It is almost the end of the school year and many of us are immersed in a whirl of exams, end-of-year parties and school fetes longing for the last day of term so that we can focus on our forthcoming summer holiday. Whether we are heading to a hot and exotic long haul resort, or a closer to home staycation, one thing you can be sure of is the long list of preparation before we arrive at our preferred hotel/villa/tent.
As well as remembering the holiday clothes, passports, and the endless other things we have to pack, it is also necessary to be prepared should you, or someone with you become ill or injured. So while you are planning your pre-holiday pampering, give a thought to the following:
Depending on your destination, sun can either be a ‘definite' or a ‘nice to have’ part of your holiday. As the recent heat wave has reminded us, even the sun in the UK can be absurdly hot and debilitating and we all need to be aware.
The obvious thing to remember is sunscreen. The higher the factor the better. A higher factor doesn’t mean a less impressive tan, do remember that. Burning is not a good look and we all know it is painful, potentially dangerous and totally avoidable.
Apply sun screen regularly (approx every two hours) after swimming and on small children. Nothing lower than a Factor 50 with UVA and UVB on the youngest members of your family and keep everyone covered on the hottest parts of the day and out of the sun. If you, or anyone in your family, is unlucky enough to get burnt then stay in the shade to cool down. Flannels or towels drenched in cold water will help to reduce the pain and stop the burn from progressing. Over-the-counter painkillers can help, but the correct dosage should be adhered to. Once the burn has cooled then after-sun cream may be applied. If a large area of the body is burnt or there is blistering then you should seek medical help.
Sunburn can result in heat exhaustion. The signs to look out for are:
- pale sweaty skin
- rapid breathing
Should heat exhaustion occur then it is best to lie in a cool place in loose fitting clothes and sip some water or an oral rehydration solution. If you, or someone else with you, is suffering with heat exhaustion then it is necessary to see a medical professional to ensure that heatstroke doesn’t develop. As with any casualty, if they become unconscious check their breathing and place in the recovery position if normal.
Call 999/112 and monitor their breathing until the ambulance arrives. If they aren’t breathing then call 999/112 and start CPR immediately.
A few glasses of rosé at a sunny lunch is a truly lovely thing, but don’t forget the water! Keep hydrated throughout the day and ensure that you drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink and avoid drinking in the direct sun.
First Aid kit
A travel First Aid kit is always a sensible thing to include in your suitcase. It doesn’t need to be huge, and should contain the following:
- Latex free gloves
- sterile wipes
- assorted plasters
- A triangular bandage,
- wound dressings
- medical tape
- resuscitation face shield
- burns dressings - especially if camping
- Any medication you may need such as pain killers, antiseptic cream/spray, antihistamine cream/tablets/liquid, oral rehydration sachets.
- Don't forget to take enough of any usual prescription medication!
Bites & stings
Being bitten or stung can be a pretty miserable experience. Repellents that contain Deet will protect against bites and if you are stung by a bee, wasp or hornet then brush or scrape it off sideways (avoid using tweezers to pull it out as it may push more poison into the wound) put something cold on the wound to reduce the swelling or suck an ice cube if the sting is in the throat or mouth. Should any signs of an allergic reaction occur (breathing difficulties or reddened, swollen itchy skin, particularly to the face or neck) then call 999/112 immediately.
Food & Drink
Travelers diarrhoea can be avoided when holidaying in foreign climes. Stick to bottled water, avoid ice cubes in your drinks and don’t opt for food that can’t be peeled or cooked.
If you do get diarrhoea then you will need to rehydrate by sipping water and using oral rehydration solutions.
And don’t forget…..
Travel insurance, and checking that all your immunisations are up to date should you be travelling further afield.
Happy holidays to you all!