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Health Advice


Here are some general tips for a healthy trip abroad. If in doubt, be sure to ask your pharmacist for advice.

Sun Safety

Whether you are travelling abroad or staying in the UK, it is important to:

  • Avoid the sun between 11:00am and 3:00pm when it is at its strongest.
  • Keep covered - wear a wide-brimmed hat and long clothing.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Use plenty of sunscreen - factor 15 or over. Re-apply every two hours and after swimming.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

It is thought that sitting still for a long time, such as on a long haul flight, can lead to blood clotting in the veins.

To avoid this:

  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Exercise - wriggle the toes and walk up and down the aisle of the aircraft.
  • Wear flight socks.
  • Ask your GP whether taking an aspirin would be appropriate.


This is by far the most common problem to affect travellers and is often caused by contaminated food and drink.

To avoid travellers’ diarrhoea:

  • Drink bottled water and use it to clean your teeth.
  • Don’t have ice in drinks, unless you know it is safe.
  • Only have fruit you can peel or you can wash in safe water.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and salads.
  • Avoid eating re-heated food or food that has been left at room temperature for some time.
  • Shellfish can pose a particular risk. If in doubt do not eat it.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat and fish.
  • Always wash your hands after going to the lavatory and before eating.


If you are travelling to an area where malaria is a risk, prevention is vital. Speak to your GP or pharmacist at least one month before you travel as some anti-malarial tablets are only available on prescription.

To reduce the chance of being bitten by a mosquito or other disease-carrying insect:

  • Apply insect repellent to all exposed areas of skin.
  • Wear long sleeves and trousers, especially in the evening.
  • In your room, use a mosquito coil, spray or plug-in insecticide vaporiser.
  • Mosquito nets can also provide good protection.

Sexual Health

To avoid the risk of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases, always use a condom.

  • Purchase condoms in the UK before you travel, as sometimes only poorer quality brands may be available overseas.


Immunisation protects you from diseases. You may already be protected from diseases such as tetanus, but other immunisations, such as typhoid, would generally be given especially for travel. Although few immunisations are legally required before you travel, many are recommended for holiday destinations. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further information.

  • Try to allow at least two months for immunisations before you travel.

Remember to use your common sense when taking part in outdoor or sporting activities. Alcohol should not be drunk before swimming or taking part in water sports or any other activity during which you could be hurt.

Holiday Checklist

It is better to buy items you may need in the UK as you will be familiar with the brands. It would also be easier than trying to explain your symptoms to a non-English-speaking pharmacist.

  • Personal medication (take in hand luggage)
  • Paracetamol or other painkillers
  • First aid kit 
  • Plasters 
  • Medicines to treat diarrhoea (ask your pharmacist for advice)
  • Insect repellent  
  • Tablets or cream for insect bites
  • Sunblock and aftersun preparation
  • Sunhat and sunglasses
  • Travel sickness medication
  • Flight socks  
  • Bottled water for journey/flight
  • Condoms

If Necessary

  • Anti-malarial medication
  • Mosquito nets and sprays
  • Water purifying tablets
  • Needle/syringe kits


  • Travel insurance
  • EHIC - European Health Insurance Card
  • Passport
  • Visas

Here is a list of useful medicines and dressings with a description of their uses. All are quite cheap and worth stocking at home in readiness for minor illnesses.

Keep them in a box or cupboard with a lock - or store them well out of the reach of children.

Soluble Aspirin Tablets

Good for headaches, colds, sore throats (gargle with the solution), and pains in general. Aspirin should NOT be given to children under 16.

Paracetamol Mixture

For relief of pain or fever in young children.

Sedative Cough Linctus

For dry or painful coughs - but not coughs caused by common colds.

Menthol Crystals

Add to hot water to make steam inhalations for treating catarrh and dry or painful coughs.

Vapour Rub

Again, for steam inhalations. Also useful for children with stuffy noses or dry coughs. Rub on the chest and nose.

Ephedrine Nose Drops

For runny noses in children over one year old. Use before meals and at night but not for more than four days.

Antiseptic Solution

One teaspoon diluted in warm water for cleaning cuts and grazes.

Antiseptic Cream

For treating septic spots, sores in the nose and grazes.

Calamine Lotion

For dabbing (not rubbing) on insect bites, stings and sunburn.

Dressing Strips

For minor cuts.

3" Wide Crepe Bandage

To keep dressings in place. To support sprained or bruised joints.

Cotton Wool

For cleaning cuts and grazes.


For fevers.


For removing splinters.

Have a safe holiday!

Produced by Oldroyd Publishing Group Ltd for Hillrise Pharmacy