Ever spent the best part of your holiday looking for a chemist? Minor illness and injuries can wreck a holiday – even a blister on your heel or queasy tummy can take its toll when you want to spend your time relaxing and enjoying yourself, so don’t take any chances and before you go, put together a basic first aid kit to treat any holiday illness or mishap.
Here are some of the basics of a holiday first aid kit, which will not take up too much space or weight allowance.
Painkillers are the obvious addition to a holiday first-aid kit – but if you suffer from the heat, it is better to keep your head covered and stay in the shade rather than having to treat a headache from too much sun, which can be dangerous.
Sickness and diarrhea are the symptoms most holidaymakers dread the most as these can wreck a holiday. Pack some domperidone tablets to treat sickness and loperamide tablets like Immodium to treat diarrhoea symptoms fast.
Stomach cramps can be very debilitating with sickness and diarrhea – ginger capsules from the health food store can be made into a tea with hot water to help treat stomach cramps, but do not take ginger with blood pressure treatments like Warfarin and check with your GP if you are already on medication.
Keeping hands clean is vital on holiday, so take antibacterial wipes with you and also use these for cleaning cutlery or the rims of glasses and cups – as well as loo seats.
Blisters can forms quickly in the heat, as feet swell up – and even the most comfortable shoes can chafe if sand gets into them. Pack large plasters which will adhere better than small strips – and also a roll of sticking plaster, which can be cut to size.
Bandages are a good idea for your kit – your local chemist will stock a range of bandages, so ask for a bandage that could be used to support a sprained wrist or to bandage a limb until medical help can be obtained — pack safety pins in the hold luggage to secure the bandages.
Remember to take scissors and carry these in your main suitcase in the hold, rather than hand luggage.
Tweezers are also a good idea to remove splinters and stings – but never insert tweezers into eyes or ears.
Cotton buds are also a good idea for gentle cleaning of eyes and ears – but remember doctors always say nothing more significant than an elbow should ever be placed into an ear, so take extreme care if drying ears or cleaning grit out of eyes or ears with a cotton bud. Eyes are best gently rinsed in plenty of cold water to clean them and remove dust, etc.
Antihistamine creams and tablets are also a good idea to treat stings, rashes, and hay fever – ask for non-drowsy antihistamine tablets.
Liquid antiseptic like TCP cannot only treat spots, stings, and cuts and grazes – it can also be used diluted for sore throats and coughs. Take some cotton wool balls to apply it and always use TCP and other antiseptics diluted, as these can sting and even burn delicate areas like the face if applied neat to spots and rashes.
It is essential to drink plenty of water on holiday, but many holidaymakers become dehydrated and can develop cystitis or urinary infections. These will usually need treatment and a course of antibiotics, but take some cranberry teabags or cystitis powders containing in case of emergency.
Men and children can develop cystitis, too, but many over-the-counter treatments cannot be used by men or children – or pregnant or breastfeeding women – so medical help should be sought in these cases, or if symptoms of cystitis do not improve within 24 hours. Here is an A-Z checklist of your holiday first aid kit:
- Antibacterial hand wipes
- Antihistamine cream and non drowsy tablets
- Aspirin or paracetamol
- Cranberry teabags for urinary infections
- Cotton buds
- Cotton wool
- Cystitis treatment (not for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women, men or children)
- Domperidone for sickness and vomiting
- Ginger capsules to make a tea for coughs, sickness and stomach cramps (not for use with blood pressure medications)
- Loperamide for diarrhoea
- Plasters and strip of sticking plaster
- Safety pins (for bandages – pack in hold luggage)
- Scissors (pack in hold luggage)
- Tweezers (pack in hold luggage)
You can tailor the above to your own needs, of course – but remember to seek medical help if symptoms of any illness grow worse after 24 hours or are severe or unusual (eg watery diarrhoea, dehydration, dizziness).
Pack your first aid kit – and have a happy and healthy holiday!
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