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Staying well – at home and abroad

Make the most of summer, with these expert tips from a pharmacist.

Whether you're heading for a picnic in the park or a day out at the beach, don't forget to pack some warm-weather health essentials. Boots pharmacist, Angela Chalmers, gives her top three as water, sun cream and a hat.

“Dehydration and heatstroke are common after a day out in the sun and it can take days to fully recover,” she says, stressing the need to remain hydrated. Sun protection with the correct UV factor is next on her list. “Ask your pharmacist for advice about choosing the right factor,” she advises. “We all know we should use sun protection yet sunburn still happens. Apply 20 minutes before going into the sun so it can settle properly as a base layer on the skin. Re-apply as per the instructions and definitely after swimming. Be careful to re-apply where clothing rubs the skin, e.g. bikini straps, as it rubs the cream off.”

Finally, don't forget to bring the right headgear, such as a wide-brimmed hat or a cap. “A hat not only protects your scalp from sunburn, but it helps reduce the chances of sunstroke,” says Angela. “This is equally important for babies, children and adults.”

Holiday wellbeing

Where possible, avoid suffering from annoying health niggles by taking preventative steps. “Insect bites are a real pain,” says Angela. “Use insect repellent to avoid them in the first place. Apply regularly, as per instructions, and don't miss any exposed skin as this is where an insect can land and bite.”

Another sensible idea is to stay out of the midday sun (it's strongest between 11am and 3pm after the clocks go forward) and drink plenty of fluids. “This is the best way to avoid getting heat and sunstroke,” says Angela.

“It is a common problem when it's hot but can be avoided.”

Your prescription medication

When going on holiday, Angela says that your last check should be money, passport – and medication. “A copy of your repeat medication slip can be handy to have if you are carrying things such as insulin needles or controlled drugs with you. Always carry your medications, as suitcases can be lost by airlines.”

Joining your pharmacy's repeat prescription collection service can take the hassle out of remembering medication when you travel, advises Angela. “You can call your pharmacist ahead of time and ask them to have it ready before you go on holiday,” she adds.

Further information

Members of benenden health can speak to a doctor about any health concerns by calling the 24-hour GP advice line. To use the service, members should call 0800 414 8247 from the UK or +44 800 414 8247 from abroad.

Suggested reading

Hydration tips

Travel: The Experts Pick

Travel Sickness Q&A

Why Your Skin Needs Protection