You and your little ones might recognise Dr Ranj Singh as the presenter of CBeebies’ Get Well Soon. Dr Ranj has teamed up with Family Traveller to write regular columns to tackle your holiday health issues and ensure you are covered for any situation.
Here, Dr Ranj advises on what you should pack in your family's holiday health kit.
This is the staple ingredient of any health kit: something for pain and/or fever, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. What you take depends on what you prefer and whether there’s any reason your child can’t take it. So, as with any medication, always read the instructions and bear in mind that different ages may have different doses. When used properly, paracetamol and ibuprofen are 2very safe and can even be used together.
Allergic reactions, to food or insect bites, can happen at any time and are not unusual on holiday since you’re in a new and unusual environment. To help you deal with these, make sure you pack some anti-allergy medicine and/or cream. Remember to always seek edical advice if the allergy is severe.
Having a dodgy tummy is common on holiday, but usually not serious. Often, it is caused by a virus and will pass with rest and rehydration. If you or a member of the family has diarrhoea and vomiting, then the best thing is to rehydrate with oral rehydration solutions that replace sugar and salts.
Creams and ointments that repel insects are useful for two reasons: firstly, they stop you getting bitten, and secondly, they reduce your chances of picking up things like malaria or dengue (in some parts of the world). Make sure whatever you use contains something like DEET, the active ingredient. It’s a good idea to test a little patch before you go on holiday to make sure it doesn’t irritate.
Although not strictly necessary (as basic soap and water will do the trick just fine), sometimes it's useful to have a sterilising hand gel or sanitiser for times when you may not have access to the usual cleaning materials. This can be particularly useful in places where hygiene levels or water quality are not ideal. You can get them in alcohol-based and alcohol-free versions – whichever suits you best.
Pack this if you're going anywhere hot or where you'll be exposed to the sun. Many people don't realise that water and snow reflect the sun a lot, too, so don't forget to use it around pools or when skiing. As a rule, use at least factor 30, make sure it has UVA and UVB protection and reapply regularly.
Getting injured is just as likely as getting ill abroad, so throw in a few different-sized plasters and bandages just in case. Make sure you clean wounds properly before bandaging them up. Anything that's more than a minor injury should be checked by a medical professional.
Lots of us have medical require long-term medication. Make sure you take enough of your usual medicines to cover your trip (and extra in case of delays). This includes inhalers and EpiPens (adrenaline auto-injectors), which can be life-saving if you have asthma or severe allergies. Check with your doctor if you need a letter to carry it in your hand luggage.