●● WITH Dr Jennifer Lawn, GP with Toft Road Surgery, Knutsford, and governing body member of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). WHILE many of us are excitedly packing our suitcases for our upcoming summer holiday, I would like to remind you of the importance of staying safe while travelling abroad.
If you are travelling to exotic locations, it is important to plan any vaccinations needed with your GP in advance of your holiday.
Indeed, if you are going to some more unusual destinations, especially Africa and Asia, you may need to plan vaccinations up to three months in advance.
Surprisingly, almost one in four of us don’t have vaccinations against life-threatening diseases, despite travelling to destinations where illnesses such as malaria and yellow fever are the norm.
Should you require a vaccination, your GP will provide you with updated information.
Sunburn greatly increases your risk of developing skin cancer later in life, and is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays.
While we wish to make the most of the sunny weather, I recommend keeping out of the sun when it is at its hottest, between 11am and 3pm.
When in the sunlight, remember to continually apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
After taking a dip in the pool, always reapply sunscreen, even when using one that claims to be ‘waterproof’.
I suggest applying after-sun and taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if you have suffered sunburn.
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 flip flops.
If you are currently on medication, make sure you have enough for the duration of your travels and do keep your medicines in their original container with your prescription at hand.
May I also remind you of the importance of applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when travelling to European destinations.
The card entitles you to free healthcare in Europe for up to five years.
Visit ehicdirect.org.uk for information.
Taking a little time to plan for a safe and healthy holiday will ensure that your vacation is a time to remember – not one you would rather forget!
●● Dr Jennifer Lawn