Stay Healthy on Holidays

Posted on April 2nd, 2024

As the summer holidays approach, you might be thinking about travelling abroad to spend a couple of weeks soaking up the sun or exploring somewhere new. However, the last thing you want is to spoil your holiday by getting sick. Staying healthy abroad doesn’t have to be difficult, just a few simple tips could help you stay healthy while travelling.

Check if you need vaccinations

If you’re travelling abroad in a country where serious infectious diseases are found, it’s vital to get vaccinated before you travel. Helpful advice can be found at NaTHNaC – Home ( 

Leave plenty of time before you travel to ensure you can receive any recommended vaccinations.

Make sure you’ve got any prescription medicine you may need

Take enough to cover your whole trip, and a little bit extra in case your flight is delayed, and you need to stay abroad a bit longer. It may be a good idea to take a copy of your prescription with you, as you might need it as you go through customs or airport security.

It’s also useful to pack a small first-aid kit containing items such as bandages and plasters, anti-diarrhoea tablets and rehydration salts, and painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but they’ll be on hand just in case.

Note any emergency phone numbers

You never want to go on holiday and spend it in the hospital, but it’s worth knowing who to call if you, a loved one, or a travel companion gets sick.

Wash your hands often

We all know it’s important to wash our hands to reduce the spread of germs. But when you’re travelling abroad, it becomes even more vital as you’ll come into contact with germs and bacteria that your body may have never encountered before.

Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide

Slip on some clothing

Clothing should always be your first line of defence against damage from the sun. Cover as much of the skin as is possible, paying special attention to the shoulders which burn easily. Consider t-shirts and hats even when in the water, especially for children and those who burn easily.

Slop on the sun cream

No sunscreen provides absolute protection, so it should be used with the other lines of defence, and not alone. Generously apply sunscreen with SPF30 or more to all areas of skin exposed to the sun. A waterproof sunscreen is better, even if you are not swimming, as it protects you better if you sweat. Apply the sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside, and at least every 2 hours. If you swim or sweat a lot, use it more often. Remember using a towel or lying back on a fabric sunbed can rub the sunscreen off.

Slap on a hat

A hat with a wide brim is best, as it will shade the head, face, ears and neck. Baseball caps do not shade the ears or neck, and so are not as effective.

Seek some shade

Keeping cool in the shade is a good way of protecting yourself from the sun, especially if you are very fair skinned. Just a few minutes of strong sunshine is all it takes to burn pale skin. Find some shade whenever possible, but especially in the middle of the day, between 11 am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest. Always keep babies and toddlers in the shade if you can.

Slide on sunglasses

UV radiation can also damage the eyes, and so sunglasses with good quality lenses that filter out the UV are essential. Always look for a CE, UV 400 or British Standard Mark. Styles that wrap around, and so do not allow sun in at the sides are better.

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