Summer is one of the busiest times of year for young people to leave the UK for a backpacking holiday, whether it’s for university or a gap year. A lot of young people forget to pack any medical supplies at all, meaning they’ll have to go to a pharmacy when the mosquito bites get too bad or after a bad meal!
If you’re travelling this time of year, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re well-prepared and have a small first aid kit ready to go. Along with some over the counter (OTC) medications and products, you’ll be much more comfortable on your trip and won’t have to stress about finding supplies in a strange country.
The specific items you will need to keep yourself healthy will depend on the climate, and the level of development in the country you are visiting. In a Scandinavian winter you will not need much in the way of sunscreens or insect spray, but mosquitoes are a real problem in summer, even in the north of the world. Here are general travel tips for different destinations.
Diarrhea pills: The most popular drug for travellers is Loperamide, which helps to reduce the worst symptoms of catching an intestinal bug. It’s not the most comforting thing to consider, but hygiene in many countries is not as strict as we are used to in the UK. You’ll also be exposed to a lot of new bacteria, and traveller’s diarrhea is very common across a wide variety of destinations, so it is a good idea to be prepared!
Water Purification Tablet: Bottled water is available all over the world, but water purification tablets are useful if you need (or prefer) tap water or if you are not sure about the quality of your bottled water. Most bottled water is safe, but always check the seal before using it.
Even if there is a plastic wrapping over your bottle cap, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe. There are places where people will reuse or refill plastic bottles with dangerous water and put plastic covers on them to make them look like new for resale. It can be hard to tell.
Sun cream: Although people with fair skin are more likely to need sun cream, anyone can get sunburned if they don’t take care of themselves, especially in hotter climates.
It’s not just hot countries that require sun cream. Sunburn doesn’t have anything to do with the temperature – ultraviolet radiation in the sun is the cause of most sunburns.
Insect repellant: Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying things to deal with as a traveller. During the day, DEET-based insect repellent is your best bet. The more DEET you use, the longer your protection will last. Use as much DEET as you can, as mosquitoes will find their way to your unprotected skin. Not only do mosquitoes cause nasty, itchy bumps, but they also carry diseases, so it’s important to minimise the number of bites you get. You might be able to sleep with a mosquito net, but it’s not always possible.
Above all one should understand the basics of first aid to one’s and fellow traveller’s needs in medical emergencies. Inspirationaltraining.co.uk is a premiere training portal in first aid Newcastle. Do check their website for the upcoming programs.