There’s not much worse than looking forward to a holiday all year, only to have it ruined by illness. Holiday sickness is said to affect one in five UK travellers every year, with many needing a hospital trip while ill abroad.
So, how do you treat and beat the most common of holiday illness culprits?

Prevention is the Best Cure

Relax, eat and sleep well before jetting off.
A strong, rested body will be better prepared to fight any bugs if they do stop by.

Throat & Nose Infections

Flying? Be prepared for high altitudes and air-conditioning that can cause unexpected sniffles. Use sprays to keep things lubricated, lessening the chances of your throat & nose drying out. If you do fall ill, try lemon with hot water to soothe, take paracetamol or an anaesthetic throat spray for pain relief.


Even with the best sunscreen, you can’t beat too much sun. During the hottest hours, stay out of the sun, wear a hat, sunglasses and, if you can, a long-sleeved lightweight top for skin protection. Reapply sunscreen frequently, especially if you are in the water. Still burnt?  Ibuprofen, aloe vera gels and cool flannels applied to the skin will provide some aftercare relief.

Heat Stroke

In the sun, you may also experience heat stroke. Heat stroke is your core temperature rising above normal level, causing sweating, dizziness, blackouts or nausea. To avoid overheating, stay in the shade, building your tolerance to the heat slowly. Try to stay cool in the water but make sure you drink water for hydration too.

Insect Bites

Although most insect bites are minor, they can, in some instances, lead to something more serious. The best bet is to avoid being bitten. Invest in repellent, using it regularly, especially at dusk. Cover skin where you can, and avoid strong scents as mosquitoes are attracted to these.

Ear Infection

Swimmer’s ear is a common ailment for those venturing into the sea or swimming pool. Wear ear plugs or a cap every time to avoid this painful holiday interruption. Still suffering after three days? Visit your doctor, as you may need antibiotic drops.


Avoid by practising excellent hygiene. Wash your hands regularly. Buy antibacterial hand gel and use throughout your travels. Prevention against germs will be the best way to protect you from the worst bugs that cause illnesses abroad.

Food Poisoning

Something you ate? A change in local diet and water is generally the main cause for food poisoning abroad. 5 million UK travellers fall ill abroad each year, afflicted by so-called ‘travellers’ tummy’. Be wary of ice cubes, salads and culprits like under-cooked chicken. If you are so unlucky, collect re-hydration powder sachets and anti-gastroenteritis medication. Only drink bottled water to avoid further infection.

Alcohol Poisoning

It seems unlikely, but it can happen, even if you drink regularly. Take an alcohol-free drink between drinks to stay hydrated. Alcohol poisoning can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, unconsciousness and worse if not managed, so be practical.

Slips & Scrapes

Accidents can happen, especially around wet areas of swimming pools and ocean steps. If you accidentally slip, causing a scrape or cut, make sure you clean it immediately. This will help avoid any nasty infection or scarring. Seek first aid from lifeguards or hotel staff if you can. Use topical ointments or alcohol-based products to clear any lingering germs, and cover the cut. If the cut doesn’t stop bleeding on its own after some pressure, seek further medical aid, as you may need stitches.

So there you have it, the 10 most common holiday illnesses and how to beat and treat them revealed. The last thing you want to deal with is being ill abroad, suffering sickness abroad, dealing with food poisoning on holiday, injury or theft.
So if anything does happen to you while you’re away, make sure to file
holiday illness claims or holiday accident claims, as soon as you’re back!

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