How To Avoid Illness On Holiday

Many of us know the misery of a getting sick when in a strange place, and more often than not, the illness is food related. A little bit of thought and forward planning can go a long way to avoiding many of the problems. By using Our advice, we can all do our best to avoid illness and make your holiday the pleasant experience it should be.

Have your injections

Some of the more of the more exotic locations require inoculations well in advance of traveling to avoid certain diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.

Boost your immune system

A strong immune system will help your body fight any germs and bacteria you may pick up on your travels. Try to get plenty of sleep, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, and take some exercise.

Don’t overdo it

Although you might want to pack so much in to your day, it is important that you get plenty of rest. A tired person is more susceptible to illness. Likewise, too much alcohol will have a similar impact on the body’s abilities to cope.

Be careful in the sun

It is far too easy to get carried away and forget about protecting yourself from the sun. Wearing a hat can help prevent sunstroke, as suncreams and clothing can prevent burning.

Watch your food:

Keeping a firm eye on what we eat and drink is the best way of avoiding a stomach upset.

Here’s our advice:

If you have any doubts about water available for drinking, washing food or cleaning teeth the best advice is to use bottled water.

Avoid ice in drinks unless you are sure it has been made from bottled water.

Avoid food that has been kept warm.

Avoid uncooked food, unless you can peel or shell it yourself.

Be careful with fish and shellfish. Uncooked shellfish, such as oysters, are a particular hazard.

General food advice:

Drink plenty of fluid when traveling, particularly when in hot countries. Many people fail to heed this advice and end up dehydrated.

Common sense tells us if a restaurant or food does not look clean, don’t eat there.

Listen to other travelers and follow their recommendations for good places to eat.

Tips for avoiding disease carrying insects:

When getting out and about, it is likely that we encounter an array of small insects and mosquitoes. To avoid being bitten or becoming a host for a parasite such as ticks, you should:

Keep arms and legs covered in the early mornings and evenings when mosquitoes are present.

Use plenty of repellent:

Turn off room lights at night, as insects are attracted to light.

Check our bodies and clothing for any insects, especially after a walk or safari.

Avoid bright coloured clothing that may attract insects.

If we should fall ill, then many of the ailments can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, some of which we should have included when packing. However, if someone should appear particularly ill then it is always wise to seek medical help.

How to stay safe in the sun:

When taking a break, most of us prefer the option of heading for the sun with one of the first priorities to gain a golden tan. While a tan may look attractive, it does not come without costs, with the sun contributing to premature aging, and in some cases leading to skin cancer.

The sun does provide vitamin D, a necessary vitamin for healthy living, but when it comes to sun exposure the best general advice is to avoid tanning.

To stay safe in the sun, we need to minimise exposure to ultra violet radiation (UVR). To do this:

Limit exposure:

Avoid exposure to the sun between 10am and 3pm, as this is the period of the day when the sun’s UVR levels are highest.

Seek shade:

Sitting in the shade reduces the amount of UVR you receive, but this doesn’t fully protect you as UVR reflects off many surfaces such as sand and water, so other methods of skin protection should be utilized.

Personal protection:


Sunscreen should be used at all times when in the sun, regardless of how dark your skin is. A sun protection factor of 30+ is best. The higher the number, the greater the protection.

Sunscreen should be applied to the skin at least 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapplied every two hours or more frequently if swimming or perspiring. Sunscreen should not be relied on as the sole form of protecting the skin.

Wear a shirt

Wearing a shirt, especially one with long sleeves and collars provides additional protection.

Wear a hat

A broad-brimmed hat that covers the head, face, neck and ears will provide the most protection. For children a legionnaire-style hat with added protection for the neck is best.


Quality sunglasses that meet the necessary standards provide good protection for the eyes from UVRs. A close fitting, wrap around style affords the maximum protection for the eyes

Protecting young children

Youngsters should be kept safe by applying all the tips mentioned above. Young skin is particularly susceptible to burning and damage caused to the skin when young is usually permanent. Many sunscreen products indicate suitability for use on babies and children.

That covers the basics for staying safe in the sun. Now some other general advice that may be of use:

Do not fool yourself into thinking that if you are not hot that you are not burning. The damage done to the skin is done by UVRs, not related to temperature.

Avoid the need for a super deep tan. Remember that a sun tan is a sign of sun damage and the deeper the tan, the worse the damage and greater the risk of skin cancer. A skin like leather is also not particularly attractive!

Start with exposure to sun early in the day or late in the afternoon. Exposure can be increased gradually.

You can still get sunburned on cloudy days or when sitting in the shade.


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