Protecting Your Health While On Holiday

In In The Press, Individual, Industry News, Travel by Matthew Tagg

You’ve just booked your next holiday and are already counting down the days to your departure. Maybe you’ve opted for a staycation? After all, the glorious weather we’ve been having in the UK recently presents a strong argument for not travelling further afield.

Regardless of where you’re going, travel insurance will hopefully feature in your plans. This vital consideration – providing you secure it early enough – can safeguard against unforeseen circumstances that lead to your trip being cancelled, as well as medical emergencies while you’re away and lost/damaged luggage.

Yet, worryingly, half of British holidaymakers do not secure travel insurance when they book.

But while travel insurance is an essential element for any holiday, there are other things you can do to protect your health while you’re away.

For example, one doctor recommends that travellers take vitamin B12 for two weeks before they go abroad to reduce their chances of being bitten by mosquitoes. That’s because research indicates vitamin B12 is effective at repelling mosquitoes.

The 2015-2016 zika outbreak in parts of South America highlighted just how deadly and pervasive mosquito-borne diseases can be. Dengue fever and malaria, which can both also be deadly, are two further examples of why protecting against mosquito bites is important.

Here are some other simple ways to protect yourself while on holiday:

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur on long-haul flights. Sitting for extended periods of time (like when you’re on an airplane) can slow blood circulation to your legs. As a result, blood clots can form in your deep veins (usually in your legs).

The advice for reducing the chances of this happening is simple: move around as much as possible by walking up and down the aisle. It’s also a good idea to simply stretch your legs and feet while sitting.

Delhi Belly

Many holidaymakers experience sickness and diarrhoea when they travel to a foreign country. This so-called ‘Delhi belly’ is usually caused by unfamiliar bacteria, parasites and viruses. A high temperature and abdominal pain are also symptoms of Delhi belly.

To reduce your chances of having an upset stomach while away, always make sure you follow good hygiene habits. For example, wash your hands thoroughly after every visit to the toilet and use hand sanitiser throughout the day to kill germs found on money, dirty door handles and even the remote control in your hotel room.

Sun Protection

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun”. That’s why protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays should be a top priority while you’re on holiday.

Look for sunscreen that boasts ‘broad spectrum protection’ as this will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, try to get a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher. This will filter out about 97% of UVB rays.

It’s also important to remember that no sunscreen is waterproof. For best protection, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and immediately after you’ve been swimming or sweating a lot.

Other simple measures like wearing a hat, staying in the shade during the hottest part of the day and wearing long-sleeved shirts can also boost your protection from the sun.

Suitable travel insurance is a must if you’re going on holiday – even if it’s a staycation. It can safeguard against cancellations, lost/damaged luggage and expensive medical bills.  Follow the other tips above to stay extra safe while you’re away.

I have over 18 years experience in the Medical Insurance Industry, much of that spent working for Aviva Health in the Distribution team. I joined Premier Choice in 2015 and in that time I have been helping clients to develop the best possible approach to protecting their health. My understanding of how insurers work puts me in a strong position to negotiate the best solutions on behalf of our clients.