School’s out for summer! Be holiday ready!

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A leading clinician is calling on Sandwell and West Birmingham parents to follow the Scout’s moto of ‘be prepared’ when it comes to keeping healthy in the school summer holidays.

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.

“Wherever you plan to go away, 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.”

Dr Harding says to make sure you and families are stocked up with the basic medical essentials to help treat a bout of diarrhoea, tummy upsets or accidents that can spoil a holiday.

If travelling to exotic locations, find if travel vaccines are needed and make sure vaccinations are up-to-date. If diseases such as malaria are a risk, start treatment before travelling.

When travelling in Europe, have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC, available at, will give free or reduced-cost medical care. However, it won't cover everything that travel insurance can, such as emergency travel back to the UK.

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

The NHS has a really useful interactive first aid kit guide at to help holidaymakers ensure they have everything they need and local pharmacists can also provide excellent advice.

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.