New research commissioned by Sainsbury’s Pharmacy reveals the extent to which mums worry as their Teenagers jet off alone on their first parent-free summer holiday, with one third of the 2,000 parents of Teenagers polled, revealing that they had succumbed to teen tantrums to allow their under 18-years-olds to go away. However, given the choice, 79 per cent of parents thought the most appropriate age for them to venture abroad without a parent was 18 or over.
A major cause for parental concern is health with the research indicating that 69 per cent of parents do not trust their Teenagers to pack basic pharmacy essentials, or be able to cope with common holiday ailments like sun burn, mosquito bites or diarrhoea.
Mums across the country say their teenage children aren’t able to cope with even the simplest of holiday complaints. Although 70 per cent think their teenager would know how to treat a hangover, half think they wouldn’t know what to do if they developed sun stroke and 20 per cent don’t think their kids could deal with diarrhoea. Only a third think that their son or daughter could handle a rash and one in five think that their teen wouldn’t know how to treat a mosquito bite.
The survey also revealed the items mums feel most important to pack in their Teens’ suitcases. Unsurprisingly, they rate suncream as the number one item for their Teens to take away, with aftersun a close second. However, contraception and concerns about teenagers’ sexual health and potential unplanned pregnancies also appears high on the agenda with almost a fifth of parents ensuring their teenagers pack contraception.
As a result, half of mums have admitted to pulling together an entire first aid kit of holiday pharmacy essentials in the past. Two thirds of mums say they are prepared to spend up to £25 on holiday health items for peace of mind, while one in ten are willing to spend over £40 and three per cent are willing to spend over £100 to make sure their child is properly stocked up.
Health can make or break a holiday, so teenagers away for the first time need to prioritise packing the right essentials."
Sainsbury’s is currently seven months into The Wells Challenge, a year long pharmacy initiative to get more people talking to their pharmacists to improve their health and wellbeing. 10 families across the country – all with the surname Wells – have been tasked to improve their health over 12 months with the help of their local Sainsbury’s pharmacist. Kate Wells, from Loughborough, and her daughter Elizabeth are one of the families talking to their pharmacist about holiday health as part of the challenge.
Ketan Bhatt, a pharmacist at Sainsbury’s, said: “Left to their own devices young travellers are the worst offenders when it comes to looking after themselves abroad, although they are usually the ones hell bent on having the most fun.
"Health can make or break a holiday, so teenagers away for the first time need to prioritise packing the right essentials. Our research shows that mums are doing as much as they can to help their kids, but teenagers also need to take responsibility for their own holiday health.
"We have pulled together a quick guide for teenagers going on holiday on their own for the first time, but if in doubt pop into your local Sainsbury’s pharmacist who can give you free Travel Advice and information.”
Kate Wells said: “My 15-year-old daughter Elizabeth is going to India this summer and is really excited about her holiday. It’s great that she’s got the chance to explore a new place but I’m a bit nervous as it’s a long way from home. We’ve talked with our Sainsbury’s pharmacist, Ketan, about the trip and discussed the sorts of things she’ll need such as malaria medication and vaccinations.
"Ketan has also given Elizabeth advice on what foods she should avoid while she’s away to make sure an unexpected illness doesn’t ruin her holiday.”
As health can make or break a holiday, Sainsbury’s Pharmacy has put together a list of Teen Trip Tips. Before zipping their suitcase closed, teenagers are urged to use this checklist to ensure they have packed the pharmacy essentials they will need for their trip:
1. Travel medicines including painkillers and products to treat diarrhoea, insect bites, travel sickness, sunburn and infection. Alcohol gel sanitizer is also very useful.
2. A first aid kit with antiseptic (wipes/spray/cream), plasters, bandages, tweezers and scissors.
3. Insect spray or other mosquito repellent to assist protect you against uncomfortable bites.
4. Sunscreen to help protect against excessive exposure to harmful UV rays. Speak to your pharmacist about your skin type and they will advise you on the range of SPF’s you will need for your trip.
5. Pack any daily medication you may need to take.
6. Contraception to safeguard your sexual health and protect you from an unplanned pregnancy.
7. Make sure you have travel insurance and also pack proof of any health insurance policy you belong to. It is also advisable to leave copies of all travel details such as accommodation, airlines, passport, insurance etc with a family member at home.
8. Lastly, ensure you have received any appropriate malaria prophylaxis (depending on travel destination) and vaccinations necessary for your trip and carry an up to date international vaccination card.
Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM