Enjoy Summer - Be Prepared & Be Healthy

Jul 17, 2022

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Summer is here and its time to have fun with the family and friends. Whether you are taking your camper or tent out, planning trips to the beach or exploring Riding Mountain National Park, 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; if 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, get it at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy. We have a variety of baby skin safe and reef safe products available you might not be able to find anywhere else. If you do get a burn, the best way to treat pain is with ibuprofen or naproxen. Use our store brand to save you money. If you cannot tolerate anti-inflammatories, acetaminophen is a good option. Topical aloe-vera and skin protectants can be used for their moisturizing effect.

Insect & Tick Bites

The worst part of Manitoba summers is the bugs, especially this year! 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 have an Epipen, check the date on it. 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. 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! If 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 if 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 subside, medical attention may be necessary. Non-prescription 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.

Finally, your camper, tent, suitcase, and car should have a first aid kit. First aid kits vary, so make sure it has the items to match your needs. Talk to a pharmacist about some items you might want to add.

Check List - Summer Travel & Camping

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

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


Travel Sized Beauty & Hygiene Products

Dental Care


Read more Health Articles

Unite Interactive