Illness on holiday, whether it’s during travel or whilst you’re away, can feel even worse than usual when you aren’t in a familiar place. To combat them, read on to find out the most common travel illnesses and what to do if you are struck down on your travels.
Motion sickness is a combination of symptoms, including dizziness, nausea and vomiting that occurs when travelling. It can also include headaches, drowsiness and shallow breathing.
Most of the time, the symptoms of motion sickness will improve over time. For instance, if you have seasickness on a cruise ship holiday, then your symptoms may get better after a couple of days.
Avoid eating a large meal or drinking alcohol before travelling, choose a cabin or seat in the middle of the boat or plane, and try to keep as still as possible. Drink lots of water and keep hydrated. If your symptoms are bad they can be treated with medication, or if they are milder then try ginger sweets or peppermints.
Affecting four in 10 Brits when they go abroad, traveller’s diarrhoea is caused by unfamiliar germs, particularly in drinking water. Food that hasn’t been thoroughly heated or left out at room temperature is likely to cause traveller’s diarrhoea.
You can reduce this risk by following good food and water hygiene practices. Avoid ice, and only drink bottled water.
If you get traveller’s diarrhoea, make sure that you keep dehydrated, and take diarrhoea tablets with you when you travel.
Sunburn occurs because of too much sun exposure, causing red, sore skin. Sunscreen can provide some protection, but it should not be relied on too heavily as it cannot protect you completely. Make sure that you stay out of the sun between noon and 3pm, wear a hat and sunglasses and use a minimum of factor 15 sunscreen for best results. Reapply regularly, and especially after a swim, even if it’s waterproof.
If you do get sunburnt, soak a flannel in cool water and apply to the affected areas. This will relieve pain and take the heat out of the skin. Apply aftersun lotion, and take ibuprofen to reduce pain. If a child has sunburn, or your skin has blistered, or you feel sick or feverish, then go to the doctor.
Most insect bites and stings are simply puncture wounds, and can be red, swollen and itchy, but are essentially harmless. However, some stings can be very painful and trigger and allergic reaction. If scratched raw, bites or stings can become infected.
To avoid being bitten or stung, keep your skin covered at dawn and at dusk, wear light colours and don’t use strong scents on your skin. Apply a mosquito repellent to your skin every 6 hours or so, and spray clothes too. Don’t panic when you encounter wasps or bees. Remain calm and back away slowly, and don’t wave your arms around or swat at them.
Treat a bite by washing with soap and water, and cover with a cold flannel. Try not to scratch it.
If you, or someone who’s been bitten begins to have difficulties breathing or swallowing, then call an ambulance.