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  • Writer's pictureDr Andy Raffles

Medicine Cabinet for Children, an essential for travel (and home)

Eight out of 10 GPs believe patients are not sufficiently prepared for minor incidents and illnesses. Lack of preparedness for even minor health issues can result in unnecessary anxiety, and visits to emergency departments.

One survey revealed:

  • More than half of parents and carers couldn’t take their child’s temperature because they didn’t have a thermometer of any type

  • More than a third had no sunscreen

  • Two-thirds had no anti-histamines for allergic reactions and runny noses

  • A quarter had no antiseptic

  • One in ten had no Paracetamol or Ibuprofen

More than 400 relatively minor, self-limiting conditions can be treated with non-prescription drugs.

Potions and Lotions, Pills and Creams:

  • Analgesic (relieves pain) Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. Use supermarkets' own brands. Consider a supply of Paracetamol Suppositories (Prescription only in the UK – but can be bought over the counter in Europe)

  • Antiseptic ointment or creams (reduces the risk of infection) e.g. Savlon Cream

  • Antacid (relieves upset stomach) Gaviscon Infant

  • Antihistamine (relieves allergy symptoms) Piriton or Clarityn – syrups and tablets

  • Decongestant (relieves stuffy nose and other cold symptoms) e.g. Piriton

  • Teething Gel and Relievers e.g. Boots Alternatives Chamomilla sachets

  • Fever reducer (adult and child) Paracetamol based. Use supermarkets' own brand

  • Oral rehydration solution for diarrhoea or vomiting – for the under 1’s

  • 0.5% or 1% Hydrocortisone (relieves itching and inflammation)

  • Liquid Antiseptic (helps stop infection)

  • Calamine Lotion for chicken Pox spots, burns

  • Nystaform or Canesten Creams for nappy rash

  • Insect Bite reliever – After Bite

  • Insect repellent – Bite Block (combines with sunscreen)

  • Eyewash for sore eyes and washing out bits and pieces

  • GoldenEye Ointment for sticky eyes

  • Cold Sore Cream – Blisteze

  • Verruca Cream – Bazooka Gel

  • Travel-sickness tablets

  • Sunscreen - SPF15 or higher

  • Sunburn treatment - e.g. calamine lotion

Here's what to look for on the label when selecting over-the-counter medicines:

  • active ingredients and purpose

  • uses - indications

  • warnings - when not to use the medicine, when to stop taking the medicine, when to see a doctor, and possible side effects

  • directions - dosage information

  • any recent significant product changes

  • expiry date - when to throw it out

Although this may seem a large number of things to carry most are available locally if you need them, and are available in small amounts – for example, Paracetamol comes in sachets for travel. A small first aid kit is advisable – made up of some sticking plasters and a roll of bandage, especially if travelling with toddlers who are prone to scrapes and cuts!

Hopefully, everything will stay unused in its packaging and if travelling you will have an accident and illness free trip!

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