Being Prepared for Summer Travel

Jun 28, 2017

By Barret Procyshyn , Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Being Prepared for Summer Travel:

Summer is here and whether you are taking your camper to Dauphin's Countryfest or across the prairies on a road-trip it is important to be prepared in case someone in your family needs medical attention. From sunburn, to bug bites, to poison ivy; a variety of common ailments can be self-treated; as long as you have the right medication and supplies on hand.


The most effective way to deal with sun burn is to prevent it. Always use a sunscreen 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, which is at least SPF 30, on anyone over 6 months of age. If you are concerned about the ingredients in your sunscreen, try the new Live Clean and thinkbaby brands which are becoming quite popular. If you do get a burn the best way to treat pain is with ibuprofen, naproxen. It you cannot tolerate anti-inflammatories acetaminophen is a good option. Topical antibiotics can be used if skin in broken or blistered and you are concerned about infection. Otherwise, topical aloe vera or skin protectants can be used for their moisturizing effect.

Insect & Tick Bites

With Manitoba summers comes bugs! With an increased risk of Lyme disease the Brad Paisley Song - "Check you for ticks" has never been so important. You need to know how to recognize deer ticks and the first signs or symptoms of Lyme disease. Most ticks can be self-removed with tweezers and will only cause minor skin irritation. Insect stings most commonly cause mild allergic reactions at the bite site; such as hives, rash and swelling. Oral pain medications such as acetaminophen will usually help the pain, so make sure you have a bottle of that in your travel kit. Non-prescription topical corticosteroids like hydrocortisone are recommended to relieve redness, swelling and itchiness. Anyone with severe allergic reactions should always carry an Epipen nearby. If you get a bite or sting wash the spot with warm water and soap. Apply ice (max 10 minutes) or a cool compress to relieve irritation. In my opinion mosquitos are the worst of the insect family. There are a wide variety of insect sprays available for your family, even products suitable for an infant's sensitive skin. Topical corticosteroids also work great to help with the itchiness and redness so make sure you have a tube on hand.

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy and oak is the most common cause of contact dermatitis. There is no shortage of it in Manitoba and if you golf like I do, you will find it! As long as the rash does not lead to significant open, weeping wounds, a topical corticosteroid such as hydrocortisone can be applied to the affected area. One percent hydrocortisone is now available without a prescription. While poison ivy cannot be cured, and simply needs time to heal, this product will help decrease redness, irritation and itching, which will spread the rash.

Cuts & Scrapes

All wounds, cuts and scrapes will be contaminated with bacteria and infection can occur if the wound is not attended to. Signs of infection include redness, inflammation, warmth and tenderness. Minor or small wounds can usually be self-treated as long as bleeding can be controlled. Start by cleaning the wound as soon as possible to prevent infection and promote healing. Drinkable tap water works just as well as saline if you do not have any on hard. Next stop bleeding by applying a clean dressing to the wound area for 10 minutes. If bleeding continues or does not at least subside, medical attention is likely necessary. Nonprescription topical antibiotics are recommended to prevent infection and speed healing.

Diarrhea & Dehydration

You do not have to be on the beach in Cuba to develop diarrhea. To prevent diarrhea make sure you practice frequent hand washing, store food properly, prepare food properly and try to avoid foods which are normally upsetting to your GI tract. The biggest risk from diarrhea is becoming dehydrated, which can lead to some very severe health problems. If you develop diarrhea try to stay as hydrated as possible by drinking oral rehydration solutions or electrolyte containing drinks. Avoid alcohol, drinks with high sugar content and caffeinated beverages. Treating diarrhea in teens and adults with loperamide (Immodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) tablets can save your holiday.

To make your packing easier we will be posting a checklist of items you should consider taking on your summer trip on our Facebook page. The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy also sells DIEM Travel Light Kit ($40 Value for $19.99) contains antibiotic ointment, anti-itch cream, allergy formula (diphenhydramine), acetaminophen and diarrhea relief medication all in a convenient kit. On our travel wall we also have a good selection of travel sized health products and a pharmacist is always available to help select the right products you need for your family's trip. We also have very convenient first aid kits available at the DCP for purchase.

Because our customers choose to shop local, the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy is proud to sponsor and support a wide variety of summer community events in the area. We also wish to congratulate all the hard working volunteers who make these events happen! Good job Parkland!

Summer Travel & Camping

Health Checklist: Download PDF

This list is intended as a guide only. If you have any questions about which products you need to have on hand, please talk to your Dauphin Clinic Pharmacist. Your pharmacist can also help with destination specific medication if required.

  • Prescription Medication & Supplies
  • Medication and Allergy List
  • Insurance and Health Cards (copy)
  • Epi-Pen (for severe allergy)
  • First Aid Kit
  • DIEM Travel Lite Kit:
    • Antibiotic Ointment
    • Acetaminophen (Pain/Fever Medication)
    • Allergy Formula - Diphenhydramine
    • Diarrhea Medication - Loperamide
    • Topical Corticosteroid - Hydrocortisone
  • Antacids or Ranitidine
  • Motion Sickness Medication - Ex. Dimenhydrinate
  • Cold/Flu Medication
  • Oral rehydration Solution/Salt
  • Sunscreen (30 SPF or Higher)
  • Aloe Vera
  • Insect Repellant (with DEET)
  • Saline Lubricating Eye Drops
  • Hot/Cold Packs
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Thermometer
  • Travel Sized Beauty & Hygiene Products
  • Dental Care


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