Friday 21 October 2016

How to stay healthy on holidays

Doctor's orders

Ciara Kelly

Published 22/06/2015 | 02:30

Hot stuff: The sun is one of the big draws of foreign holidays, but also one of the biggest risks.
Hot stuff: The sun is one of the big draws of foreign holidays, but also one of the biggest risks.

A sun holiday is great fun but a few simple precautions can help keep the doctor away, says Dr Ciara Kelly.

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A foreign sun holiday, while lovely, often results in people getting sick. Sunburn, tummy upsets, hangovers, insect bites and accidents are all phenomena of holidays - but a few sensible items packed in your suitcase or indeed purchased at the other end, if you're going with 'carry on', can mean you might avoid an unnecessary and expensive trip to a doctor while you're away.

Food and drink in foreign climes are often quite different to what we consume at home. Too much rich food, or indeed different hygiene standards in certain countries, can result in gastroenteritis. So an anti-diarrhoeal like Imodium and some Motilium, can be useful to keep nasty symptoms at bay. Do remember that Motilium is for nausea and makes diarrhoea worse. So don't mix up the two drugs. Rehydration salts, like Dioralyte, are also very useful for dehydration, following tummy bugs, heat stroke, hangovers or a combination of all three.

Alcohol, which most consume in larger quantities on holidays, often causes people to feel under the weather, excuse the pun. So remember to pace yourself and drink plenty of water or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks, if you don't want to have a thumping headache the morning after the night before.

Alcohol very often results in our inhibitions and our judgement becoming affected too. So people are far more likely to have accidents, like falls or crashes, or, even more commonly, unprotected sex, while away. Make sure if you are drinking that you stay with your friends as a group and you keep your wits about you. And, most importantly, you carry and use barrier contraception - condoms. People like to bring a souvenir home from holidays but when that souvenir is herpes - a recurrent, painful, blistering virus on the genitals - 'the gift that keeps giving' - your holiday in Ibiza may actually be that favoured expression of travel agents, 'an unforgettable experience'

Lots of people get allergies on holidays too. It's often a combination of heat, sweat, sun and insect bites, and the results can be unsightly, uncomfortable and itchy as hell, with swollen faces and limbs a very common occurrence. If you're prone to such things, a daily anti-histamine, started a couple of days before you go and continued for the duration, will probably help. If you know for a fact that you're very allergic to mozzies, go to your GP beforehand and get some fucibet topical cream and a rescue dose of steroids to bring with you, and use a strong insect-repellent from dusk until dawn. Also be sensible and don't go out in a bikini at night.

The sun is one of the big draws of foreign holidays, but also one of the biggest risks. Sun burn, prickly heat and even sunstroke are regular problems, so wear a high factor on your actually non-sallow, freckly, pale, Irish skin. Avoid the hottest part of the day. Reapply factor frequently - especially after swimming, and particularly if you've been out the night before - because you really don't want to make a big mistake and fall asleep in the sun. Bon Voyage.


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