Travel healthy with this checklist
It's the middle of school holidays which means that more and more families are packing their bags and heading out on all kinds of trips - some may be simply heading to the seaside while others may be heading abroad. Either way, while you're packing your bags you should take care to make sure you're as prepared as possible for incidents of injury or sickness - especially if you're heading to a country where they speak a different language and sell different kinds of supplies to what you're used to. Here are some things you should try not to forget on your next getaway.
Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you're travelling in the EEA (and in some non EEA countries) this card is important in the event you or someone in your family needs medical attention. With your EHIC you're entitled to the same medical treatment as someone who lives in the country you're visiting - in some cases this means the treatment will be free and in others it will be at a reduced cost. To find out more about the EHIC and how you can apply for your card, visit their website.
Keeping plasters on you at all times is a good idea when on holiday, especially when travelling with children. In addition to patching up cuts and scrapes, they come in handy if you're walking for long periods of time (something we do much of on holiday) and find your shoes rubbing painfully on spots on your feet.
If that painful shoe rubbing has caused blisters, then having some medicated Blister Plasters can be a great relief. They'll reduce pain and promote healing while cushioning sore spots from your shoes.
Keep your cuts and scrapes clean and free from infection by applying an antiseptic cream. It's also good to have in the event of stings or burns.
Bug bites can be a real nuisance. There's nothing worse than spending your holiday itching from bite after bite. Try and nip the problem in the bud by packing some insect repellent and applying frequently. And if you do get bitten, bring also some after bite as well to help tone down the itching!
Make sure to load up on sun cream, especially if you're heading somewhere hot (but don't forget you can also get sun burnt while skiing!). To adequately cover an average body you should use at least enough cream to fill a shot glass. You should also apply every two hours. That can mean a lot of cream over a 7 day holiday, especially if you're protecting your whole family! To find out more about why you should be wearing sun cream every day check out this article.
SPF Lip protection
Our lips are just as susceptible to sunburn as our skin is. And cracked, sunburnt lips are no fun on holiday. Make sure to keep a lip balm with SPF on you and apply frequently (especially after eating).
Sunglasses aren't just a fashion statement. They are important in protecting your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Make sure you and each member of your family has a pair on hand. To find out more about picking the right pair of sunglasses check out this article.
Sometimes we forget to apply sunscreen as frequently as we should and we can get burnt. Having a bad sun burn is a big pain during holiday. Make sure you bring some after sun to sooth burnt skin. Something with an aloe base is good.
It's a good idea to keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer on you when travelling, especially when visiting locations which may not have as adequate conveniences as you're used to in the UK.
Depending on the country you're visiting it might be much more difficult to acquire basic tablets and medicines that you can get over the counter in the UK. You may even have to visit a doctor to get a prescription. To avoid this it may be a good idea to stock up on some basic tablets you may need such as:
- Ibuprofen or other pain relievers
- Diarrhoea relief
- Heartburn relief
- Cold and flu medicine
Motion sickness tablets or travel bands
Whether you're travelling by car, ferry, plane or train, if you're prone to motion sickness is a good idea to keep some tablets or a travel band on you. These will also come in handy if you're visiting a theme park - you don't want to miss the rollercoasters after all!
If you have a prescription it's important to make sure you don't leave it behind. You may be able to get a replacement in some places, but it will probably involve an inconvenient trip to a local GP. It's also a good idea to carry your prescriptions in your hand luggage in case your checked luggage gets lost.
The number for your 24/7 GP helpline
Remember, with our health plan, you can access a GP over the phone 24/7 from wherever you are in the world. So if you're feeling unwell whilst away and need to speak to a GP about your symptoms or get some advice, you can give the number a call and speak to a qualified GP who is in the UK. If you're a Simplyhealth member, log in to your online self-service to find out more!
This post was originally shared in 2015 and has been updated July 2018