I’m a pharmacist – here are the four most common holiday health issues and how to avoid them

When you think about your long-awaited vacation, the fact that you might get sick has probably not yet entered your ideas about beaches, swimming, city walks and sun.

However, according to a pharmacist, travelers often suffer from some common health problems when flying abroad.

Being uncomfortable on vacation is the last thing you want, but it's pretty common


Being uncomfortable on vacation is the last thing you want, but it’s pretty common

From the dreaded “holiday belly” to annoying itchy bug bites, we bet none of this should spoil your much-needed downtime.

Niamh McMillan, Pharmacy Manager at Superdrug, tells us how to make sure you’re in tip-top shape while on vacation – and what cheap products can ease your travel woes.

1. Holiday belly

Ever spent a holiday holding your hotel toilet bowl?

Apparently this is not uncommon when traveling abroad.

According to Niamh, a holiday stomach can strike when traveling to countries that have “lower food hygiene standards, inadequate sanitation and no access to clean water” — although it can happen elsewhere.

“A major inconvenience is that traveler’s diarrhea is one of the most common health problems when traveling. It is therefore important that your immune system is healthy,” said the pharmacist.

To ensure your vacation is as relaxing and fun as it should be, Niamh recommends packing some rehydration sachets.

Superdrug’s own product costs £2.99 and prevents dehydration if you have diarrhea by replacing the salts you lose.

2. Insect bites

Many Britons returning from abroad carry an itchy patch of insect bites on their bodies as proof of travel.

“Bug bites on vacation can be incredibly annoying and painful,” admits Niamh.

And this summer, avoiding mosquito bites is especially important as a breed responsible for spreading several tropical diseases has reached some European countries for the first time.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you don’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes or other insects while on vacation.

“Make sure you cover exposed skin if you’re outdoors at a time of day when insects are most active, such as sunrise or sunset, and apply insect repellent to exposed skin,” Niamh said.

She suggested the Superdrug Buzz Off Extra Strength Bug Repellent Spray, which costs £5.49.

The pharmacist also recommended avoiding products with strong fragrances, such as perfume and shampoo, as these can attract insects.

3. irritated eyes

Niamh said: “When on vacation there are a number of factors that can irritate our eyes, such as the sea breeze, salt water, sunlight and even the climate.”

“Climate plays an important role in how comfortable your eyes feel,” the pharmacist continued.

While your first instinct might be to retreat indoors to an air-conditioned space, Niamh explained that might not always be the best solution.

“Because air conditioners dry the air, this change in climate can also cause your eyes to become dry,” she said.

So what should we do when both the outside and the inside are drying out our peepers?

Niamh recommended you grab some eye drops before boarding the plane, like the £3.49 Superdrug Soothing Gel Eye Drops.

4. Sunburned lips

Most of us know that in sunny areas we need to wear sunscreen to avoid painful sunburn.

But many of us may forget all about our pouty lips.

“Human lips are very sensitive to the sun’s UV rays,” says Niamh.

“The lips are a thin layer of skin and are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body because of the constant exposure to the sun when we’re on the move.”

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She advised you to always apply a protective balm with SPF to your lips at least 30 minutes before going out, such as the Superdrug Lip Balm with SPF 30, which costs £2.79.

And don’t forget to refill throughout the day, especially after eating or drinking.

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing russellfalcon@ustimespost.com.

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