack something for above the waist and something for below the waist.”

  1. Alcohol swabs (“for tableware in establishments of dubious hygiene”)
  2. Eyeglass kit for repairs
  3. Dental cement for replacing fillings
  4. Purell hand sanitizer
  5. Swiss Army knife (“it can double as a great gift”)
  6. Pepto-Bismol
  7. Duct tape for putting pressure on wounds (“friends in the Special Forces assure me it works very well”)
  8. Alka-Seltzer Plus (“for when you’ve been riding on a bus for three days and feel lousy”)
  9. Cherry-flavored cough lozenges
  10. Iodine for skin scrapes and purifying water
  11. Cipro

Paulette Cole, CEO and creative director, ABC Home

“I’m a trooper, but I get sick,” says Cole, who logs countless miles stocking her New York flagship with ecoconscious, socially responsible products. “I’m a vulnerable traveler, always looking at antiques in dusty places or down muddy back roads.”

  1. Insect repellent with DEET (“in places with malaria, though I feel dirty using it”)
  2. Amoxicillin antibiotic tablets
  3. Pulsatilla homeopathic remedy for sinuses
  4. Malarone pills for malaria
  5. Tamiflu to prevent or treat flu
  6. Surgical masks (“when going to Africa and India”)
  7. Arnica cream for sore muscles and bruises

Vishakha Desai, president, Asia Society

“When it’s my time to go, I’ll go,” says Desai, who considers herself a fatalist and uses no inoculations or prophylaxes despite a heavy travel schedule in Asia. “Still, I take fewer chances. I love Indian street food, but now I only eat things cooked in front of my eyes.”

  1. SinuCleanse neti pot for sinuses (“it’s really good but a bit of a hassle”)
  2. Echinacea and vitamin C to boost immune function
  3. Her 95-year-old mother’s homemade ginger candies for stomach upsets and circulation
  4. Tylenol PM as a sleep aid (“just in case”)
  5. Claritin for allergies