Because the travelling bug is the only thing you want to catch.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Because the travelling bug is the only thing you want to catch.

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After months of planning, you’re finally headed for your big adventure. But unforeseen illness can quickly derail your itinerary. Ahead, tips to nix the five most common issues travellers might face.


If you constantly suffer from irritated and dry skin in chilly climes, Dr Robyn Gmyrek, a US-based dermatologist, offers the following advice: Take lukewarm, not hot, showers, but if that seems unbearable after a long day in the freezing cold, keep bath times short, and limit the amount of soap used. You might also want to swop tropical-weather moisturisers with petroleum jelly instead. It might seem odd to apply this all over your body and face, but it’ll greatly improve your comfort and hydration levels in a snap.


Coming from somewhere sunny, it’s easy to let our guard down with this dangerous condition that might cause nausea, dizziness, cramps and fainting. Be sure to drink lots of fluids (not alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, which might dehydrate you), wear a wide-brim hat, and apply sunblock regularly. Avoid getting sunburnt at all cost, as it could reduce your body’s natural ability to shed heat, shares a Mayo Clinic report. COLD AND FLU If you’re prone to these conditions before or during trips, up your intake of soluble fibre to boost immunity, reports a study from the University of Illinois. Good sources include apples, oats and nuts. Already down with symptoms? Both vitamin C and elderberry extract (available as a supplement) have been proven to reduce the severity and duration of each bout.


After each flight, the cleaning crew do their best to sanitise the plane, but there are spots where germs can linger for days. According to a report presented at an annual meeting for the American Society for Microbiology, staph bacteria, which can cause boils and food poisoning, lingers as long as a week in seat pockets, while tummy-turning E. coli can stay on armrests for up to four days. Wipe down these spots. Or, better yet, avoid touching them altogether.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 to 70 per cent of holidaymakers may experience food poisoning, making it one of the most common travel-related conditions to watch for. The old adage “boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it” may be helpful, but going a step further, it’s a good idea to bring along hand sanitisers to get rid of germs on grubby mitts, especially when there’s no soap or water around. Also, when you’re ordering, avoid ice, uncooked food, dishes that have been sitting out for hours, and vendors who don’t wash their hands or put on gloves after handling money