As the boy scouts moto goes, ‘Be Prepared’! As the schools break up for the summer many of us are planning to go away on our holidays in the UK or abroad and we want to make sure you only have happy holiday memories and not bad ones by remembering to pack essential medical items.
Make sure you and your family are stocked up with the basic medical essentials to help treat a bout of diarrhoea, tummy upsets or accidents that can spoil your holiday. The timely holiday advice has been issued by NHS Warwickshire North and NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to ensure people have a healthy holiday abroad.
If you are travelling to exotic locations, it is extremely important to find out if you need travel vaccines and make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. If diseases such as malaria are a risk, you may need to start treatment before travelling.
When travelling in Europe, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC, available at https://www.ehic.org.uk, will entitle you to free or reduced-cost medical care. However, it won't cover you for everything that travel insurance can, such as emergency travel back to the UK.
Although holiday health may be one of the last things on people’s minds when packing, a visit to the local pharmacy before heading off either home or abroad should feature in everyone’s preparations.
A basic first aid kit will help with minor ailments, such as stomach upsets, allergies, headaches, sunburn, insect bites, aches and sprains and strains.
The NHS has a really useful interactive first aid kit guide at http://bit.ly/2ILUSdf to help holidaymakers ensure they have everything they need and local pharmacists can also provide excellent advice.
Pack plenty of sunscreen and always pack a high factor and specialist sunscreen for children and babies. Wear suitable clothing and spend time in the shade when the sun's at its hottest. When buying sunscreen, the label should have:
· a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to protect against UVB
· at least four-star UVA protection
UVA protection can also be indicated by the letters "UVA" in a circle, which indicates that it meets the EU standard.
Dr Sarah Raistrick, local GP in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, said: “No one wants to think they will be unwell or have an accident on holiday but it’s best to be prepared and ensure that your medical kit is a top priority when packing your suitcase. A kit with essential items such as painkillers, anti-diarrhoea tablets, antihistamines, antiseptic, plasters and dressings is a must.
“If you take regular prescription medication it’s important that you have enough to cover your holiday period. Carrying all medicines in their original container with labels intact is advisable and for any controlled drugs (certain painkillers for example) also carry a copy of your repeat prescription (the white tear off portion) and be aware of restrictions of certain medication in different countries.”