Summer seems to creep up on us faster and faster every year and if there is something you learnt from your last summer holiday surely it was to be more organised for the next one, right? Well, wherever and whenever you are travelling, the thing to put on top of your to do list of preparations is not packing clothes or exchanging currency; it is assembling your essential health travel kit.
What you take is entirely dependent on the duration and location of your holiday, but when thinking of how much to take do bear in mind the importance of including back-ups. Hopefully you will not need to use all the things we have listed, but it is better to be safe than sorry!
- Antiseptic plasters: For minor injuries such as cuts and grazes in a foreign climate, particularly a climate you are not used to in a different continent, use plasters that contain antiseptic so you not only stop the bleeding but you also prevent infection.
- Antihistamines: If you are going to a hot climate you are more likely to encounter bugs that bite and possibly heat rash. Speak to your local pharmacist about which antihistamines are best to take for where you are going; but be sure to ask for non-sedating pills. You don’t want to sleep your holiday away!
- Insect repellent: Do some research to see if your destination puts you at risk from insects such as mosquitoes. Bear in mind it is not only typically hot climates in which biting insects breed – for example, the north of Scotland has small fly like insects in the summer called midges.
- Condoms: If you are planning on having sexual intercourse on holiday it is always best to pack a supply of condoms from a brand you are familiar with for maximum safety. Condoms marked with IS0 9000 on the packaging have been tested to meet high standards.
- Medication: If you are on medication be sure to ask your doctor for a sufficient supply. Also ask your doctor what precautions you may need to take if you are travelling to a climate you are not used to as this may affect your medical condition. There are also some non-prescription medicines worth taking as a back-up whether you have a medical condition or not. These include laxatives to relieve constipation, oral rehydration solutions should you encounter diarrhoea, and painkillers.
- Sun cream: For the best protection from the sun take a cream which has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. You will also want protection from both UVA and UVB rays so buy a cream that is labelled “broad-spectrum”.
- Razors: Take an adequate supply of shaving razors and also back-ups. You don’t want to buy razors you are not familiar with if you run out. They may lead to skin rash or razor bumps which can be irritated by a hot climate or complicated by insect bites.
Whatever you do, after going to the bother of purchasing and packing all of the above, don’t forget your toothbrush!