First Aid Kit and Medication for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Travelling to a tropical country like the Cook Islands does come with a higher risk of health issues, most commonly, sunburn, heatstroke and mosquito bites. Plus, with many travellers in the Cooks being pretty active, accidents and injuries can happen. With all of this in mind, it’s a good idea to be prepared for minor injuries and illnesses with your own travel first aid kit for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. We go through the essential medication to pack for the Cook Islands in the checklist below.
Before we begin, make sure you pack the other essentials that we list in the 20 Essentials You Need to Pack for the Cook Islands.
5 Essential Health Tips for Travelling in the Cook Islands
- Boiling water before drinking is advised (unless you know your accommodation has a good filtration system). Alternatively use a Lifestraw Bottle
- Speaking of water, be sure to drink plenty – at least 2 litres/68 oz every two to three hours to stay hydrated
- If you’re feeling unwell, be proactive and see a local doctor immediately
- Taking a couple of paracetamol and a nasal decongestion spray 30 minutes before a flight can help with flu-like symptoms and ear pain
- If travelling with an infant, pack your usual brand of baby formula, as a change in diet may lead to bowel complications.
Our final tip is to check out our Cook Islands Safety Tips for much more advice.
Cook Islands Travel First Aid Kit Checklist
Although you can get first aid kits at pretty much any pharmacy, they are pretty generic and often only include enough to deal with a couple of cuts. We like to create our own first aid kit that has been adapted to our destination, in this case, the Cook Islands, and to our personal needs.
Our example Cook Islands first aid kit includes a few prescribed medications, so make sure to book an appointment with your GP and get these prescriptions sorted.
What to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
- Travel passport for a record of your vaccinations
- Band-aids/plasters for cuts
- Disinfectant wipes for cuts
- Gauzes for cuts
- Gloves for cuts
- Antisceptic cream/spray for infected cuts (spray is better for hot climates)
- Tweezers to remove shards, leeches and bugs
- Thermometer to monitor temperature
- Elastic wraps for twisted ankles
- Paracetamol/ibuprofen for headaches and fevers
- Antihistamine pills or cream for mosquito bites
- Oral rehydration sachets (medical electrolytes) for dehydration from the sun or gastro bugs
- Baby electrolytes for dehydration in infants
- Antacids for neutralising stomach acid
- Antidiarrhoeal pills such as loperamide for diarrhoea
- Nasal drops for congestion
- Hydrocortisone cream for allergic rashes
- Aloe vera soothing cream for sunburn
- A copy of the emergency numbers for the Cook Islands – Cook Islands Police & Emergency Number: 999
- Antibiotics if recommended by your GP.
Other Medication and Health Products to Pack for the Cook Islands
While not necessarily needed in your “first aid kit” for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, these other medications and health products are also handy to have with you.
With UV levels of 6-11+ in the Cook Islands, it’s crucial that you protect yourself and your loved ones from sun exposure in order to avoid sunburn or heatstroke. It’s recommended to use at least SPF 30 sunscreen, which should be applied thickly every three hours or soon after going in the water. Be sure to choose a sunscreen that’s safe for marine life in the Cook Islands too. Check out examples of safe sunscreen to use in The Best Sunscreens for the Cook Islands + Sun Protection Tips.
It’s important to avoid mosquito bites in the Cook Islands as much as possible, as mosquito-related diseases like dengue fever and chikungunya do occur. Check out our recommended mosquito repellents in the 10 Eco-Friendly Mosquito Repellents for the Cook Islands. Plus, get more advice for avoiding bites in the 10 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in the Cook Islands.
Iodine (Water-Purifying) Tablets
As a precaution for drinking water from a tap or any other potentially unsafe source, iodine tablets dissolved in water helps remove some bacteria and viruses from the water. This is not 100% effective though so, when possible, boil water for at least 10 minutes before drinking it. Get more tips for finding safe drinking water in Is the Water Safe to Drink in the Cook Islands?
It’s always a good idea to have a spare pair of glasses or spare sets of contact lenses, in case you lose or damage your glasses and/or contact lenses.
The cruises in Rarotonga and Aitutaki are within sheltered lagoons, so most travellers don’t suffer from seasickness. If you are really prone to seasickness or are going out on dive or fishing trips, however, you may want to pack a few seasickness pills so you enjoy the whole trip!
Finally, remember your prescription medication. It’s a good idea to bring medication in the original packaging with the label for who it is prescribed to, just in case you are asked about your medication at the border. As an extra precaution, get your GP/doctor to sign and date a letter describing your medical conditions and medications, including their generic names should you need more prescribed medication while in the Cook Islands (but bring enough for your whole trip and then some).
More Health Tips and What to Pack for the Cook Islands
That’s it for our complete medication packing list for the Cook Islands but by no means the end of our advice! Check out the following guides for more handy advice:
- What to Pack for Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Cook Islands Packing List
- Do You Need Vaccines to Travel to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
- 10 Best Reef-Safe Sunscreens for the Cook Islands
Finally, get more essential tips from the 30 Tips for Travelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands and The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.