It’s that exciting time of year again where many of us are planning to pack up our suitcases and head to a warmer climate for our summer holidays – we hope you have something fun planned! For those who have set their sights on travelling abroad for their holidays, there will be lots to prepare and pack for your journey. It’s also a good idea to prepare yourself for any potential health risks so you can deal with them quickly and easily.
One of the most common holiday complaints are sickness bugs, which can be caused by a number of factors. To make sure you make the most of your hard-earned holiday, here are some top tips for keeping sickness bugs away when holidaying abroad.
Some countries you will travel to may not have the same food safety standards as we do in the UK, and also some hotels may just simply not be up to scratch when cooking and preparing food. All-inclusive holidays have the highest reports of food poisoning based on insurance claims – this could be due to the buffet-style food that is often offered at meal times and the large quantities of food being cooked on-site.
Things to look out for:
- Lukewarm food – this suggest it has been left out for a while after being cooked, make sure your food is piping hot
- Undercooked food – check your meat is cooked properly before eating any, and perhaps ask for things to be cooked a bit longer (such as steak) when ordering for extra reassurance.
- Unclean settings – if a restaurant, shop or takeaway has visible signs of uncleanliness, it would be a good idea to give these places a miss!
If you have eaten something that has been improperly stored, prepared or cooked, you may experience symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and dehydration caused by infections including salmonella, E coli and campylobacter.
Contaminated Water Bugs
Not all countries have the same standards of water cleanliness as we do in our taps, which is why you may have already been encouraged in the past to buy bottled water when travelling abroad in the past. Not only is drinking water a cause of sickness in people, but also the water from a swimming pool or hot tub.
- Avoid having ice in your drinks from restaurants or bars, as they will likely have used tap water for these as we do at home. When the ice melts we drink the contaminated water.
- Don’t jump straight into the pool or hot tub – take some time to check if the water appears to be clean and relatively free from insects or dirt.
- Even if the pool is clean, be careful not to swallow too much water, as the cleaning chemicals inside the water may also cause sickness.
If some contaminated water is drunk, the person may be affected by cryptosporidium, a parasite which causes watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever.
Sickness bug from other guests
Hotels, restaurants, poolside areas and many other places can also be a cause of sickness, as bugs can travel much more quickly if people are densely populated in an area such as those mentioned.
There is no real way of avoiding these types of bugs, however if there is news of a sickness bug travelling around your hotel it may be worth asking your travel company to try to provide alternative accommodation to ensure you are able to continue enjoying your holiday.
All of the conditions mentioned above can usually be treated with over the counter medicines such as immodium, and by keeping yourself hydrated with bottled water, getting rest and taking things slowly.
If symptoms do persist, worsen or you have other cause for concern – seek medical attention immediately to be on the safe side. Before travelling you can research local doctors and hospitals to ensure you are fully prepared for whatever happens.
Ajuda offer a wide variety of courses focussed on treating common holiday minor illnesses and injuries, both in our online courses and our in-house training courses at the Cardiff Bay Training centre.
Get in touch if you would like to know more about our courses on offer and book one, either call 02920 576883 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.