Make sure a tan is all you bring home from holiday

Don't forget to pack more than just your bikini for a holiday abroad
Don't forget to pack more than just your bikini for a holiday abroad
Yachts taking part in last years Clipper Round the World Race			             	  Picture: onEdition

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We all want to return from holiday glowing and relaxed, but it seems many of us pack our bags but not our common sense when it comes to our health while we’re away.

Half of all holidaymakers suffer an illness or injury on a break, according to Department of Health statistics.

Here’s how to cope with four of the most common health problems travellers will experience:

TRAVEL SICKNESS

Travel or motion sickness can ruin the start of a holiday.

It’s a temporary disturbance of the balance system based deep in the inner ear, which can be triggered by repetitive, rhythmical movements.

WHAT CAN I DO?

‘Don’t eat before travelling and avoid fizzy drinks,’ says GP, Dr Roger Henderson.

‘Don’t read, try to stay in the fresh air and focus on a fixed object in the distance such as the horizon.’

Try to sit in the middle of the ship or aircraft.

‘Anti-sickness tablets or medicines taken an hour before travel often help, although may cause drowsiness. If the sickness you’ve experienced is severe, your GP can prescribe medication but discuss this with your doctor as this is a powerful treatment.’

HEAT STROKE

Heat exhaustion, which can develop into heatstroke if untreated, is due to periods of hot weather and high humidity, and can be linked to physical activity and sweating.

Problems arise when not enough fluid is drunk to compensate for this and the body starts to dehydrate due to water and salt loss.

WHAT CAN I DO?

‘Avoid problems by wearing a hat and keeping clothing loose-fitting and light. Aim to drink four pints of fluid each day as a minimum and avoid foods which cause sweating such as curries,’ advises Dr Henderson.

‘Avoid vigorous physical activity in high temperatures. Act quickly if you spot the early signs of heat exhaustion – dizziness, nausea, sweating – and immediately go to a cool shaded area and drink water.’

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition and medical attention should be sought immediately. Symptoms include high body temperature, the absence of sweating, hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse and difficulty breathing.

INSECT STINGS

Bites are a bane and while most insect stings are completely harmless they can be painful and may occasionally trigger a more severe allergic reaction.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Try to remove the sting and its poison sac, taking care not to puncture the venomous sac.

Wash the area with soap and water then apply a cold flannel and raise the affected part to help prevent swelling.