Preventive measures that can be taken to avoid getting sick during the holidays. 


Looking forward to that big holiday you’ve planned since the beginning of the year? Here are 10 tips on how to avoid getting sick on holiday, especially when travelling to another country.

Stay Hydrated

Ensuring that you drink a sufficient amount of water daily not only ensures that you prevent dehydration as a result of air travel, but can enable your immune system’s mechanisms to function better. Just as interestingly, sipping water regularly throughout your flight is considered more effective than drinking a substantial amount at any given time before or during the flight. This is because drinking water in sips has been proven to keep your body strong, and thus preventing you from getting sick on holiday.

Alternatively, sipping on hot beverages such as green tea or chamomile tea can also help in ensuring that your body’s mucous membranes are working, as it provides hydration, triggers your system into gear, as well as provides direct moisture in the form of steam. However, do avoid alcohol and caffeine when flying, especially during long-distance flights. Don’t forget to do the same if you’re getting to your holiday destination on the road!


Keep Your Hands Clean

More often than not, your hands are usually the first point of contact with different surfaces or another person’s body. This includes the armrests of your flight seat, car door handles, tables and chairs. Research has found that bacteria which causes the flu can survive on your skin for hours or stick onto solid objects and surfaces.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you wash your hands with hot water and soap, particularly before and after eating a meal. If however, you’re faced with a situation that makes washing your hands a difficult task, opt to clean your hands with a travel-sized, alcohol-based sanitizer as an alternative measure to avoid travel illnesses. And as always, wet wipes can come in handy for all types of situations, even the messy toilet ones. Yikes!


Rinse Before You Drink

When you order a drink at a restaurant, cafe, or stall during your travels, be sure to rinse the can or bottle containing your choice of beverage before you consume. Usually placed in a store room ‘til ordered, research has proven that cans and bottles that hold beverages provide a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which can harm your body in many ways. Therefore, it is extremely important that you rinse the can or bottle containing your beverage with clean water before drinking. In doing so, your body is equipped with a shield against illnesses such as respiratory problems, boils and food poisoning, thus preventing you from getting sick on holiday. The one you want to watch out for especially is leptospirosis. It ain’t pretty, trust us.


Load Up on Probiotics

Although you may be powerless against controlling the number of illness-causing bacteria in the air, you can however, increase your body’s defensive shield against these bacteria, preventing your body from getting sick on holiday.

To do so, consume foods that provide your body with a probiotic boost in order to avoid travel illnesses. This includes foods such as yoghurt, kombucha, pickled cucumbers (in salt and water) and certain types of cheeses which include mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese. Pretty easy for something that sounds complicated, right?


Protect Your Body with Vitamin C

Apart from consuming foods rich in probiotics, do also consume foods and beverages which are rich in Vitamin C. It is only natural that you might want to try out different dessert options when travelling to different countries, but do opt for foods rich in Vitamin C as well.

When the opportunity arises, nourish your body with fruits such as oranges, kiwi and grapefruit. Not only do these fruits provide your body with the Vitamin C boost it requires, but it also supplements your body with natural sugars and aids in the strengthening of cartilage, bones and teeth. How ya like that!


Relax! It is After All, A Vacation

A vacation is a time of relaxation. Period. However, more often than not, we tend to jam-pack our daily itineraries with activities, aiming to slay each one in the quickest time possible in order to move on to the next. Who doesn’t.

And although at the end of the trip you’ll be patting yourself on the back and saying that you made the most of your holiday, chances are you might have also experienced short bouts of exhaustion as a result of moving too quickly from one location to another. Therefore, it is important that you be mindful of your body. Include also activities focused on relaxation into your itinerary. It is after all, why you went on holiday in the first place. Simple activities like getting a massage, or taking long walks on the beach or a park will enable your body to reduce cortisol levels, thus preventing you from getting stressed out on holiday. Who knew a five-letter word would mean so much!


No Cheat Days Allowed

Exercising daily not only strengthens our bodies, but provides our immune system with a boost in the fight against diseases and illnesses. Therefore, skimping on exercise during a holiday is a big no-no.

If you’ve already planned an itinerary chocked full with activities, you might not have time to hit the gym or go for a run. But like they say - if there’s a will, there’s always a way. And that way is to incorporate exercise as part of your planned activities. For instance, if you’re in a city, walk to the restaurant or cafes you’re planning to eat at, if the distance permits. Similarly, if you’re at a beach destination, play a game of beach soccer or volleyball with the locals, or go for a quick dip in the water!


Repel Diseases by Taking the Necessary Preventive Measures

When going on holiday, be mindful of the risk involving getting bitten by insects at your travel destination. Identify which insects are most commonly found at the locations that you’re travelling to. For example, if the location experiences tropical weather throughout the year, there is certainly a risk of being affected by diseases caused by mosquito bites, such as dengue or malaria. Take preventive measures such as bringing along a mosquito net, or applying insect-repellent cream onto your skin to avoid getting bitten. Bye-bye nuisance!


Fun and Laughter is The Best Medicine

No, we’re not joking (pun totally intended). When on holiday, be sure to soak up the atmosphere and the vibes given off by the people around you. Embrace conversations and indulge in laughter. Everyone has a story to tell, and chances are, these conversations will involve funny experiences thrown into the mix. The release of endorphins, our body’s natural feel-good chemicals, not only enables your body to reduce stress levels, but actually provides your immune system with a stronger resistance against diseases as well.


Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Eat and sleep your way to good health. Indulge in good food whenever the opportunity presents itself. Consuming fatty fish such as mackerel or tuna provides your body with Omega-3, which aids in strengthening your immune system and reducing inflammation.

Similarly, get good sleep whenever you can, as it promotes the same effects as eating nutritious food, thus preventing you from getting sick on holiday. If travelling to a far-away destination, be sure to pack some melatonin, as it aids with jet lag and your overall biological adjustment to different time zones.

Although these are simple steps that you can take to avoid travel illnesses, they sometimes can be overlooked. Therefore, it is important that you take your time and prepare accordingly. As a result, you will not only be able to enjoy your holiday being stress-free, but come back as healthy as you were before you even left home. Believe that!