Here are the healthcare essentials you need to pack this summer

Don't forget the suncream. Photo by PA
Don't forget the suncream. Photo by PA

Liz Connor speaks with health experts to find out which items you need to pack on holiday.

When it comes to packing for a summer holiday, it is important to remember first aid and healthcare essentials. From rehydration sachets and insect repellent, to decent sun protection, planning for you health while you’re away can prepare you for any unfortunate holiday mishaps.

We asked a range of health experts to tell us about the products they think every traveller should have in their suitcase....

1. Beat the burn with sun protection

Too much time in the sun’s rays can cause sunburn, skin cancer and premature ageing - so protecting your skin is paramount.

When buying sunscreen, look for a factor of at least 15 to protect against UVB and at least four-star UVA protection.

If you are travelling by plane, pack travel-sized sun protection, as liquids can be no more than 100ml.

And check sun cream is within date - you shouldn’t use sun cream which is over two to three years old.

2. Ease achy joints with natural pain relief

“A long journey which restricts movement can cause pain, and when it starts during travel this can become very uncomfortable,” says GP Dr Paul Stillman. “Keep appropriate medication with you and even anticipate the journey by taking a dose before the start; pack any you need in your hand luggage and check if you need a doctor’s letter [before flying].”

You could also try a natural pain relief product like FlexiQule Natural Joint Support (£16.99, LloydsPharmacy), a joint care supplement containing the active ingredients gingerol and boswellia, which may be helpful for reducing inflammation.

3. Treat travel tummy with rehydration sachets

LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Matt Courtney-Smith explains: “Diarrhoea is one of the most common illnesses to experience when travelling.

“It can be caused by a number of germs, the most common being E.coli and salmonella (found in contaminated foods). It can also be caused by a parasite such as Giardia, which is found in contaminated water.”

Salts and fluids that are essential to the body’s healthy functioning are lost when you experience diarrhoea, so it’s important to drink water mixed with rehydration sachets, which replace any lost salts and electrolytes.

4. Manage bug bites with antihistamine cream

Insect bites are a nuisance and can cause itchy, sore skin.

If you suffer a mild allergic reaction to a bite, seek advice from your pharmacist, and arrange a GP appointment if your pharmacist recommends.

For milder symptoms, antihistamine creams (such as Anthisan Bite and Sting Cream, £3.99, LloydsPharmacy) can help soothe itchiness caused by bites and may also help to reduce swelling around the area.

5. Beat jet lag with a sleep supplement

Sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan suggests it’s a case of mind over matter: “Tell yourself that you’ve woken up, you’ve slept and you’re going to feel fine and have a good day. This way you’re less likely to see any negative impacts.”

Try taking a supplement such as Benenox Overnight Recharge (£9.99, Boots), which can help settle your nervous system.”

6. Treat your feet with dry heel balm

Wearing thin-soled, unsupportive shoes like summery flip-flops creates stresses on the foot that increases the creation of hard skin. Wearing mules or slingback shoes can also create a ‘slapping’ of the feet onto the shoes, that again creates calluses and dry, hard skin.

Keep skin well-moisturised with the daily application of a good quality urea-based foot balm.