Health on Holiday – Staying Healthy by the Pool


A recent study showed that over 3% of the population find themselves under the weather as soon as they hit the “Out of office” button, but what makes leisure sickness a very real problem to tackle? What can you do to ensure you protect yourself before stepping off the plane on holiday and what do you do if you do get sick?

What is causing my illness?

It could potentially be the plane journey that causes your holiday sickness. Microbiologists have tested planes and found that germs love to be little jet-setters! Planes are a very common on planes due to the number of passengers boarding daily. Germs can survive for hours and even days, spreading illness easily in the warm environment.
Studies have shown that MRSA and E Coli can live on a plane fr over a week! And there are over 200 viruses that can cause common cold symptoms found on a plane alone! So where are the dirtiest spots?

  • The Tray Table
  • Overhead air vents
  • Toilet flush buttons
  • Seat-belts

Bacteria finds it particularly easy to spread on a plane due to low humidity and air circulating systems. Low humidity is known to interrupt your Lungs filtering method; a thin layer of mucus and tiny hairs in the nose which trap viruses and minimise the risk of infection, however, at high altitudes this system is less effective. The low humidity puts you at risk of catching a bug as the bacteria has easier access to your lungs.

There are methods in which you can minimise the risk of infection while on a plane, although you may still be slightly at risk of catching a virus, these methods could reduce that risk greatly:

Nasal Spray:
As low humidity dries out the mucous membranes in your nose and makes the filtering system less effective, you can reactivate their ability to prevent infection by keeping the membranes hydrated! A Saline nasal spray during flights will help you battle bacteria.

Hand Gels and Wipes:
Antibacterial hand gels and wipes are proven to kill 99.9% of germs living on your hands. Although nothing is as effective as washing your hands for 20 seconds and having a good scrub; antibacterial hand gel will provide a second layer of protection. You can also use antibacterial wipes on planes before used any on-board entertainment, trays and even seats!

Water Purifiers:
Although most airline use bottled water; some do have a store of water from the ground on-board which can carry various types of bacteria. A charcoal filtered bottle will kill harmful bacteria so you can stay hydrated while avoiding viruses!

It is also possible that the sudden change of temperature is causing your body to become run down. Heat exhaustion is extremely common with travellers, with most people more likely to get heat exhaustion over heat stroke. Long periods of heat cause your blood pressure to drop and the body to become fatigued. If you are used to temperatures considerably lower than that of your exotic holiday, you are at risk of developing head exhaustion and potentially heat stroke.
The cause of heat stroke is long periods of heat and sun exposure, lack of hydration and a high body temperature. It is best to keep on top of your sun exposure before your body reaches a dangerous temperature. We have covered some easy to follow step for reduces your risks of heat exhaustion;

Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated will help your body sweat which reduces your temperature. When in the sun for long periods of time you will sweat more than usual, it is recommended that in particular hot temperature you increase your usual fluid intake levels.

Get Acclimated
Most people love the sun and the sudden rise in temperature that comes with your summer holiday, but your body will not appreciate this sudden change. It is advised you limit the time you spend in the direct sunlight and heat until your body becomes conditioned to it. Slowly increase the amount of time you spend in the sun. After one day you will start to feel your body adjust to the temperature difference.

Keep it Loose
Wearing loose clothing and reducing the number of layers will allow your body to stay cool.

Take it Easy
While exploring a new country people do tend to have fun filled, strenuous, activity holidays to soak in the culture. The best time to visit landmarks and walk around in in the morning before the afternoon sun when the day will be at its hottest. If you want to spend the morning relaxing, we recommend that you seek shade in the afternoon and do the strenuous activities in the evening when the sun isn’t as strong.

As well as initial travel and over exposure to sun, illness can also be brought on by general relaxation. When on holiday we tend to overdo relaxation, reduce exercise, indulge on all-inclusive and drink at times of the day we wouldn’t usually even think of. Research has shown that relaxing is the main reason many of us fall ill while on holiday. Keeping active ensures you stay healthy, however, while on holiday people fall into bad habits as they begin to unwind.

The reason our bodies are prone to illness while in enjoying an exotic country range from over consumption of alcohol through to a lack of cardio-respiratory fitness. Over eating and drinking larger amount of alcohol can be detrimental to your health and are often the main causes of “Leisure Sickness”. A big factor of making these changes while on holiday, is that the habits often then spread into your usual everyday life routine; effecting workouts, reducing motivation and increasing the usual number of calories you consume on a daily basis. We have looked into ways to keep fit while abroad but also enjoy your holiday as you should;

Healthy All-Inclusive
It is easy to over indulge when all-inclusive is on offer, we understand you want to get your money’s worth. We advise to try and pick a healthy option for breakfast. With breakfast being the first meal of the day greasy and heavy foods are often hard to digest and leave you feeling sluggish. choosing fresh fruit and cereals in the morning will provide you with the energy you need to get through to lunch time.

Light Exercise
We aren’t suggesting you do a high intensity work out in the summer sun! We are simply advising that light activity will be enough to keep your cardiovascular health going! Most holiday resorts have activities throughout the day from water polo to volley ball, make the most of these free activities and feel great while enjoying your summer break.

Sleep Enough
You want to make the most of your time in a foreign country, we understand that the best way to do this is to stay out late and wake early! You need to understand that your holiday is also time for your body to catch up on the rest it really needs. Sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain and sickness, going to bed earlier and waking a little later will ensure your body has enough time to truly rest!

Hydration is Key
Often we mistake thirst for hunger and you will find yourself at the all-inclusive buffet rather than asking the bar man for a bottle of water! Remember to always keep a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated and cool in the sun as we have previously advised! You can also stay hydrated with the help of tasty snack such as; watermelon, strawberries and cucumber!

But what if you become unwell on holiday?

It is possible that you may become unwell while enjoying your summer holiday. Common illnesses include; the common cold, sinus problems and upset stomachs. Discussing your ailment with the local doctor or pharmacist may be difficult due to language barriers. There is a solution. alldayDr provide healthcare while abroad with the help of our fantastic, GMC registered high quality GPs! You can see a doctor via a video call to discuss your symptoms, get diagnosed and even receive a prescription without any hassle; all by the pool! Download the alldayDr app now to stay healthy while you relax.

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