The right tonic for a healthy school holidays!

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Diarrhoea, sunburn and accidents are all lurking, ready to scupper a perfect summer school holidays, but help is hand with some top healthy tips to survive the break.

NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group has issued advice on steps to take to try and minimise risk, and plan ahead for any misadventures.

Stock up

Stock up on the basic medical essentials to help treat a bout of diarrhoea, tummy upsets or accidents that can spoil the holiday.

Vaccines

If travelling to exotic locations, find out what travel vaccines are needed and make sure any vaccinations are up-to-date. If diseases such as malaria are a risk, travellers may need to start treatment before leaving.

Insurance

When travelling in Europe have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC, available at https://www.ehic.org.uk, entitles travellers to free or reduced-cost medical care. However, it won't cover for everything that travel insurance can, such as emergency travel back to the UK.

First aid kit

A basic first aid kit will help with minor ailments, such as stomach upsets, allergies, headaches, sunburn, insect bites, aches and sprains and strains. 

The NHS has an interactive first aid kit guide at http://bit.ly/2ILUSdf to help holidaymakers ensure they have everything they need and local pharmacists can also provide excellent advice.

Sunscreen

Pack plenty of sunscreen and always pack a high factor and specialist sunscreen for children and babies. Wear suitable clothing and spend time in the shade when the sun's at its hottest. When buying sunscreen, the label should have:

·         a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to protect against UVB

·         at least four-star UVA protection

UVA protection can also be indicated by the letters "UVA" in a circle, which indicates that it meets the EU standard.

Dr Nick Harding, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:

“Nothing will ruin your holiday faster than feeling unwell or having an accident. So, ensure that your medical kit is your top priority when packing your suitcase. A kit with essential items such as painkillers, anti-diarrhoea tablets, antihistamines, antiseptic cream, plasters and dressings is just as important as packing your favourite sunglasses and flip flops.

“If you take regular medicines on prescription, it’s important that you have enough medication to cover your holiday period. Carrying all medicines in their original container with labels intact, and a copy of your prescription written by your doctor at all times is also a must.

“Whether you're off on a six-month trek to the Himalayas or a family holiday in Spain or the UK, it's vital to have the right travel insurance. Make sure your policy covers your destination and the duration of your stay, as well as any specific activities you might do. It’s also important to remember to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card if you are going to Europe.”