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Think pharmacy before passports


We all look forward to holidays. Planning the trip, buying a summer wardrobe, checking we’ve got everything we need. But with so many things to remember, essential items can get left behind.

It might not be top of your list, alongside passport and tickets, but NHS England is advising a visit to the pharmacy should be part of your pre-holiday preparations.

Stomach upsets are the most common problem to hit travellers aboard, with between 20-60% affected. You can save yourself a trip to the resort’s pharmacy by visiting one at home before you go to make sure you’ve got basic diarrhoea or indigestion tablets at hand if you need them.

If you regularly take certain medication, head down to your local pharmacy to make sure you have your repeat prescriptions before setting off. Some pharmacies abroad don’t have access to the same medication your own pharmacy does so it’s better to be prepared.

It’s also handy to pack a basic first aid kit which includes things like antiseptic, painkillers, bandages, plasters, antihistamines, insect bite and sunburn treatment.

Dr Kieran Murphy, Medical Director, NHS England Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria, said:

“If you’re on medication for a long term condition, such as asthma, diabetes or a heart problem, take a few minutes to talk to your pharmacist and find out if you need a repeat prescription to take on holiday.

“It’s quick and easy to put together a basic first aid kit to deal with any minor illnesses or injuries whilst you’re away – such as stomach upsets, allergies, headaches, sunburn, insect bites, sprains and strains. Your pharmacy can help with that and advise the best things to take. Or if you want advice online, check the interactive first aid kit at www.nhs.uk.

“One last thing to check is the rules about types and quantities of medicines you are allowed to take into the country you’re visiting, as this can vary.”

Holiday makers travelling in Europe should carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – available free at www.ehic.org.uk. This will give you access to state-provided healthcare in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland, at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will also cover treatment until you return to the UK.

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