Holiday health essentials: 10 things to take with you

Every year British Nationals take more than 60 million trips abroad and whilst the majority of people have a safe trip some people do become ill or have an accident. In the most cases minor accidents and illnesses don't require a visit to a medical centre or hospital and can be self-treated.

This is when it pays to be prepared, by taking a first aid kit and other common medicines with you. Saving you the time, money and stress involved in finding a local chemist quickly when you are on holiday.

10 things to include in your holiday medical kit

  • Travel insurance- The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommend that you buy travel insurance with cover for any pre-existing medical conditions every time you travel.
  • Antiseptic, dressings and plasters- For minor cuts and grazes. Small bottles and sprays of antiseptic are available from chemists, or ready prepared antiseptic wipes can also be very handy, plus take a small supply of fabric plasters, gauze dressings, bandages and adhesive tape.
  • Scissors, safety pins & tweezers- Scissors and safety pins are useful for cutting and securing bandages. Tweezers for removing splinters.

    (Remember to pack scissors, safety pins and tweezers in your hold luggage as you will not be able to take them into an aircraft cabin.)
  • Sunscreen- choose one with a sun protection factor of at least 15
  • After sun lotion - to help soothe your skin after a day in the sun
  • Insect repellent- avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellents, particularly during the evenings and at night when they are most likely to bite. Research shows repellants containing DEET are most effective.
  • Condoms- protect yourself against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases if you are sexually active on holiday.
  • Antihistamines - Over the counter antihistamines, which are available as tablets and creams, can help reduce itchiness and inflammation caused by allergies and insect bites.
  • Anti-diarrhoea tablets- Over the counter anti-diarrhoea drugs can relieve symptoms of diarrhoea and upset stomachs very quickly.
  • Prescription medication- If you take any regular prescription medication, such as high blood pressure tablets or inhalers for asthma, make sure that you take enough with you on holiday.

Find out more about taking prescription medication abroad.

Travel Insurance and Emergency Medical Assistance

If you become ill or have an accident which requires treatment at a hospital or medical centre you should seek medical attention as soon as possible and call the Emergency Assistance number provided by your travel insurance.

Our Emergency Medical Assistance team are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will be able to confirm to the hospital that you have insurance cover in place and liaise with local doctors to help you get the treatment you need.

Find out more about our Emergency Medical Assistance service.