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Doc's Advice

April 26, 1998

Regarding the "Traveler's Essential Medicine Chest" (March 29): It's impossible to make up a perfect kit, and author Kathleen Doheny does an admirable job. But as a longtime emergency physician, there are some helpful comments I'd like to make.

1. Avoid antibiotic ointments containing neomycin because of frequent allergic reactions to it.

2. Certain chemical-type cold packs have been injurious, and plain ice is preferable (remember, 20 minutes per hour, not longer).

3. Snakebite kits have to be used in the first five minutes after the bite. They remove only 20% of the venom, and there are cases of blood vessel and nerve damage from over-zealous slashing. I would not use one.

4. Cipro is an excellent multipurpose antibiotic, but I would take Floxin, 300-milligram tabs, with me, as it covers more infectious disease situations. Review this with your doctor before you travel.


Santa Barbara

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