By Stephanie Simons,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire
I don’t know about you, but I am very much enjoying being out and about again. However, the world looks very different these days, and the past year has taught us some important lessons about safety. So what exactly do we need on hand as we venture out in the world again?
First of all – hand sanitiser. Once a rare purchase, it’s now an essential for everyday life to kill viruses and bacteria that live on surfaces and skin. Your sanitiser needs to be at least 70% alcohol to be effective – try Germ-X or Nesti Dante Hand Sanitizer. Make sure to apply it before and after time in public spaces like shops, bars or schools.
Of course, repeated sanitiser use can also cause problems for your hands, as the high alcohol content breaks down the skin barrier and leads to irritation. This is especially difficult for those with skin conditions like eczema. Opt for sanitisers that contain ingredients like aloe to soothe problematic skin – such as Eco Sanitizer – and be sure to carry a hand cream too. A moisturising cream or lotion will soothe the dryness caused by your sanitiser, particularly with frequent use. E45 Cream is a great general option or try Cerave, Eucerin or Simple if your skin is very sensitive, dry or damaged.
As those with kids – or a fondness for high heels – will know, bandages should be with you wherever you go. Carry a selection of sizes to cover everything from blisters to nasty cuts, including ones large enough to cover a knee. Most packs include a variety of sizes such as Curad, Bandaid, Nexcare or try a more petite option like Bandaid Travel pack if you’re short of room! Antiseptic wipes also help to clean the injury until you get home. A small First Aid Kit or a Ziploc bag with a few supplies is brilliant for on the go or to keep in the car.
The outdoors also poses a risk of allergic reactions. Up to 30% of adults and 40% of children suffer from hay fever, so it’s always helpful to have a remedy on hand. Adults can try tablets like Clarityn, Benadryl or Piriton or sprays like Benadryl or Bactine while remedies for kids include Benadryl, Piriton or Clarityn syrup. Skin irritation is equally rife in the summer months, whether it’s from plants or those pesky mosquitoes. Apply an insect repellent like Off or Cutter throughout the day and use creams like Benadryl or hydrocortisone to help soothe itchy or irritated areas.
An oldie-but-goodie when it comes to first aid is aspirin. Not only great for headaches and pain, it can also help emergency heart issues until you can reach help. Bayer Adult 325mg or any equivalent generic is a simple, effective option. Other basics include bottled water – for anything from dehydration to cleaning a cut – and high protein snacks like granola bars keep blood sugar up and treat dizziness and/or nausea.
After the past year, it can take time to adjust to the world again. However, with a few useful remedies on hand, you’ll be ready to take on anything that comes your way. We’ve all learned how important it is to take care of ourselves – let’s put this into practice. If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your pharmacist or GP.
Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.