Whether you’re holidaying locally or travelling further afield, it’s important to be prepared with your packing. And at the top of your list should be a first aid kit to look after your family’s health on the go.
While you can buy a variety of ready-made first aid kits, it’s just as easy to create your own first aid travel pack tailored to your family’s planned activities, known allergies and individual needs.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a useful checklist for what to take when heading out or away during the summer months.
Water (bottle or flask)
Water is always a summer holiday essential – not only for its obvious purpose of keeping you hydrated but for washing any cuts and grazes. And it can be dabbed onto the skin to cool someone down if you think they may be suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
To enjoy the sun safely, remember to pack sun cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50+. Check that your sun cream protects against both UVA and UVB, and apply generously – especially on children, as their skin is sensitive and delicate. It’s best for young children to stay out of direct sunshine, especially in the heat of the day.
If you’re on the go, carry some hand sanitiser as you won’t always have access to running water to wash your hands. It’s also good to use after visiting crowded places or spending time in communal facilities. This helps to reduce the spread of any germs or viruses.
It’s a sensible idea to pack some pain relief in your first aid kit. As well as easing pain, paracetamol helps relieve fever and body aches. Ibuprofen is another versatile painkiller for relieving sunburn, bites and general aches or pains. Because it’s anti-inflammatory, ibuprofen is great for muscle sprains too. Easy-to-swallow liquid pain relief is available for young children. Always read the packaging to check the recommended dosage.
Bandages and plasters
Accidents happen, especially with little ones making the most of outdoor fun. Pack a selection of bandages and waterproof plasters to have at the ready. It’s also worth including a few wound closure strips for any deeper cuts.
Before protecting any cuts and grazes, It’s handy to have something to clean the area with. Disinfectants used to clean wounds can soothe itching caused by insect bites or stings too. This is important for reducing the risk of infection.
These sachets are made from a combination of sugar and salt. If someone has been vomiting or had a bad case of diarrhoea or sunstroke, rehydration treatment can help restore the fluid lost from their body. If this does not seem to help their symptoms, always seek medical advice.
Nail scissors or ones that are pocket size will come in useful for cutting bandages or plasters to the right size. They are good to have on the go for trimming any broken fingernails or toenails too, which can cause nasty cuts either to yourself or someone else.
Another really useful tool for removing splinters and thorns, usually found in hands and feet. Ticks can also be removed using tweezers. Grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it out, slowly and steadily. Try to remove the whole tick, but if part of it remains in the skin, just leave it. Wash the bite area with soap and water or disinfectant.
Deep freeze spray for pain relief is a brilliant idea when you’re travelling and don’t have access to ice. It can relieve the pain of any pulled muscles and sprains. Check the instructions before use as some sprays are not suitable for young children. If that’s the case, it’s better to use a damp towel instead and apply a bandage to the affected area.
You can buy this over the counter to help relieve soreness and itching from insect bites and sunburn. This cream is not recommended for children younger than 2 years old, unless prescribed by a doctor.
How a GP can help
If you’re not able to manage your family’s summer injuries and illnesses with a self-care first aid kit, speak to a GP to get further medical help.
A doctor can make an individual assessment based on symptoms discussed during the appointment. They may decide to prescribe treatment or make a referral to see a specialist.