It is no secret that we are travelling further and to more ‘exotic’ destinations than we were some 20 years ago, but what I was surprised to learn from a newspaper article the other day, is that six out of ten travellers fall sick during their holiday!
Spanish tummy, sunstroke and mosquito bites are about as serious as it gets in the Mediterranean, but if you are heading down to South America, Southern Africa or Southeast Asia, you might want to stock up on the Imodium and do a little research before you leave home, if you are to avoid the Top 5 most common Travel Bugs:
Diarrhoea, Deli-belly, Spanish tummy, we’ve heard it all, but a surprising amount of travellers seem to get an upset stomach while they are away. Bottled water is a must in any country below the equator (and many above it), and if you do have a sensitive tum, you should avoid ice too.
While I seem to have a stomach lined with steel, I always put chilli on my food abroad, avoid salad (unless I have seen it washed) and stick to bottled drinks, and in the 50-odd countries I have visited so far, I have only had an upset stomach once – in England!
2. Food Poisoning
This can happen anywhere in the world, and there have been more cases reported in the UK during this sweltering summer spell than ever before, but if you are going somewhere warm and tropical on holiday, you need to take extra care.
Be wary of ‘all day buffets’ at all-inclusive resorts, and if you buy fresh fruits and salads from local markets give them an extra good wash – much the same as you would at home. Tabasco seems to serve me well, and as I have it on virtually everything – it must keep the bacteria at bay!
3. Insect Bites
Now this is where I do not do too well! If there is one mosquito within a hundred mile radius, you can guarantee it will find me!
Insect repellent is always handy to have in your suitcase, and if you are heading to tropical countries during their summer months, it is a necessity. While most mosquito bites are harmless (but damn itchy!), malaria is present in many African,South American and Asian countries. It is therefore advisable to do your research before you leave home.
4. Sun Burn
It is so tempting to lie out in the sun ALL DAY on the first day of your holiday, but the after effects can be quite devastating. Sunburn is not only painful but it also increases the risk of skin cancer (especially amongst children), so take it easy and slap on the factor 30!
5. Heat Stroke
A knock-on effect from the sunburn, heat stroke can leave you feeling dizzy, nauseous and violently ill, so stay cool and drink plenty of water during the heat of the day. I’m not even going to suggest you keep your cocktails to a minimum; you are on holiday after all, so just wear a big hat and sit under a palm tree when you sip a Mojito!