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Why do you get sick on your holidays?
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Why do you get sick on your holidays?

Is it really just a coincidence?

So you’ve finally arrived at your long-awaited holiday destination! Time to unpack your suitcase, apply some suncream and head to the beach. But maybe you’ll first take a couple of paracetamol as you suddenly feel shivery and a bit nauseous. And why does your head suddenly start throbbing? Surely you’re not about to be ill on this holiday just like last year? Unfortunately, this scenario is all too familiar for many UK holidaymakers. Just at the moment that you are finally free from everyday cares and worries, your body throws a spanner in the works. Is it really a coincidence that you always seem to be sick during the holidays?

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Leisure sickness

Actually, there is a name for this unfortunate phenomenon; leisure sickness. Recent research suggests that a small percentage of people suffer physiological ill-effects from the sudden switch from a work to holiday lifestyle. Scientists think this might be caused by unbalanced stress hormones affecting the immune system combined with the fact that people are more likely to catch viruses when trapped in a confined aeroplane where the air is recycled and passengers, some of whom possibly have contagious airborne infections, sit next to each other in close proximity for hours.

Could it really be a reaction to the sudden withdrawal of stress?