Your healthy holiday survival guide

Posted on December 12th, 2014

Here’s how to deal with the most common health issues, so you can focus on having fun over the festive season.

The Problem: Sunburn
While it’s best to avoid sunburn altogether, remember that as little as 15 minutes of sun exposure can result in scorched skin.

The Fix:
Clicks Pharmacist, Waheed Abdurahman, suggests applying a topical anti-inflammatory gel, or taking an antihistamine tablet to relieve itchiness and discomfort. Once the skin starts to heal, apply an unscented moisturising cream.

The Problem: Motion sickness

The Fix:
If you’re prone to carsickness, try and focus on a single object outside of the car. Don’t read as this makes motion sickness worse. It’s best to avoid rich, fatty foods and dairy products before a trip – rather stick to plain foods, like dry crackers. “Consider an anti-vertigo tablet to take an hour before the journey,” suggests Abdurahman. “Your Clicks Pharmacist will recommend appropriate products for adults or children, and advise on the correct dosage.”

The Problem: Upset stomach

The Fix:
Wash your hands regularly and keep a hand sanitiser in your bag. Drink bottled water if you’re holidaying in an unfamiliar place, and consider a course of probiotics if you’re prone to stomach troubles. According to Abdurahman, there are a number of safe over the counter (OTC) products for adults and children. “For severe cases, ask your pharmacist to recommend anti-cramp and anti-diarrhoea tablets,” he says. And remember to stay hydrated and get electrolytes back into your system with oral rehydration solutions.

The Problem: Overindulgence

The Fix:
Make sure you include high fibre-foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your holiday feast and try a herbal tea if you suffer from spasms and bloating. There are also a number of OTC remedies especially formulated to aid digestion. Eat a full meal before drinking – a full stomach slows down absorption of alcohol. If you do overdo it, Abdurahman recommends detoxifying with a liver support product.

The Problem: Insect Bites

The Fix:
If you’re going to spend time outdoors in the evening, wear light-coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs and use a mosquito deterrent in either a stick or spray. “If you react severely to bites, always keep antihistamine tablets on hand. Also apply a topical antihistamine cream or a soothing agent,” suggests Abdurahman.

Safety Checklist

Make sure your first-aid kit is stocked with the following:

  • Motion sickness medication
  • Topical steroid cream for sunburn
  • Insect repellent
  • Eye drops for salt water, sand and other irritations
  • Eardrops for ear infections from swimming
  • Prescription medication
  • Antihistamine tablets for allergic reactions
  • Antihistamine tablets for stings and bites
  • Paracetamol or aspirin
  • Calamine lotion for sunburn or rashes
  • Sterile gauze and burn dressing
  • Adhesive bandages and plasters
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Tweezers

South African Emergency Numbers:

  • Ambulance 10177
  • Police 10111
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