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What to Pack to Stay Health and Safe

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 26 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Holiday First Aid Safety First Aid Kit

When you pack to go on holiday, the last thing you want to think about is getting ill while you're abroad. It can and does happen though, so be prepared for all health eventualities...

Which Medicines Should I Take?

If you take any prescription medicines, make sure that you have enough with you to see you through the trip, and when you get home too. It's also worth getting a prescription that you can use if you lose your drugs, although if you follow advice and keep them in your hand luggage at all times, you can reduce the risk of that happening.

Take pharmacy medicines for everyday health niggles such as thrush, indigestion, constipation or migraine, which can be triggered by heat, rich food, changes in routine or a stressful journey.If you're going somewhere exotic make sure that you take anti malarial drugs with you.

For The First Aid Kit

You'll need an emergency stash of painkillers - whatever you usually take, pack some in your hand luggage just in case. Be aware that some countries have restrictions on taking codeine in and out of the country, and may ask for a doctor's note or even confiscate them. Whatever you take with you, you might also consider taking a soluble version for really bad mornings.

Insect repellent - you'll need to pop some in the first aid kit no matter where you go. There are some very clever sunscreens which contain repellent, or you can use strips, roll on gels, sprays or patches to try and keep the little biters away.

If you missed a bit with the bug repellent - you'll need some insect bite cream for the area they managed to get onto and bite! Try an anti-histamine or itch-relieving cream, and pack some anti-histamine pills as well in case the bite causes a nasty reaction.

Holiday tummy remedies - if you get hit with a bout of diarrhoea and/or vomiting, drink lots of fluids, take rehydration powders, and try a fast acting diarrhoea remedy to restore full health as soon as possible.

If anyone in your party suffers from travel sickness, don't forget the travel pills. Some of them work fast and you can take them while you're travelling, but others need to be taken well in advance so check the packet before you leave.

Don't forget the first aid basics - an antiseptic cream, and some plasters!

Sun, Sea, and Sunburn

Avoid coming home with a sore reminder of your holiday and make sure you pack plenty of high factor sunscreens. It's advisable to use sun block on the delicate skin of your face, and sensitive areas. Cover any moles with sun block and then slap on high factor sunscreen everywhere else for good sun safety.

If you didn't quite manage full coverage with the sunscreen and you end up sore and grumpy, some after sun lotion will take the sting out of the sunburn. It won't reverse the damage though - keep applying the lotion and make sure the area is kept well moisturised to avoid blistering and peeling.

Safe Sex

It goes without saying but you should always practice safe sex on holiday. Don't compromise your health by having unprotected sex, and make sure you pack enough condoms. Remember that if you get hit with holiday tummy, the contraceptive pill could be affected, and so you'll need to use condoms for up to 14 days.

You could consider taking an emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill) with you just in case a condom breaks or you do have unsafe sex. They can be difficult to obtain abroad, and this (albeit expensive) precaution could at least ensure that you don't come back from holiday with a more lasting reminder of your trip...

Make sure that you have everything that's absolutely essential, and definitely anything you can't get over the counter, with you in your hand luggage. Hopefully you won't need most of the remedies or first aid items you pack - but it's better to be safe than sorry...

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