First aid for family holidays

Don't leave home without basic health essentials and remedies for common ailments

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Before your thoughts turn to suncream and flip-flops, remember to pack a few first-aid essentials.

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Family GP Dr Rob Hicks says, ‘Make sure you have all the usual items such as plasters, bandages, sterile dressings and a 5ml spoon for medicine, plus of course any medicines your baby usually needs at home.

‘It’s also a good idea to find out where local healthcare and advice can be found at your destination before setting off.’

From the chemist
Holiday health essentials to pick up from the pharmacy

Your pharmacist can advise you about suitable treatments for babies and children. Always check dosage instructions.

For tummy upsets
A rehydration solution, which contains a blend of salts and sugars to aid recovery from nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, is a must.

  • Try: Dioralyte sachets

For fevers and pain
Help treat everything from a fever and teething to a sore throat and earache.

  • For infants over 3 months try Calpol Infant Suspension sachets
  • Or Nurofen For Children sachets. Also available in strawberry flavour
  • Kool ‘n’ Soothe Soft Gel Sheets, suitable for children over 1, help soothe and cool a fever

For hayfever and other allergic reactions like heat rash

  • For children over 1 years old take an oral antihistamine like
    Piriton Syrup

For insect bites and stings, or nettle rash
Pack a topical antihistamine cream. You can also use good old calamine lotion.

  • Anthisan Bite and Sting Cream, for children over 2
  • Wasp-Eze spray, for children over 1

For cuts and grazes
Take an antiseptic cream that you can also use to treat nappy rash, bites and stings.

  • Try Savlon or Sudocrem

For travel sickness

  • Go for natural options for young babies (see below) or Sea-Legs for children over 2 years old.

Natural alternatives from the natural pharmacy


Look out for these popular remedies in health shops and natural health centres.

Naturopath and herbalist Lucinda Miller suggests some safe remedies for babies and children. Again, always check products are suitable for your baby’s age, and follow treatment instructions.

For bumps and bruises
Arnica cream can help, as can lots of cuddles and TLC.

  • Nelsons Arnicare Arnica Cream

For travel sickness

Place a couple of drops of peppermint and lemon essential oils on a hanky for your child to inhale. For babies, leave the scented hanky close by, avoiding direct contact.

  • Cariad Lemon Essential Oil, and Peppermint
  • Or for children over 2 years, try Boots Travel Bands For Children
  • Encourage them to sip Whole Earth Organic Sparkling Ginger

For nausea Chamomile tea helps ease nausea, plus it can aid sleep and soothe upset tummies.

  • Dr Stuart’s Chamomile Tea

To ward off bugs Try a lemon-scented insect repellent.

  • Walkabout Insect Repellent from Thursday Plantation, available as a lotion or roll-on

For insect bites

Dab lavender oil on a bite. A few drops on their pillow will also soothe if your child’s disorientated by a long flight.

  • Tisserand Lavender Pure Essential Oil
  • Or try Tisserand Organic Lavender Wipes

For skin irritations like heat rash, sunburn and eczema

Aloe vera gel has been shown to calm skin inflammation and speed up healing.

  • Aloe Pura Organic Aloe Vera Gel.
  • Immune-boosting echinacea is available in cream form to calm sensitive skin and help the healing process. Try A.Vogel Echinacea Crème

For cuts, grazes, stings and eczema

  • Try Grandma Vines Natural Antiseptic Gel, which contains organic cider vinegar.

To ward off viruses and infections

    • Boost their immune system with Sambucol Kids Formula. Suitable for children over 1.

SEE A DOCTOR IF:

    • Your child has persistent diarrhoea and/or vomiting.
    • Your baby’s limp, floppy or shows signs of dehydration such as sunken eyes and persistently dry nappies.
    • The fever doesn’t come down despite your treatment.
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    • Your child has a rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is pressed against it. This could be meningitis and needs urgent treatment.

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