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 Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) 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 Salma Reehana, Chair of NHS Wolverhampton CCG, said:
“Nothing will ruin your holiday faster than feeling unwell or having an accident. So, ensure that your medical kit is your top priority when packing your suitcase. A kit with essential items such as painkillers, anti-diarrhoea tablets, antihistamines, antiseptic cream, plasters and dressings is just as important as packing your favourite sunglasses and flip flops.
“If you take regular medicines on prescription, it’s important that you have enough medication to cover your holiday period. Carrying all medicines in their original container with labels intact, and a copy of your prescription written by your doctor at all times is also a must.
“Wherever you plan to go away, it's vital to have the right travel insurance. Make sure your policy covers your destination and the duration of your stay, as well as any specific activities you might do. It’s also important to remember to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card if you are going to Europe.”