A is for…
Shockingly, 3,760 British people died abroad in 2014 and 2015 – with the highest number occurring in Spain.
“Accidents happen regularly on the road, in the water and on hotel balconies, so stay safety conscious,” says Dr Richard Dawood, specialist in travel medicine ( www.fleetstreetclinic.com ).
“Handy in case you catch too much sun,” says Dr Andrew Thornber, Chief Medical Officer at Now Patient ( nowpatient.com ).
“It’s packed with vitamins, minerals and natural ingredients to help repair skin.”
B is for…
Almost all of us make risky hygiene mistakes with the barbie, according to a survey by The Food Standards Agency.
Make sure meat is cooked through, and use separate tongs for raw and cooked meats.
C is for…
Listen carefully to the onboard safety drill (you don’t want to be re-enacting panicky scenes from Titanic in an emergency!).
And Ashley Kosciolek, Editor of Cruise Critic, says: “The number one way to avoid getting norovirus or other illnesses is to thoroughly wash your hands before you eat, after you use the restroom and after touching railings or slot machines.”
Sitting around in a wet swimsuit increases your chances of getting cystitis, warns Dr Malwina Naghibi, Medical Adviser at Protexin Healthcare.
“To protect yourself, drink two litres of water each day to help flush out any harmful bacteria regularly.”
D is for…
…Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
“DVTs are a risk on all flights,” warns Professor Mark Whiteley from The Whiteley Clinic.
“Concentrated blood, caused by dehydration, coupled with prolonged inactivity will heighten the risk.
“Moving the legs and walking up and down the aisle will help pump blood up the veins, which reduces the risk.”
…Detox (from technology)
“Wean yourself off tech gadgets,” advises Fabio Passalacqua, Director at Hotelscan.com .
“Forget facebook and live in the moment.”
…Driving safely abroad
Check local rules and regulations before you travel. For instance, it may be compulsory to have your licence with you or display a GB sticker. Check with the AA or RAC.
E is for…
Valid European Health Insurance Cards give you state-run medical treatment in EU countries (and a few others) for the same price as a local.
But, according to MoneySavingExpert.com, more than half of people in the UK don’t have one. They last five years and are free of charge from the official government EHIC website.
F is for…
Pack your trainers to offset holiday eating with exercise. Go sightseeing on foot or by bike, suggests Paul Joseph, co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel ( healthandfitnesstravel.com ).
G is for…
“Beware the salads in hotels, which will have been washed with tap water,” says Tom Bourlet, of travel blog spaghettitraveller.com .
“And say no to ice unless you make your own from bottled water.”
Studies show that live bacteria supplements, such as Bio-Kult Multi-Strain formula (£9.25, bio-kult.com ), can prevent and manage travellers’ diarrhoea.
H is for…
Perfect for keeping your hands clean and germs at bay when you’re on the go, says Dr Thornber.
Hot, sunny days – typically coupled with a bit too much booze – are a straight road to dehydration. “My little trick is to have a sports drink as these are pumped full of the 72 trace minerals we tend to deplete when sweating profusely,” says Tom.
I is for…
Sitting within a row or two seats of a sick passenger on an aircraft means you have an 80% chance of picking up an infection, a recent study found. Boost immunity with Echinaforce Drops (£9.75, 50ml, avogel.co.uk , Boots and Holland & Barrett).
J is for…
“It takes about one day to recover for each time zone you cross, so it can take up to a week to get back to normal after a flight from New York to London,” explains Dr Neil Stanley, Independent Sleep Expert.
“To help combat the effects, drink water, not alcohol on the flight, try to eat at the correct local time, even while on the aircraft, and avoid driving straight away.
“If it’s daytime, go for a walk to get some sunshine and fresh air, then try to stay awake until dark.”
Visit the NHS advice website, www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home , well before you’re due to travel.
K is for…
…Kit (first aid)
The last thing you want to do on holiday is have to go hunting for a pharmacy – and pay extortionate prices. Be sure to pack painkillers, plasters, small dressings, anti-diarrhoea tablets, antihistamine cream and antiseptic, advises LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Kate Taylor.
L is for…
This bacterial infection spreads to humans by infected ticks (tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and heath areas).
Stick to footpaths, avoid long grass and wear long sleeves and trousers.
M is for…
…Midges and mozzies
Pack an insect repellent. If you’re sensitive to the usual products, A. Vogel Neem Insect Repellent (£5.89, 50ml, avogel.co.uk ) contains Neem seed oil rather than DEET.
N is for…
Many young holidaymakers are swayed by the novelty of getting a tattoo or a piercing abroad.
But poor hygiene practices in some countries can spread blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis C, warn experts. Put safety first.
O is for…
…Otitis externa – or ‘swimmer’s ear’
This is a common infection caused by trapped water providing a breeding ground for bacteria. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time in water, wear earplugs or a cap that covers the ears, and thoroughly dry your ears after swimming.
P is for…
This sweat rash causes an irritating prickly feeling. Treat it with cool showers and calamine lotion, and stay out of the sun.
Don’t forget to bring all you need – plus extra just in case.
Q is for…
Choose your seat carefully if you suffer from travel sickness, advises Dr Dawn Harper, author of Dr Dawn’s Health Check (£14.99, Mitchell Beazley).
“If you’re flying, book a window seat near the wings of the plane. If travelling by ship, sit in the middle, facing the direction of travel. And in a car, opt for the front or the middle back seat. Then watch the horizon and don’t read.”
If you do feel sick, chew ginger sweets, have some ginger ale or try acupressure bands, says Ashley Kosciolek.
R is for…
Although rare, travellers returning from Turkey in recent years have required anti-rabies treatment.
“Wherever you are abroad, never try to stroke or pet any animal – particularly strays,” warns Howard Carter, Bite Prevention Expert.
S is for…
Think of the FIVE Ss: Sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, shoulders and shade.
Surveys show that Brits continue to get scorched in the summer – at home as well as abroad.
“Most sunburn isn’t serious, but if there are blisters or the skin damage covers an area larger than your hand, see a doctor,” advises Isobel Kearl, National Training Officer for St John Ambulance.
T is for…
“Make sure your travel insurance policy covers all holiday activities – if you plan to go horse riding or bungee jumping, for example,” says Jo Brine, Partner and Head of JMW’s Accident and Illness Abroad.
“And declare any pre-existing health issues to your insurer.”
U is for…
Protect yourself from skin ageing and burning by applying suncream indoors – in hot sun it can evaporate from the skin’s surface before it has a chance to bond, and therefore becomes less effective.
Consider a once-a-day product and apply it twice – morning and afternoon.
Ultrasun Family SPF30 (£19, 100ml, lookfantastic.com ) is non-greasy and hypoallergenic, so great for sensitive skin.
V is for…
Turkish Airlines’ resident health expert Dr Oz recommends the Valsalva manoeuvre for relieving ear pain while flying.
It is performed by moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway – usually done by closing your mouth and pinching your nose shut while pressing out as if blowing up a balloon.
W is for…
More UK children die in pools while on holiday abroad than in pools in the UK, according to the Royal Life Saving Society UK ( rlss.org.uk ). And many holidaymakers don’t realise how much more challenging swimming in open water can be, even for strong swimmers.
Never swim if a red flag is showing, don’t jump into the water from extreme heights or swim after drinking alcohol. And never leave children unattended near or in water.
X is for…
According to a recent study published in the BMJ, an increasingly high number of Brits are having sex with strangers when they go abroad.
And British people (along with Swedes) are the most likely in Europe not to use condoms on holiday.
Protect yourself against STIs and HIV by practising safe sex.
Y is for…
Whether it’s cricket on the beach with the kids or snorkelling in the sea, join in and give it a go… you only live once!
Z is for…
Don’t forget to take a decent eye mask – research shows that even the smallest amount of light can disrupt sleep. And earplugs will help block out late-night revellers and hotel corridor traffic.
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