Why we get ill on holiday and how to deal with it


A holiday is supposed to be a time for us to have a break from everyday life, put our feet up, take in the sights of another country and not have to worry about anything for a week or two. However, not everything always goes to plan and we can sometimes be struck with illness or injury when on holiday in Europe.

The change of climate can cause people to be struck with illness after they’ve touched down in another country. But why does it happen?

The adrenaline we get from going on holiday can fend off illness, but once we get settled on our break and those hormone levels drop, that’s when we are most susceptible to illness.

Philip Calder, professor of nutritional immunology at Southampton University, has a theory as to why we get ill abroad.

He told The Mirror: “When you visit foreign countries your body encounters a whole new set of bacteria and viruses – starting with those of the passengers you sit in close proximity to and share air with on the plane.

“Throw in typical holiday behaviours, such as sunburn, drinking too much alcohol and eating unhealthy food, which research shows can further suppress the immune system, and you have a recipe for getting sick.”

Unfortunately, a lot people have their sunny breaks ruined by illness, so we must always be prepared for every eventuality when going on holiday.

So, how can you deal with illness or injury when you’re visiting one of Europe’s best destinations?

Firstly, you should always make sure you have a first aid kit packed, because you never know when you may need it. Hopefully you won’t, but it’s good to have one anyway.

Secondly, and most importantly, you should have your European health insurance card sorted before you leave on your holidays. Applying or renewing your EHIC before you travel will allow you to receive free access state provided healthcare when you make a short visit to another European country. With this, you can focus on enjoying yourself, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be hit with a massive medical bill if you get ill or injured on your travels.

Photo: sneeze by tinafranklindg licensed under Creative commons 2