As millions of Britons get set to head off for their summer holidays, Andrew Beardshall from Weldricks Pharmacies is keen for South Yorkshire hoidaymakers to make the most of their break by being fully prepared for their travels.
“Speaking from experience, it’s definitely cheaper and easier to prepare everything you need before you travel rather than relying on a pharmacist or doctor in the resort or country you’re visiting,” advises Andrew.
“When it comes to health abroad, there are lots of things to consider before you start packing. First of all, if you take regular medications, check you have enough supplies for the duration of your holiday. You don’t want to run out while you’re away as it could end up being costly and you may not be able to get the correct medicines you require.
“If you’re travelling with young children, it’s worth stocking up on general items to treat minor ailments such as fever, upset stomach and sunburn. Don’t forget that on low cost flights there is a limit to the amount of liquids you can carry in your hand luggage, so plan ahead.
“Lots of families will be heading to Florida this summer and it’s worth knowing that paracetamol in the US is known as acetaminophen. If you’re prone to headaches or backache, add an extra pack of paracetamol in your suitcase just in case.” Continues Andrew: “If you’re travelling further afield, there are destination-specific issues to consider. We work with the Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad (MASTA) and their specially trained travel health nurses to provide travel advice, pre-travel treatment and vaccinations.
“For anyone heading to sub-Saharan Africa, the Far East, South East Asia, Central and South America, we recommend contacting MASTA for a health consultation.
Their nurses can talk to you over the phone and ascertain exactly what vaccinations and medications are required to make sure you stay fit and healthy while you’re away. This will all depend on where you’re travelling to, where
you’re staying and what activities you’re planning on doing while you’re away.
“Sanitation, for example, in parts of the world is not too well governed and biting insects such as mosquitoes are far more prevalent than here in the UK. If your accommodation is a modern, city centre hotel, these issues may not pose too much of a risk. If you’re trekking through a jungle in Cambodia, working at altitude in Nepal or spending time on the coast in Mombassa, you will need to take preventative measures to protect yourself from diseases such as yellow fever, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and, of course, malaria.
“After your phone consultation, the MASTA nurse will create an online travel diary for you which details all the vaccinations, treatments and medications you need for your trip. You can then make an appointment and pop into one of our nine travel clinics where I, or one of my colleagues, can administer the jabs and any course of malaria tablets you require.
“Depending on your destination, mosquito nets, insect repellents, first aid kits and clean syringes are also a good idea to take along; again, it’s all about being prepared for every eventuality!
“Other diseases to consider are rabies and meningitis. I’ve seen a distinct increase in people wanting a rabies jab in recent years. There is still no cure for the disease and, if you’re unlucky enough to get bitten and can’t access treatment within 12 hours, there is nothing that can be done.
“Also, as more and more people travel to Mecca for hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage, viral infections including meningitis and influenza present a tangible risk.
With tens of thousands of people converging from all over the world in one place, I’d highly recommend popping in to one of our travel clinics for preventative vaccinations.”
Concludes Andrew: “Holidays are all about escaping the daily grind, relaxing and having fun. The last thing you want is to fall ill and spoil your break so my message is simple: plan ahead and make sure you have everything you might need based on your destination and location. Our highly trained pharmacists are always on hand to help with any queries or questions you might have so just pop in and ask. And we really do love hearing about where you’re travelling to, it’s one of the best parts of our job!”