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Common Holiday Ailments

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Hurray, it’s holiday time!

Have you packed your suitcase and bucket and spade? And have you thought about taking medication? Of course, you hope that you won’t get sick during your trip, but it is still a good idea to put a few medicines in your toiletry bag, just in case. Many people experience traveller’s diarrhoea, for example, while painkillers and plasters always come in handy. And what if you get bitten by a tick? Here’s a list of the most common holiday ailments, plus a handy checklist.

1.Mosquitoes and other pests

Itching is never fun. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes on that terrace often find your legs the tastiest. An insect repellent with DEET prevents you from being bitten and will also keep ticks and malaria mosquitoes at a suitable distance. If you have been bitten by a mosquito, wasp or another insect, then a lotion such as Afterbite will provide quick relief. Don’t forget to take a pair of tweezers or ideally a proper tick removal tool with you as a tick bite can actually lead to Lyme disease. And if you are travelling to the tropics, malaria pills are a must.

Don’t forget to check you have had all the necessary vaccinations plenty of time before your departure date.

2. Hayfever

An increasing number of people in the UK suffer from hayfever and this can often be exacerbated when confronted with warm temperatures and unfamiliar pollen on holiday. Don’t let your precious time be ruined with puffy, streaming eyes, sneezes and a runny nose – take plenty of antihistamines and try and avoid walking in woods or meadows in the evenings, when the pollen is released. A useful tip is to apply Vaseline to the area around your nostrils in order to trap the pollen. Having a shower and changing your clothes after time outside is also recommended.


It looked so tasty, that kebab at that stall on the market. But a few hours later you are staring at the four walls of the toilet, suffering from cramps, and wishing you had stayed at home. Some foreign countries have laxer attitudes to hygiene in the kitchen which can lead to food poisoning. Tap water, seafood, and unwashed salad leaves are frequent culprits. It is, therefore, essential to pack some diarrhoea inhibitors such as Imodium, and something to stop you from getting dehydrated, such as some sachets of Dioralyte. If your intestines are more likely to become constipated, then Dulcolax or another mild laxative should certainly not be forgotten.

4. Travel sickness and jet lag

Travelling is fun unless you become seasick, carsick or airsick. Fortunately, there are pills with which you can prevent nausea and that horrible dizzy feeling so you can enjoy your journey without any problems. Are you flying to a different time zone? Bear in mind the fact that your sleep rhythm can become quite disrupted. Melatonin can help you to fall asleep faster.

5. Sunburn

Believe it or not, many British people still burn in the sun, despite all warnings. A burnt skin can lead to skin cancer. Get some good quality sun cream with a high SPF factor and apply it according to the instructions. Do not lie down between 12.00 and 15.00 hours, when the sun’s power is at its height. It’s also a good idea to wear a sun hat or a parasol and to drink plenty of water. Protect children from the sun, they are more susceptible to sunburn and sunstroke. If you do become sunburnt, aloe gel is very soothing.

6. Hangovers

Hangovers are always horrible, especially during your well-deserved holiday. An evening of cosy terraces when the sangria’s flowing, will, nevertheless, result in you awakening the next morning with a throbbing headache and a dry mouth. Be kind to yourself and bring some paracetamol to keep in your toilet bag. Tip: take chewable tablets, which you can take without water.

7. Emergencies

You could also take a mini first aid kit, along with antibacterial wet wipes or hand gel and a copy of all your prescriptions. A basic first aid kit should contain a digital thermometer, bandages, tweezers, cotton buds, gauze and scissors.


Is your travel pharmacy completely in order? Find out at a glance with this handy checklist:

Painkillers, such as children’s paracetamol;
Insect repellent with DEET;
Afterbite or another itch-soothing product;
Tweezers or a tick removal tool;
Malaria pills (if you go to the tropics);
Diarrhoea inhibitor and/or laxative ;
ORS (rehydrating agent);
Travel sickness tablets, for example, Avomine or Kwells;

Which medicines do you like to take with you on holiday?

Sources: Nhs,

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