My Hospital Go-Bag

Last updated: December 2022

If you have any kind of chronic illness, you know that your symptoms can turn on a dime. You can be fine one minute and on your way to the emergency room the next. I have found that having a hospital go-bag is one of the best ways that I can prepare for the unexpected. And let me tell you, it came in handy this week when I was admitted to the hospital following a severe asthma attack. I want to share some of the things I keep in my hospital bag and a few items that pertain specifically to asthma-related admissions.

The basics

Just like packing for any kind of trip, a stay at the hospital requires a few staples. I always start with a couple of pairs of pajamas, undergarments, and an outfit to wear home from the hospital.

Next is toiletries. Most hospitals provide basic toiletries, but I would always rather have my own. You can bring a toothbrush and toothpaste, or I like to bring those little disposable toothbrushes that already have paste in the brush. I’m a contact wearer, so I make sure to have an extra case and contact solution. If you wear daily contacts, be sure to throw a couple of pairs into your bag. I also bring a pair of glasses with me. Nowadays, you can get inexpensive pairs online, so I have some that are specifically for my hospital bag.

I’m not much for showering unless it’s a long stay, but I do bring face and body wipes, deodorant, and an extra hair tie. Bring shampoo, conditioner, and body wash if that suits you.

Activities

I always try to bring a few things with me to occupy my time while I’m in the hospital. I don’t use my iPad much at home, so I keep it in my hospital bag, along with extra charging cords. You never know where the outlets are going to be in the hospital, so I bring a ten-foot charging cable with me.

I also keep some crossword puzzles, sudoku, and word finds in my bag. I found these really cool paint-by-sticker books that are super easy and fun to do. And I always bring a little notepad so I can write down questions or concerns while I’m in the hospital.

I can sometimes get pretty anxious when I’m at the hospital, so I keep a few fidget toys in my bag so that my hands can have something to do.

Snacks are also a must. The nursing staff usually has access to a small selection of snacks, but most of them are not very healthy, and if you have any kind of diet restriction, you might not be able to have them anyway. I keep some peanut butter crackers and fruit pouches in my bag.

Asthma necessities in my hospital go-bag

There are a few things I have found to be particularly helpful when I’m in the hospital with an asthma attack. I don’t know about you, but breathing treatments really dry out my mouth and make my throat sore. I keep a stash of cough drops to use throughout my stay. My favorite brand is Luden’s, and I could eat the watermelon-flavored ones like candy, and sometimes I do!

Absorbent underwear or pads. Now, hear me out on this one. I know for me personally, when I’m in the middle of a bad attack, coughing is pretty uncontrollable. And when you have additional fluids coming in, that’s recipe for disaster! It might seem embarrassing, but I would rather use something absorbent that can be changed frequently than be constantly wetting myself by coughing so hard.

Moisture, moisture, moisture

My final piece of advice is to moisturize! Hospitals are kept cool and dry, which can be irritating for people with asthma who are prone to allergies and eczema. As such, I make sure that I have all of my bases covered. I bring a small container of super moisturizing lotion, a good tube of chapstick, and some rewetting eye drops. Side note: if you have super sensitive skin or any kind of adhesive allergy, find tape products that work for you and keep a stash of that in your bag as well. I’m very sensitive to adhesives, so I keep a roll of tape and some IV dressing that doesn’t irritate my skin.

My hospital go-bag checklist:

  • Two or three sets of pajamas or nightgowns
  • Outfit to wear home
  • Undergarments
  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Absorbent underwear/pads
  • Eye care
  • Extra pair of glasses
  • Extra contacts
  • Contact case
  • Contact solution
  • Rewetting drops
  • Face wipes
  • Body wipes
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and paste, or Wisps
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick
  • Entertainment
  • Fidget toys
  • Snacks
  • Cough Drops
  • Phone charger with extra long cable
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs

If you use a CPAP or BiPAP at home, throw in an old mask so you don’t have to use what the hospital provides.

What asthma necessesities are in your hospital go-bag?

Do you have a hospital go-bag? What do you keep in it? Did I miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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