LONDON, June 4 /PRNewswire/ --

Millions of Brits are dicing with disaster and placing their health at risk when taking overseas holidays, research from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) reveals.

The RPSGB's Holiday Health report, released today, shows our laid-back attitude to our well-being can quickly turn perfect holidays into perfectly ghastly experiences.

The RPSGB is urging Brits to visit their local pharmacy for holiday health advice and essential products before they head off on their summer holiday - after all, no one wants to be part of the 44 per cent who suffer from nasty insect bites, or the 40 per cent who find themselves struck down by diarrhoea while abroad.

Other common illnesses which can turn dream holidays diabolical include sunburn or heatstroke - causing misery to 37 per cent of British holiday-makers - headache or migraine (20 per cent) and vomiting or food poisoning (14 per cent).

Even more worryingly, the research shows half of all Brits who have travelled to countries where tropical diseases are prevalent have suffered illness or infection - yet one in nine says they do not take even basic medication and health essentials, like water purification tablets and insect repellent, with them on their travels despite these products being readily available at pharmacies.

The good news is many ailments can be avoided, or treated effectively, if members of the public go to their local pharmacy for products and advice before leaving for that well-earned holiday. Pharmacists are among the most accessible of healthcare professionals, with branches open in the high street at convenient times - often when GP surgeries are closed. In addition, many pharmacies also offer private consultation rooms. Research from the RPSGB shows 99 per cent of people can reach a pharmacy within 20 minutes.

The RPSGB's Head of Practice, Heidi Wright said: Pharmacists are medicines experts and are ideally placed to help with your holiday health needs. It is important people visit their local pharmacy for a free consultation, and to stock up on health essentials, before embarking on their summer holidays.

Notes to editors:

1. Survey

Original RPSGB research, involving 1,980 adults aged 18 years and over, was carried out by YouGov between 19-21 May 2009.

2. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is the professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. It also regulates pharmacy technicians on a voluntary basis, which will become statutory from 1 July 2009. The primary objectives of the RPSGB are to lead, regulate, develop and represent the profession of pharmacy.

The RPSGB leads and supports the development of the profession within the context of the public benefit. This includes the advancement of science, practice, education and knowledge in pharmacy. In addition, it promotes the profession's policies and views to a range of external stakeholders in a number of different forums.

Following the publication in 2007 of the Government White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety - The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century, the RPSGB is working towards the demerger of its regulatory and professional roles. This will see the establishment of a new General Pharmaceutical Council and a new professional body for pharmacy in 2010. For further information, visit

For media enquiries please contact the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Public Relations Unit +44-207-572-2336