Sunnier days are just around the corner, and it’s time to get out and about. Follow our guide for family first-aid buys, plus top tips on coping with hay fever and enjoying outdoor fun.
Whether you’ve got period pain or a headache that just won’t lift, pain relievers are a vital part of your kit. Aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen come in a variety of different forms, from soluble tablets to capsules you can swallow with water. And make sure you have a supply of children’s pain relievers, too.
Cuts and scrapes are likely when you’ve got kids playing outdoors over the summer. Be prepared with sterile saline wash or alcohol free wipes to clean wounds, cotton gauze for cleaning, drying and covering wounds, plus different-sized plasters and dressings. And make sure your first-aid kit is not out of date.
High body temperature can be one of the first signs of illness, so you’ll need a reliable thermometer in your first-aid kit. Oral and ear digital thermometers are both very popular.
Don’t let diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation or indigestion ruin your day. Loperamide (such as Imodium) treats diarrhoea, while a mild laxative should do the trick for constipation. If you suffer from indigestion it’s a good idea to keep a supply of antacid medicine handy.
Don’t let red, raw skin ruin your summer – get sun-protection-savvy. Ideally, your first-aid kit should contain sun block and after-sun lotion. Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign recommends using sun cream with at least SPF15. The Co-operative Pharmacy sells only products over SPF15 and can help you to choose the right one for you. Be liberal when applying your sunscreen and reapply every two hours – take special care with tops of feet, ears and the back of your neck. Also, wear a hat, good UV-protective sunglasses and keep well hydrated by drinking lots of water.
Sitting outdoors on a balmy summer’s evening is lovely, but mosquito bites aren’t! Keep them at bay with an insect repellent and, if you do get bitten, antihistamines and sting relief creams will help to soothe itchiness.
You can still suffer from coughs and a scratchy throat in the summer. Keep sore-throat lozenges and cough syrup in your medicine kit.
A tube of antiseptic cream is a great multi-tasker and a must-have in your first-aid kit – it cleanses, soothes and helps to prevent infection. You can use it for cuts and grazes – gently wash the wound first with water and mild soap – as well as on insect bites and stings, minor burns and scalds, shaving cuts and other skin ailments.
When you’re off on holiday, pack a down-sized version of your regular first-aid kit. Experts at St John Ambulance recommend packing sterile dressings, plasters, sterile eye pads, a triangular bandage (which can be used as a large dressing, a sling or to secure a dressing in place) and disposable gloves. It’s also worth keeping a packet of motion sickness tablets handy to soothe yourself on those bumpy rides.
Other useful equipment to keep in your kit includes scissors for cutting cotton gauze, tweezers for removing small splinters, latex or non-latex gloves if you’re dealing with blood or other bodily fluids, and safety pins for fastening bandages – see right for the editor’s pick of travel first-aid kits from The Co-operative Pharmacy.
Spring weather might mean a chance to get outdoors, but it also means streaming eyes, sneezing and a runny nose for the 10 million people in the UK – that’s 20% of the population – who suffer from hay fever.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen and, depending what type of pollen affects you, symptoms can occur any time, from early spring to late autumn. While there’s no cure for hay fever, there’s plenty you can do to alleviate symptoms. Try wearing wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes, and when you come in from outdoors have a shower and change your clothes to remove pollen from your body.
The Co-operative Pharmacy also supplies a wide range of over-the-counter treatments (see right) that can really help to relieve your symptoms. Antihistamines may prevent allergic reaction, and corticosteroids (steroids) may help to reduce inflammation and swelling. Talk to your local Co-operative Pharmacist who will find the best remedy for you.
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