Your Guide to Maintaining Good Health on Holiday

Holidaying abroad can present several risks to health, but there are plenty of things that can be done before and during you holiday to prevent any serious health issues.

Food poisoning
Hygiene and sanitary standards can vary widely from country to country and from even from one restaurant or bar to another. In some places, particularly hot countries, there is a greater risk of food poisoning caused by inadequate refrigeration or water contamination. So, unless you are sure, it is wise to avoid consuming any of the following while abroad:

-water from the tap, including ice cubes
-fruit juice sold by street vendors
-ice cream
-any food containing eggs
-raw, or undercooked, meat
-prepared fruit

It should be alright to consume any of the following, within reason:

-sealed bottled water from a recognisable brand
-cooked food – such as hot soup or stir fry
-sealed or canned food
-freshly baked bread
-unpeeled fruit
-hot drinks
-alcoholic drinks


In many hot countries, particularly those near the equator, malaria, which is a fatal disease spread by mosquito bites, is a real health issue. Here are some handy hints to help protect yourself against the malarial threat:

Insect repellents are also a great way to prevent yourself from getting stung. Only use sprays that contain DEET (diethyltoluamide), as this chemical offers the greatest level of protection against mosquito bites. Use it every time you go out in a malaria-affected country, whatever the weather. Make sure that you have a good supply of it with you before you leave, and take a smaller bottle around with you on your travels, to top up your protection levels throughout the day.

It is important to take some kind of preventative anti-malaria medicine if you are going to be visiting a region that is known to have malaria-carrying mosquitoes. As soon as you know your travel itinerary, you should make an appointment with your doctor, as some anti-malarial drugs need to be taken up to a month before you travel to an affected country.

Unfortunately, some strains of malaria are completely resistant to all forms of preventative medicine, so it is important that you seek medical assistance as soon as you develop a fever, or an unexpected illness, while you are away. Even if you have been back from your holiday for a while, you could still develop symptoms from a bite several months earlier.

First aid

Pack a first aid kit containing insect spray, plasters, dressings, water purification tablets, diarrhoea remedies, and antiseptic. You can buy ready made kits from pharmacies that include all of the above, plus sealed and sterilised needles, syringes, and stitches as a precaution against having to use potentially unsanitary equipment in a country where the sterility of emergency medical equipment is not guaranteed.

For great deals on cheap holiday insurance including annual travel insurance visit AA Travel Insurance and ensure that emergency assistance is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.