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OTC Holiday Health: Summer in the UK

By July 18, 2020 No Comments

People living in the UK normally go on more than 60 million trips abroad a year. However,  coronavirus will likely change people’s holiday habits. So, you’ll need to be prepared with the advice they need for taking different types of holidays this summer.

You can help customers prepare by stocking up on the right medicines and products. This means they can enjoy a safe and healthy holiday whether abroad or at home.

What does this mean for your travel clinic?

There will be less requirement for the pharmacy’s travel health clinics, where vaccinations and antimalarials are part of the core service.

Instead, there will be more demand for advice and recommendations for holiday health in the UK. Plus summer health-related issues for people who have decided to forgo a holiday and spend their time off in the garden or on day trips. 

Pharmacy staff training may help you prepare for this shift and make the most of the new opportunities. This means you can help reposition the pharmacy’s travel health clinic as a ‘holiday’ or ‘summer’ health service.

Summer health service offerings 

You might be supplying your local customers with summer health products or maybe your pharmacy will see an influx of visitors. Either way, consider what you can offer as part of your summer or holiday health service this year. 

Think about how holiday choices may change this year, such as “staycations”, more day trips or going camping. 

Insect repellent & bite products

Whether it’s the notorious midges in Scotland or people simply spending more time in the garden, stock up on insect repellent and insect bite products.

How to treat an insect bite:

  • Remove the stinger or tick and wash the area to help prevent any infection.
  • Reduce any inflammation or itching from a bite or sting using a cold compress or an antihistamine cream.
  • Over-the-counter painkillers and oral antihistamines can also be taken to help treat any pain or mild reactions.

Lyme’s Disease

Lyme disease is a rare complication from a tick bite. Most tick bites are harmless however it’s still important to properly remove a tick using fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can lay dormant for several weeks but include a circular rash around the bite site and flu-like symptoms.

Suncare

Just because more people are more likely to holiday in the UK doesn’t mean suncare is less important:

Tips for Preventing Sunburn

  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30+ and reapply every two hours.
  • Never assume sun exposure is safe as UV levels are not linked to temperature.
  • Wear hats, cover exposed skin where possible and seek out the shade.
  • Avoid the parts of the day when the sun is highest.
  • Black and Asian skin may still require protection from extreme sun exposure.

Tips for treating sunburn

  • Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
  • Apply a cold compress or cool, wet flannel to the burnt area.
  • Use spray-on after sun treatments that require less touching of the skin.
  • Use over-the-counter pain relief if necessary.
  • Stay out of the sun until the burn is completely healed.

If the burn is over a large area or is causing severe pain, always recommend a visit to A&E. Other more serious symptoms that require a visit to A&E include headaches, fever, dizziness, nausea and vomiting which should always be referred on.

Summer allergies

As the months warm up so too does the pollen count. And that means summer allergies such as hay fever.

Hayfever starts around March/April and can continue throughout the summer, depending on which plant species an individual is allergic to. 

OTC treatments for hayfever

  • Oral Antihistamines – Antihistamines help relieve many of the symptoms related to hay fever and seasonal allergies. Examples include Cetirizine, Loratidine, Chlorphenamine, and Promethazine. 
  • DecongestantsDecongestants are especially useful in relieving symptoms of nasal congestion as well as hay fever.
  • Corticosteroids – relieve swelling and inflammation including those of allergic reactions. Steroid creams are also available to treat allergic reactions to insect bites.

Summer first aid kit 

Help customers prepare for minor accidents. For example, a summer first aid kit can include repellent and suncare products as well as diarrhoea, hayfever and travel sickness medicines.

Team effort 

Find out from your pharmacist what your role can be in supporting the pharmacy’s summer health service. For example, this could involve: 

  • Promoting the service through word of mouth or POS
  • Signposting customers to the latest online travel restrictions advice
  • Topping up summer health leaflets
  • Keeping the consultation room tidy and equipped with what is needed for a summer health service 

Holiday Health Training for Pharmacy Staff – Course Overview

Mediapharm’s Holiday Health Training for pharmacy staff will enable you to offer the best advice and products for managing common conditions in this area. It will focus on traveller’s diarrhoea, travel sickness, suncare and bites and stings. 

By the end of the course, you will be able to

  • Give advice on some common holiday health problems
  • Recommend treatments for holiday health problems
  • Recognise which types of holiday health symptoms require a referral to the pharmacist 

The Holiday Health training course will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. The course includes optional videos to enhance the learning. These are additional to the main course content but accommodate different learning styles. 

Access the FREE eLearning Holiday Health Course

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Access the FULL Holiday Health Training Course

This article was written on behalf of Mediapharm by Nicola Hasted from Pharmacy Mentor.