We carry a basic first aid kit for the group however there are items which you should bring to treat minor ailments or irritations. The major area of concern is your feet. Ensure you have a comfortable pair of walking boots and good thick socks (bring a couple of pair of thin socks as they can be worn with the thick ones to prevent blisters). Each night you will have the opportunity to thoroughly wash and dry your feet. It is then a good idea to give them a liberal covering of tinea or anti fungal powder to dry them out during the night. Next morning it is advisable to give them a liberal coating of Vaseline. We recommend tea tree antiseptic oil or cream to treat any minor scratches or bites you might have. The best protection against malaria is to avoid being bitten. Mosquitoes are not a major problem on the Kokoda Track because of the altitude. Nevertheless they are about. We therefore advise you to wear long sleeved shirts and apply ‘Rid’ mosquito repellent to any exposed areas of skin whenever you stop and rest. Blisters should not be a problem if you have good boots and have broken them in properly. Even so it is a wise precaution to have a blister kit with you. The Spenko blister kit contains a soothing ‘second skin’ and is highly recommended.
We recommend you bring the following in your personal first-aid kit.
- Anti malarial tablets (as prescribed by your doctor)
- Antihistamine (such as Benadryl)-useful as a decongestant for colds, allergies, or ease the itch from insect bites or stings.
- Anti-inflammatory tablets (as prescribed by your doctor)
- Antibiotic eye and ear drops
- Antiseptic –Antibiotic cream or powder– for cuts and scratches
- Anti Fungal Powder
- Calamine lotion – to ease irritation from bites or stings.
- Imodium or Lomotil – for stomach upsets
- Amoxolin, Keflex, stemitol antibiotics
- Rehydration mixture – for dehydration, especially that caused by severe diarrhea
- Aquim Antibacterial Gel
- Canistene Antiseptic Liquid
- Canasten (ladies)
- Salt tablets for those that know they sweat a lot.
- Vaseline/Paw Paw cream or similar for chafing
- Insect repellant (Rid) (no aerosol cans please)
- Staminade (only enough for 2tbls per day-in zip lock bag)
- One packet of glucose tablets
- Two (2) Dr Scholl or Spenko blister packs
- Two (2) Rolls of broad elasticated bandage
- Two rolls of Leukoplast waterproof elastoplast (5 cm X 5 m)
- Band-Aids (waterproof)
- Panadol Forte/Aspirin tablets/capsules
- Codral cold and flu tablets
- Scissors, tweezers, and safety pins
- Water Purification Tablets
- One ankle and knee guard
Important: Trekkers must purify their water
All our guides are highly qualified in First Aid. They either are Wilderness First Aid Certificated or Flight Para Medics. They will apply emergency first aid when required.
Trekkers also need to know how to look after themselves using their own personal first aid kit.
Feet: Most important, if a trekkers is unable to walk due to blisters then they will have to be medivaced off the track. This is so preventable. When you arrive in PNG you may find that your feet will swell due to the heat. This may cause hot spots/friction blisters. STOP immediately and attend to this. Do not leave it until you get into camp, it will be too late.
All trekkers should know how to:
- Apply band aids/blister pack
- Appropriate management of blisters. (your guide will have suggestions)
- Cuts and scratches
- Applying antiseptic Cream or Powder
- Strap ankles/knees
Blisters: Highly effective method for preventing blisters is in the morning prior to putting on your socks cover your feet in vaseline. This will help prevent friction; we have always used this along Kokoda and never had a blister.
As soon as you get into camp in the evenings take off your boots and let your feet enjoy the fresh air. Every evening before getting into your sleeping bag dry your feet off and rub in foot powder. In the morning put on dry socks. If your boots are wet please give them to the boys and they will attempt to dry them overnight for you.
The first sign of blisters will be redness over the skin, possibly at the back of the heel, the instep or toes.
Apply a second skin dressing or blister plaster, tape the affected area.
Ensure the feet are dry and change socks, not possible if during the day.
When should you pop blisters? For larger blisters or those which are causing problems, it may be necessary to pop them. Popping blisters should be done with caution, following these guidelines.
Make a small hole at the edge with a sterilised pin or needle, particularly if the blister is on a weight bearing surface. A pin can be sterilised by passing it through a flame.
Do not drain a blood filled blister.
Drain the fluid but leave as much of the skin as possible covering the wound. This is an important protective layer for the underlying skin and will help to prevent infected blisters.
Clean the blister with a sterilising wipe.
Cover the wound with a second skin or blister plaster – take the time to apply it correctly.
For additional security apply tape over top.
How to get rid of blisters? Blisters will usually just drain and heal on their own. Even if you have had to pop a blister, you should then simply clean the area, cover it to protect it and leave it to heal naturally.
Cuts and Abrasions: Trekkers should know how to treat any cuts, scratches or abrasions. If this occurs along the track please attend to immediately. In the heat and humidity any tiny scratch can become instantly infected.
Clean the wound thoroughly, either with water or saline solution. Dry, then dress the wound with either a sterile pad or antibiotic ointment/powder and cover with gauze and a dressing. Change the dressing every evening after bathing.
Only use antibiotic medications if the wound becomes infected.
Chafing: The heat and humidity and jungle environment can cause chafing, salt build up in your clothing especially between your legs can also cause chafing this is all extremely uncomfortable and painful. Serious cases can also lead to bleeding and skin infections.
Stop immediately and apply an ointment such as Bepanthen or Paw Paw cream. Also apply this in the required areas in the mornings before dressing.