Got everything you need? Pharmacists advise on holiday essentials

Pharmacists have provided a useful checklist to ensure holiday makers have packed the essentials. It’s easy to get caught up in the flurry of holiday packing and to forget the important things so as part a public campaign being launched today the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has published a checklist of holiday essentials and reminds holiday makers that your local community pharmacist can provide the checklist, the products, and the advice you need for a worry-free summer holiday. 


Speaking about preparing for trips abroad, Ann-Marie Horan a pharmacist and member of the IPU’s Executive committee said, “The days before departing for a holiday can be very hectic. That is why we have published this handy checklist so nothing important gets left behind.


“The most important thing to remember is your essential medicines. You should bring at least enough for the duration of your trip, and always bring a copy of your prescription in case you need something while away. Be aware of the storage conditions of your medications, some will need to be refrigerated. Discuss this with your pharmacist who will advise you how best to transport and store these medications.”


“Depending on where you travel, and your own language skills, you may find it challenging to communicate with a pharmacy abroad. That is why we would always recommend bringing a supply of common medicines including antihistamines, pain relievers and treatments for upset stomachs.


“Of course it is not all about medicines, and your local pharmacy can also provide you with the full range of sun creams and insect repellents, as well as travel sized toiletries. If you visit your community pharmacy, we’ll be happy to assist you with picking up everything you need.”


Ms Horan provided the following tips for a safe and enjoyable holiday:

Medication: Make sure to bring an adequate supply of your prescription medication on holidays with you. Always carry some medication in your hand luggage in case your checked-in luggage is delayed or goes missing.

  • Sun: In warmer climates, stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm. Protect yourself with a high sun protection factor (SPF) with UVA protection, along with a hat, sunglasses and t-shirt. Apply a complete sun block to children and reapply frequently, especially after swimming.

  • Sunburn: If you get sunburn, stay out of the sun for a few days until the sunburn dies down. Drink plenty of water. Ask your pharmacist about appropriate creams and painkillers to relieve symptoms and bring down a temperature. Severe cases of sunburn may require special burn cream and burn dressings. Ask your pharmacist for advice. If you have severe sunburn with headaches, nausea, vomiting or dizziness, see a GP.

  • Mixing Alcohol and the Sun:  Be careful when drinking alcohol in hot weather as it can cause dehydration.  Avoid swimming or engaging in sporting activities if you have taken alcohol.


  • Stomach upsets:  If barbequing or eating foods you are not used to, make sure the food is fully cooked all the way through and always keep cooked food separate from raw food.  This will help avoid food poisoning. If you do suffer diarrhoea, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Ask your pharmacist for advice on which non-prescription medicines you can bring with you on holidays so you can treat the condition immediately.

  • Insect bites:  Bring insect repellent to protect from insect bites.  If you get bitten, wash the area with soap and water, and apply a cool compress or calamine lotion to help cool down the affected area.  Finally, apply some antiseptic cream to avoid infection. If you suffer a severe allergic reaction to a bite, seek medical assistance immediately.

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