Holiday & Travel Advice

Before you travel, make sure you visit one of Sedem Pharmacies to get up to date advice. All our trained Pharmacists can offer advice on:

  • Malaria prevention
  • Travel Sickness
  • Sun protection
  • Protection against insect stings and bites
  • Medication for stomach upsets
Plus information and advice on how to avoid stomach upsets and how to ensure that you have enough supplies of your regular medication for the entirety of your trip.

Whatever your reasons for going abroad, you may be entitled to medical care at reduced cost or sometimes free. Your entitlement will vary based on whether you're going to a European Economic Area country (EEA) or elsewhere in the world.

Free EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)

If you're going abroad on holiday or a business trip, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which may give you access to reduced-cost medical treatment.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the old E111 in 2006.

Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth.

The EHIC is valid in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland. For more information about what is covered in each country and for details of how to apply go to

  • You must be over 16 years of age in order to apply yourself.

Travel Vaccinations

There’s no point spending hours choosing your swimwear, beach bag and flip-flops if you barely think about the bugs and other health risks that could ruin your holiday.

Almost one in four UK holidaymakers don't get any vaccinations despite travelling to areas that have life-threatening infectious disease.

Find out which travel jabs you need for your destination visit or contact your local Travel Clinic.

Anti Malaria Medication

If you will need Anti-Malaria tablets, please go to our online Advice Cenre and click on Anti-Malaria for more information.

Sun Protection

Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days.

UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.

The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors. To protect yourself from UV exposure:

  • Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.


The sun's UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Put on sunscreen before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don't forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back.

How Sunscreen Works

Most sun protection products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.


Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15.


Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours, and after you swim or do things that make you sweat.

Expiration Date

Check the sunscreen's expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.


Some make-up and lip balms contain some of the same chemicals used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, don't use them by themselves.

Travel Sickness (Motion Sickness)

Motion sickness is a general term for an unpleasant combination of symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting, that can occur when you are travelling.

In most cases, symptoms of motion sickness improve as your body adapts to the conditions causing the problem. For example, if you have motion sickness on a cruise ship, your symptoms may improve after a couple of days. However, some people do not adapt and have symptoms until they leave the environment that is causing them.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness is thought to occur when there is a conflict between what your eyes see and what your inner ears, which help with balance, sense. Your brain receives a jumble of contrasting information, which is thought to bring on the symptoms of motion sickness.

Treating Motion Sickness

Mild symptoms of motion sickness can usually be improved with self-care techniques, such as closing your eyes and distracting yourself by listening to music.

More serious symptoms of motion sickness can be treated with medication.

There are two widely used travel sickness medications, hyoscine is generally considered to be a little more effective than promethazine. However, Promethazine is less sedative and therefore may suit some people better.

Travel Insurance

By taking out travel insurance and getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can avoid huge medical bills if you have an emergency during your trip.

Healthcare is free at the point of delivery in the UK, but don't assume it's the same abroad. You will often have to pay part, if not all, of your medical bills. If it's serious, the costs could easily be very high. Having travel insurance and the EHIC can avoid large medical bills, delays in treatment and undue stress in the event of a medical emergency.

Check Your Policy

The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property.

It's important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy. Some insurers now insist you hold an EHIC and many will waive the excess if you have one.

Each country’s healthcare system varies, so your EHIC may not cover all costs or you may be expected to pay for your treatment and then claim a refund using your EHIC or insurance policy.

Travel insurance will cover other medical costs that the EHIC will not, such as paying for your return journey if illness delays you, or covering your personal contributions towards treatment.

You will also normally receive cover for non-medical emergencies, such as replacing possessions or a lost passport.

You may not be fully covered if you are doing any hazardous sports, such as climbing or skiing. Check whether your policy covers the activities you'll be doing.

Prescription Medication

Before you travel, make sure that you have adequate supplies of your prescription medication for the entirety of your trip. You will need to speak to your GP Surgery or prescriber if your regular repeat prescription is due while you are away.

If your local Sedem Pharmacy normally collect and/or deliver your prescriptions, you will need to let them know of the changes to your normal arrangements.