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  • Location: United Kingdom
  • Age: 45
  • Blogging Since: October 27, 2011
  • Last Post: November 21, 2011
  • Total Posts: 16

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Help! I'm Going Aboard, but Don't Know What Medical Supplies to Take!

Posted October 29th, 2011 at 05:42pm

It's a question travel clinic nurses hear all the time; "I'm going abroad. Do I need to take a travel first aid kit?" OK, maybe not if you’re off to London to catch "The Lion King", but in areas where medical facilities aren't on the same level as in the UK it’s a sensible question. It’s always a good idea to have first aid equipment when travelling, but if visits are planned to remote areas, where medical facilities may be inadequate, you should take a sterile travel first aid kit containing needles and syringes.

In many countries rates of infection with blood borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C are higher than in the UK. Some countries do not have medical standards as high as those in the UK and equipment used may not be adequately sterilised, blood used for transfusions may not be screened for HIV, Hepatitis B and C. You quickly realise how, even if you are careful, a sterile travel first aid kit can quickly mean the difference between life and death.

Minor injuries:

You should be carrying adequate supplies so you can self-treat common traveller ailments, such as cuts, grazes and burns. In hot climates where there may be dust or poor hygiene you are more susceptible to infection. Wounds should be cleaned immediately, covered and if any signs of infection develop you should seek urgent medical help.


Things can go wrong when travelling, accidents can occur or you could get sick or injured on your trip. You might get hit by a dangerous driver, twist your ankle playing football, or just catch a good old fashioned stomach bug. Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that will adequately cover you in the event that you get sick or injured. Don't miss out any pre-existing medical conditions, because even minor conditions can invalidate your claim if they were not disclosed beforehand.

Make sure your insurance covers you for all the activities you wish to experience on your travels and includes cover for medical evacuation, personal injury and terrorist activity. A frightening statistic is that only 60% of insurance policies cover terrorism, so make sure you read the small print and have adequate cover.

What should my travel first aid kit contain?

Contents of a travel first aid kit will vary according to each traveller’s needs. Things to consider adding to your travel first aid kit include:

Emergency Medications: antibiotics for wound infections, pain killers, prescribed medications - keep these in their original packaging.

Diarrhoea Treatment: oral rehydration saltsare particularly important if you are travelling with children. Prevention is the best cure, so start taking antidiarrhoeal medication from a couple of weeks before you leave. Alcohol hand gel can be useful for when there are no hand washing facilities available.

Injuries: a selection of swabs and dressings.

Lotions: you can purchase treatments for eye infections from your local pharmacy. It might also be useful to have an antibiotic ointment to treat skin infections (such as fucidin) and a cream to apply to burns. An antihistamine cream is useful for treating rashes and insect bites.

Equipment: a digital thermometer, sterile gloves, ticket removers and safety pins, tweezers, scissors.

Mosquitoes: mosquito nets, insect repellents (especially if travelling to areas where malaria and other mosquito borne diseases are present).

Sterile Equipment: sterile needles and syringes, intravenous cannula for a drip, suture material for sewing up skin. These should be in a specially designed kit. It's advisable to get these in a specially prepared sterile first aid kit. This should contain a declaration signed by a doctor that the syringes are intended for medical use. This should reassure customs officials that you are not a drug addict and, in an emergency, can also be used to explain to foreign doctors what the kit is for.

Documentation: first aid book, details of blood group and regular medication, copies of prescriptions if carrying prescribed medication. 

DIY Conservatories

Posted October 27th, 2011 at 06:06pm


So, you want to buy a conservatory, but you’re on a budget. You don’t want to sacrifice quality: if you're going to end up with a conservatory you don't want, you might as well not waste your money. You can save a lot of money by erecting the conservatory yourself. From “Changing Rooms” and “Home Improvement” all the way through to the more grandiose plans of “Grand Designs”, DIY has become a popular past time over the last couple of decades. We’re all busy putting up shelves and curtain poles, so why should a conservatory bother you?

First of all, rest assured that doing it yourself doesn’t mean sacrificing choice. DIY conservatories come in all shapes and sizes, and most popular designs are available for home construction. These include the lean to designs popular for use with bungalows, as well as more traditional Victorian and Edwardian designs. DIY conservatories also offer the opportunity for you to design your own style of conservatory. Maybe you need something slightly smaller than the standard design, or a conservatory twice the size of any on the market.

You can adapt your design so you have a conservatory that maximises your available space. If you have a paved veranda or patio, then you are already one step towards having your own conservatory. Many suppliers offer DIY conservatories which are designed to be built up around pre-existing patios or verandas. It also removes one of the trickiest parts of conservatory construction; digging the foundations and pouring concrete. Of course, confidence in your own ability isn't the sole necessary qualification. You have to have the skills and experience to back it up. We’ve joked about it, but it’s important to remember that building a conservatory is a construction job like any other and shouldn’t be taken on lightly.

Even if you have plenty of experience in similar minor construction jobs (e.g. erecting a garden shed, porch or treehouse), sit down and run through everything that you might need to know for the job. Do you know how to dig foundations? If you’re planning to add certain amenities, do you have the necessary experience and qualifications? Have you ever plumbed in a water supply before? Are you familiar with wiring? Remember, it is illegal for unqualified personnel to go messing about with gas supplies. If you do have the experience and are confident in yourself, then that’s great. Enjoy yourself. If, however, you realise your skills are lacking, then there is no shame in calling in a professional builder, electrician, glazier, etc.

You can always order your dream DIY conservatory and then have a builder you are familiar with build it. That way, you will still make a saving on the astronomical costs of getting one firm to supply and build it. You might alternatively get help in for specific parts of the job. You might have all the necessary experience to erect DIY conservatories and fit blinds, flooring, etc, but get a spark in to do the electrics. Make sure when you buy a DIY conservatory that your supplier is willing and able to answer any questions you may have during construction or further down the line.

Even the most confident of conservatory experts will need to call in a couple of mates to help with certain stages of the build. You can’t lift and fit an entire conservatory on your own. Once it’s up, you can sit back and enjoy your custom-designed conservatory. And how much better will it feel knowing you built it with your own bare hands (or, at least, slightly fuller pocket)?