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How to avoid falling sick on holiday

Your body is especially vulnerable and prone to illness during overseas trips

While holidays generally bring to mind happy images of glorious sunsets, hot bikini bodies and magical mojitos, statistics show that we are 10 times more vulnerable and prone to illnesses while we are travelling.

With vacation season around the corner, here are top tips to safeguard against illnesses.


Once onboard, get down to your cleansing ritual that involves meticulously wiping down the cushions, armrests and tray table with disinfectant wipes.

After all, a 2015 study discovered that the tray table is the dirtiest on the plane with a jaw-dropping 2,155 colony-forming units per square inch.

Post-flight sickness is common too, due to the low humidity. Dry air interrupts the self-clearing mechanism of the lungs and the germs can get into your lungs easily.

To decrease chances of falling ill, wear a mask.

A study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases concluded that when used correctly, masks are highly effective in preventing the spread of viral infections.


The tap water in Singapore is generally safe for consumption, but we should not take it for granted that it is the same elsewhere.

According to the National Health Service (NHS) in England, "in countries with poor sanitation, do not drink tap water or use it to brush your teeth unless it's been treated".

Instead, use filtered, bottled, boiled or chemically treated water if you are in places like Brazil, Mexico and Ukraine.

Foods to avoid in such places include salads, with lettuce and uncooked fruits and vegetables, unless they have been washed in safe water and peeled by the traveller. Also, avoid ice in your drink.


It is imperative to stock up on medication if you are travelling. Carry antihistamines like Claritin, Dramamine for motion sickness, Imodium for diarrhoea and painkillers.

It is also necessary to check whether you need any vaccinations or boosters before travelling anywhere where infection and disease is a high risk.

The NHS recommends getting them done at least eight weeks before you travel as some vaccines need time to allow your body to develop immunity, and others involve a number of doses spread over several weeks or months.


Falling sick while in a foreign land can be an incredibly costly affair because of the medical care that might be required.

With insurance, you can cover health care costs overseas, or even be flown home in more severe conditions. It takes only a fraction of a second to ruin a perfectly decent holiday and leave people in more debt than they were before.

It is advisable to get a policy that covers Emergency Medical Assistance in case you end up having to spend time in a foreign hospital or are in need of emergency medical care while on holiday.

At the end of the day, always go back to the basics of diligent hand washing and use of hand sanitisers, which are the best ways to ward off infection.

This article was first published in Her World Online (www. Her World. com)