By Stephanie Simons,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire
All across Bermuda, there’s excitement in the air. Bags are being packed, flights are being booked, out-office-emails are ready to roll – yes, it’s finally time for your summer vacation!
Alongside your passport, your swimsuit and your summer reads, you need to make sure your body has everything it needs too. Whether you’re heading across the globe, or staying closer to home, it’s important to be prepared.
Different countries and climates require different preparation so make sure you do your research and plan ahead. For many destinations, you will need specific vaccinations to protect you from tropical diseases. Those travelling to very hot areas of the world such as Asia or South America, for example, will need Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid and Diphtheria vaccinations, and additional shots for diseases like rabies or cholera if you’re visiting certain regions. Vaccinations don’t come cheap, so it’s important to factor the cost into your holiday budget.
The best thing to do is see your pharmacist or travel nurse at least six-eight weeks before you’re due to travel, to find out exactly what vaccinations you need.
Foreign environments can put the body under stress, even if you’ve had all the required vaccinations, so it’s always good to give your health a boost before you go. Make sure you’re topped up on your vitamins and minerals, both through a varied, nutritious diet and with supplements such as Centrum and Rainbow Light where needed. You can also help ready your immune system for a different climate with natural remedies like Echinacea and Goldenseal by Nature’s Bounty or Nature’s Truth. High in antioxidants, Echinacea can be taken in tablets or teas, and is known to reduce inflammation, boost your immunity and soothe feelings of anxiety that can arise when travelling long-distance.
Busy packing your suitcase? You should also consider what you’ll need once you arrive at your destination. Allergies can turn any holiday sour if you’re not fully equipped. For instance, many people suffer from sun allergies such as rashes or itchiness when they encounter stronger sunlight than they’re used to, so it’s helpful to have a sun cream of SPF 30 or more on hand, such as Raw Elements, Blue Lizard and Neutrogena or even a sun screen specifically developed for sensitive skin such as Raw Elements and Think Baby.
Insects can also play havoc with your skin while you’re away, especially those pesky mosquitoes we’re all so familiar with. It’s Fight the Bite month in Bermuda this month and it’s just as important to keep yourself safe from insects and the diseases they spread while you’re away. Prevention is key, and with insect repellents for your skin, Off, Cutter or Badger Sunblock + Repellent, and your bedroom – essential oils like peppermint and citronella are fantastic natural repellents and they smell nice too! – You can help keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay. However, anyone can get caught out. With the right vaccines, there’s no need to panic, but it’s good to have a handy bottle (or tube) of Hydrocortisone, Benadryl or Anthisan creams in your case to sooth those irritating bites and get back to enjoying your holiday.
Still a bit unsure? Speak to your pharmacist or GP. We can talk you through everything you and your family need to stay healthy on holiday, from the best sun cream to accessing medical services abroad. By preparing in advance, you can head off on vacation with peace of mind and get straight to the important business of relaxing and enjoying yourself. Trust me, you deserve it.
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.