Your holiday health checklist
Everything you need to know for a safe and happy holiday this summer…
How to keep safe and happy
Is your insurance up to date?
A quarter of British travellers surveyed said they went on holiday without insurance (up from 22% in 2016), according to a survey of more than 2,000 Brits by The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). Yet, 3,000 travellers a week need emergency medical care while travelling abroad – with the cost of some overseas medical treatments costing more than the price of the average UK house.
tip “Never travel anywhere without insurance and a basic first aid kit that includes dressings, antiseptic, painkillers, a thermometer and cream for bites and stings,” advises Shirley Bannatyne, specialist nurse in travel health at Medigold Health.
Prevent a dicky tum
Take daily prebiotics for a few weeks before you go to boost good bacteria – protecting the gut against infection, food poisoning and traveller’s diarrhoea. Try Bimuno, £10.99 for 30 sachets.
tip Pack rehydration sachets to quickly replace lost electrolytes in the event of traveller’s diarrhoea. “UK travellers top the european league table for malaria because they don’t protect themselves,” explains Howard Carter, bite prevention expert (lessmosquito.com). Last-minute travel, ignorance about malarial hot spots and failing to take anti-malarial pills or use mosquito repellent are the most common reasons for around 2,000 Brits requiring treatment for malaria. Yet, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to contract the disease. Visit fitfortravel.nhs.uk and seek medical advice at least eight weeks before you’re due to travel, as some jabs need to be given well in advance.
tip “Spray an insect repellent such as Incognito, £9.99, on and around your door, as mosquitoes often ‘lie in wait’ outside doors and windows,” warns Howard.
Avoid insect bites Stay safe
familiarise yourself with beach flags: red and yellow flags mark areas that are patrolled by lifeguards so are the safest places for swimming and inflatables. A red flag indicates danger – so you should never enter the water when this is flying. When you see black and white chequered flags, it means an area of water has been marked for use by craft, like surfboards. And an orange windsock indicates offshore wind conditions, so don’t use inflatables.
tip Whatever the water activity (even if it’s just sitting in a boat), make sure you wear a buoyancy aid that fits, says David Walker, leisure safety manager at roSPA (royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents). “Too small and it won’t provide enough buoyancy; too big and it will float up around your ears in the water, make it harder for you to breathe.”
While abroad, avoid ice in drinks – freezing doesn’t kill most bugs, it preserves them and extends their life
eight out of 10 people fail to adequately apply sunscreen before going out in the sun, according to a recent survey by the British Association of Dermatologists.
“It should be applied half an hour before going outdoors, giving it time to be absorbed and start working,” says Clare o’Connor, UK sun care advisor at Boots.
tip Pack Soleve Sunburn relief, £9.95, just in case, suggests Dr Paul Stillman, GP. “It’s the only ‘after sun’ product that combines the power of ibuprofen with a soothing moisturiser.” w&h