By Editor on 19 May 2015

Holidays are so important. We save for them, plan them and keep our fingers crossed that everything will be perfect.

However, accidents and illnesses can happen anywhere, and can be more complicated when you're away from your home environment. A few basic precautions and advanced packing can make a massive difference, should something go awry.

  • When travelling abroad, always ensure you know how to contact the emergency services. In Europe, 112 will get you through to the emergency services; further abroad, 112 may still work as it will eventually be the world wide emergency number, alternatively, check in your guidebook or on Google.
  • If flying with little ones, put small sachets of Calpol or Nurofen in your hand luggage; they'll quickly and quietly calm your child if the air pressure hurts their ears. Chewing or sipping water while taking off or landing can also help to relieve the pressure. Pack toys and books to keep them occupied during the journey, and a special toy or blanket to encourage them to sleep. Snacks are also helpful in case they won’t eat the food on the plane, which is extremely likely. Plane food is awful.
  • In hot climates, dress in suitable clothing to allow your body to breathe in humid conditions, and ensure you and your family have appropriate footwear that is comfortable and covers your toes. Wounds often take longer to heal and can become infected in high humidity – ensure that any wounds are cleaned thoroughly and apply a sterile breathable dressing.
  • If you're bitten or licked by an animal, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible and receive prompt anti-rabies treatment.
  • Keeping everyone well hydrated is vitally important in hot climates, and children need regular encouragement to drink. Water and milk will taste different in other countries, so adding some syrup or additional flavouring that they enjoy may persuade them to drink.
  • Treat the sun with respect; cover up with hats, sun glasses and suncream, stay hydrated and keep out of the midday sun. If you are near water, remember that reflections will increase the potency of the sun and regularly apply additional sunscreen accordingly.
  • If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion - they're flushed, sweaty, and suffering from stomach cramps and headaches - encourage them to sit in the shade and drink to replace their fluids.
  • Travelling with fussy eaters? Take snacks with you so that everyone can be catered for when they're hungry. You'd be amazed at how quickly a miserable child can spoil things for everyone.
  • Take toilet roll, tissues and hand sanitizer with you plus a compact, sensible first aid kit including painkillers, plasters, tweezers, antihistamines, medicine for upset stomachs and scissors.

Image credit: Flickr and Ashley Webb

This article was written by Emma Hammett for First Aid for Life

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