WHEN it comes to packing for a summer holiday, what about first aid and healthcare essentials?

Beat the burn with sun protection

While an appropriate amount of sun is good for us (as it creates vitamin D), too much time in the sun's rays can cause sunburn, skin cancer and premature ageing - so protecting your skin is paramount.

LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Matt Courtney-Smith says you should wear it every day even when the sun isn't out."

He suggests looking for a factor of at least 15 to protect against UVB and at least four-star UVA protection.

"You should check that your sun cream is within date, and you shouldn't use sun cream which is over two to three years old," Courtney-Smith adds.

Ease achy joints with natural pain relief

"A long journey which restricts movement can cause pain, and when it starts during travel this can become very uncomfortable," says GP Dr Paul Stillman.

You could also try a natural pain relief product like FlexiQule Natural Joint Support (£16.99, LloydsPharmacy), a joint care supplement containing the active ingredients gingerol and boswellia, which may be helpful for reducing inflammation.

Treat travel tummy with rehydration sachets

Stomach ache and digestive upsets can often hit travellers, usually because they're exposed to unfamiliar food and germs. Courtney-Smith explains: "Diarrhoea can be caused by a number of germs, the most common being E.coli and salmonella (found in contaminated foods). It can also be caused by a parasite such as Giardia, which is found in contaminated water."

It's also important to drink water mixed with rehydration sachets, which replace any lost salts and electrolytes.

Beat jet lag with a sleep supplement

We all know that jet lag is the worst. You arrive in paradise, only to spend the first few days struggling to keep your eyes open.

Sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan suggests it's a case of mind over matter, believing that a little self-suggestion can go a long way. "Tell yourself that you've woken up, you've slept and you're going to feel fine and have a good day. This way you're less likely to see any negative impacts," she says.

"There are techniques that can be used to get back to sleep, including taking a supplement such as Benenox Overnight Recharge (£9.99, Boots), which can help settle your nervous system," she adds. "With the right approach, support and techniques, you should be able to effortlessly glide back into your sleep."

Treat your feet with dry heel balm

"Wearing thin-soled, unsupportive shoes like summery flip-flops creates stresses on the foot that increases the creation of hard skin," podiatrist Emma Supple warns.

Wearing mules or slingback shoes can also create a 'slapping' of the feet onto the shoes, that again creates calluses and dry, hard skin.

"Keeping skin well-moisturised with the daily application of a good quality urea-based foot balm is a really great habit to get into because your skin is a marvel and when well nourished, can fix its own problems.

"It is damaged skin, infected skin and under-pressure skin that causes painful areas, whether that is in the form of blisters, corns or calluses," adds Supple. "Keeping skin well-nourished makes a big difference."

Manage bug bites with antihistamine cream

Although not usually serious, insect bites are a nuisance and can cause itchy, sore skin.

"Bites can cause a range of symptoms, including a red, swollen lump on the skin and itchiness," explains Courtney-Smith. "Some people may have a mild allergic reaction to a bite, and this can cause it to become swollen and painful."

In these cases, he advises you seek advice from your pharmacist, and arrange a GP appointment if your pharmacist recommends.

"For milder symptoms, an antihistamine creams (such as Anthisan Bite and Sting Cream, £3.99, LloydsPharmacy) can help soothe itchiness caused by bites and may also help to reduce swelling around the area."

Appropriate travel insurance

OK - technically not an item to 'pack' in your suitcase, but travel insurance should still feature on your holiday medical must-haves.

It's important to arrange insurance before you leave - being sure to declare any pre-existing health conditions/illnesses/surgery, etc - so you don't get landed with a hefty medical bill should you get injured or fall ill while away and require assistance.

If you're travelling in the EU, the NHS also advises applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to cover the costs of any essential treatment while you're abroad.