Top 10 Tips to Avoid an Illness on Holiday


Setting off on holiday is one of the most exciting events of the year – and even the journey to your holiday destination can seem like part of the adventure.

But many holidaymakers every year end up ill before they even arrive at their holiday resort – or spend most of their time in bed or in the loo once they get there.

Getting vaccinated before you set off on holiday should be a priority, as illnesses contracted on holiday can have long-term ill health effects. Keeping up-to-date with travel vaccinations is easy if you contact your GP surgery’s nurse practitioner, who will have a record of your travel jabs. Your tour operator will offer info about any jabs needed for the country you are visiting – some vaccinations need several jabs over weeks or months, so enquire well in advance. If you need malaria prevention treatment, make sure you take your medication regularly and for four weeks on your return home.

10 Tips to Avoid Illness on Holiday

Download and print our helpful guide so that you can avoid an illness on holiday!

Bottled water can be the best way to stay healthy on holiday – drink plenty to keep hydrated but only drink from sealed bottles in case bottles have been refilled or discarded by other drinkers. Avoid communal drinking jugs in the dining room and drinking fountains in public.

Taking a dip in the hotel pool is always something holidaymakers look forward to, extra caution is required when analysing the cleanliness of the pool. If you feel that the pool is not clean, its best to avoid that dip because it could cost you your holiday. You could contract many bacterial illnesses such as Cryptosporidium.

Lying in the sun is one of the most pleasurable parts of a summer holiday, but spend time in the shade whenever possible to help prevent sunstroke, dehydration and the risk of melanoma. Apply Factor 60 sun cream regularly and remember that the sun’s rays will still reach you through clothing and by bouncing off the water in the swimming pool. You will still feel warm and relaxed under a sun umbrella – but without the red nose and skin cancer risk.

Eating contaminated or poorly cooked food is one of the biggest causes of holiday food poisoning – and if you are travelling to exotic long-haul destinations, the temptation to join the locals and sample food from street vendors can be irresistible. However, intestinal infections like E.coli, salmonella and campylobacter are easily transmitted in undercooked or badly stored food and can also case long-term ill health such as irritable bowel syndrome. Eat well on holiday, but eat wisely.

Exercise en route is essential, especially on long haul flights or if you have taken a long coach or car journey before a flight. Deep vein thrombosis is a life-threatening condition which even young adults can develop, so keeping ankles flexing during flights and taking regular walks up and down the aircraft can help. This is especially important on economy flights when seats may be close together.

Ice cubes may seem an innocuous addition to your drink, but unless you are sure they have been made from bottled water, avoid them. Contaminated water can carry bacterial and parasitic infections like cryptosporidium, cholera or E.coli, leading to a holiday nightmare and long-term ill health.

Alcohol is part of relaxing and enjoying yourself, but drinking on the flight can increase dehydration and means you get drunk more quickly because of the altitude. Drink plenty of water on the flight and watch alcohol intake in resort – more holidaymakers are having accidents as a result of excessive drinking, so make sure you are not among them.

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