Holiday Jabs- try and avoid a last minute panic and book in to see your travel clinic nurse 6-8 weeks before your trip to see if you need any travel vaccinations. Last minute holidays to places like the Gambia may seem like a good idea but you will need a yellow fever vaccination (preferably at least 10 days before you go) and malaria tablets. Don’t leave home unprotected.
Sun Protection- ensure you have packed plenty of sun protection. Most skin experts recommend nothing lower than SPF 15 (Sun Protection Factor). Make sure which ever protect you choose they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Take a good ‘aftersun’ gel/cream just in case you burn. Products with a high aloe vera content are especially soothing.
Insect repellents- mosquito and other insect bites can be annoying but in many parts of the world you may also risk contracting a disease such as malaria or yellow fever. Take an effective insect repellent either containing DEET or lemon eucalyptus. More adventurous travellers may wish to take mosquito nets impregnated with insecticide.
First Aid- take an appropriate first aid kit with you. For most holiday makers a basic kit containing such things as plasters, bandages, tweezers pain killers and antiseptic cream will be sufficient. Those travellers going off the beaten track in developing countries may wish to take a more extensive kit with sterile needles and syringes.
Motion Sickness- if you suffer from motion sickness it’s best to be well prepared, many of the medications that help need to be taken a couple of hours prior to travel. Some people find the bands which apply pressure on acupuncture points on the wrist helpful in alleviating the symptoms of nausea.
Existing Health Problems- many health problems encountered overseas are due to pre-existing conditions. Ensure that any health problems are relatively stable prior to travel- you may need to speak to your doctor or specialist to check whether they are happy for you to travel. If you take any regular medication then ensure you pack extra, it’s also a good idea to split them between different bags in case any luggage goes astray. You might also want to consider wearing an identity bracelet containing any relevant medical information and drug allergies in case of emergencies.
Insurance-it’s always important that you have adequate medical insurance for your trip. The UK has now adopted the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will be issued to those who apply for the new E111 form and entitles individuals to free or reduced cost emergency health care in EU countries. Ensure that additional insurance covers any pre-existing illness and activities that you’ll be undertaking whilst away.