WORST CASE SCENARIO
LIZ CONNOR asks health experts to share their must-pack items so that you can be prepared for any holiday health crisis
NOW that summer has finally arrived, many of us are clocking off from work and jetting off to sunnier climates, for a welldeserved break by the beach or pool. When it comes to packing for a summer holiday however, we all remember the wardrobe essentials – bikinis, flip-flops and beach cover-ups. But what about first aid and healthcare essentials?
Here, we asked a range of health experts to tell us about the products they think every traveller should have in their suitcase ....
1. BEAT THE BURN
WHEN it’s sunny outside, it’s tempting to throw on your swimmers and head straight for the pool, but spare a thought for your skin.
While an appropriate amount of sun is good for us (as it creates vitamin D), too much time in the sun’s rays can cause sunburn, skin cancer and premature ageing – so protecting your skin is paramount.
Lloydspharmacy pharmacist Matt Courtney-smith advises: “Sun protection is essential, and you should wear it every day to help protect against UV rays.”
When buying sunscreen, he suggests looking for a factor of at least 15 to protect against UVB and at least four-star UVA protection.
“Besides UVA and UVB rays, infrared-a radiation within the sun’s rays can also cause damage to the skin in a similar way to that of UV radiation,” he adds. “There are sun creams available that provide protection against UVA, UVB and Infrared-a radiation.”
If you are travelling by plane, remember to pack travel-sized sun protection, as liquids can be no more than 100ml. A further tip? “You should check your sun cream is within date, and you shouldn’t use sun cream which is over two to three years old,” Matt adds.
2. EASE ACHY JOINTS WITH NATURAL RELIEF
“A LONG journey which restricts movement can cause pain, and when it starts during travel this can become very uncomfortable,” says GP Dr Paul Stillman.
Frequent movement is important – like getting up and stretching your legs on an aeroplane.
Dr Stillman says: “The sensation of increasing pain when you’re unable to do anything about it is unpleasant, so keep appropriate medication with you and even anticipate the journey by taking a dose before the start; pack any you need in your hand luggage and check if you need a doctor’s letter [before flying].”
You could also try a natural pain relief product like Flexiqule Natural Joint Support (£16.99, Lloydspharmacy), a joint care supplement containing the active ingredients gingerol and boswellia, which may be helpful for reducing inflammation.
3. REHYDRATION SACHETS FOR TRAVEL TUMMY
IT’S hard to relax on holiday if you’re constantly running to the toilet, but stomach ache and digestive upsets can often hit travellers – usually because they’re exposed to unfamiliar food and germs.
Matt explains: “Diarrhoea is one of the most common illnesses to experience when travelling, so much so that you may have heard it referred to as ‘travellers’ diarrhoea’.
“It can be caused by a number of germs, the most common being E.coli and salmonella (found in contaminated foods).
It can also be caused by a parasite such as Giardia, which is found in contaminated water.”
Salts and fluids that are essential to the body’s healthy functioning are lost after diarrhoea, so Matt says it’s important to drink water mixed with rehydration sachets, which replace any lost salts and electrolytes.
4. TREAT FEET WITH HEEL BALM
“WEARING thin-soled, unsupportive shoes like summery flip-flops creates stresses on the foot that increase the creation of hard skin,” podiatrist Emma Supple warns. Wearing mules or slingback shoes can also create a ‘slapping’ of the feet onto the shoes, that again creates calluses and dry skin.
“Keeping skin well-moisturised with the daily application of a good quality urea-based foot balm is a really great habit to get into because your skin is a marvel and when well nourished, can fix its own problems.
It [diarrohea] can be caused by a number of germs, the most common being E.coli and salmonella (in contaminated food) Lloydspharmacy pharmacist Matt Courtney-smith
“It is damaged skin, infected skin and under-pressure skin that causes painful areas, whether that is in the form of blisters, corns or calluses,” adds Emma.”
5. BEAT JET LAG WITH A SLEEP SUPPLEMENT
WE all know that jet lag can be awful. You arrive in paradise, only to spend the first few days struggling to stay awake. Sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan suggests it’s a case of mind over matter, believing that a little self-suggestion can go a long way. “Tell yourself that you’ve woken up, you’ve slept and you’re going to feel fine and have a good day. This way you’re less likely to see any negative impacts,” she says.
“There are techniques that can be used to get back to sleep, including taking a supplement such as Benenox Overnight Recharge (£9.99, Boots), which can help settle your nervous system,” she adds.
6. MANAGE BUG BITES WITH ANTIHISTAMINES
ALTHOUGH not usually serious, insect bites are a nuisance and can cause itchy, sore skin.
“Bites can cause a range of symptoms, including a red, swollen lump on the skin and itchiness,” explains Matt. “Some people may have a mild allergic reaction to a bite, and this can cause it to become swollen.”
In these cases, he advises you seek advice from your pharmacist, and arrange a GP appointment if your pharmacist recommends.
“For milder symptoms, an antihistamine cream (such as Anthisan Bite and Sting Cream, £3.99, Lloydspharmacy) can help soothe itchiness caused by bites.”
Be choosy about Sun protection
Left to right: Insect bites and jet lag can ruin any holiday