When you’ve been looking forward to your family break away for months, the last thing you want is a nasty tummy upset or a bout of sunburn to spoil the fun. So, to help you avoid any mishaps, I’ve popped some ‘keep-holiday-healthy’ tips below which have helped us enjoy happy and pretty much pain-free family holidays over the years.
As a health journalist I’m all too aware of the health hazards of the sun. We’re a particularly fair-skinned family so I’ve always slathered suncream (at least factor 30) on all of us when the sun shines. I’m not saying it’s been easy – the boys used to complain and try slithering free from my creamy grasp as I’ve tried to cover them in the stuff. But the latest sun protection tackles everything we’ve always hated about applying it. Sticky, sandy, messy and time-consuming no longer, the latest suncare innovations have got it (and you) comfortably covered.
For example, we all know the frustration of trying to squirt on a sunscreen that only works when you hold it at one particular angle. Well, problem solved. Look out for sunscreens with the latest ‘360 degree continuous spray’ applicators which work from any slant you choose to spritz them from – even upside down (great when you’ve got a wriggling toddler to get covered!). There are also formulations designed to work on wet skin (normal sun protection doesn’t adhere well to damp skin, meaning there’ll be gaps in protection if you don’t dry them off after a dip in the pool) and lightweight ‘anti-sand’ formulations that sink in quickly – so sand won’t get a chance to stick. Another top tip? My teens love the new sunscreens that have added refreshing ingredients such as menthol, designed to cool the skin on application. Clever!
BE A HAPPY EATER
After a suspect prawn saw me take to my bed (and toilet) on a family holiday to Madeira some years back, I’ve been extra-careful about where and what we eat on holidays. You don’t have to be paranoid, but if you’re eating from a buffet, for example, watch how often food is replenished and if it’s fresh and piping hot. And if flies are buzzing around dried-up dishes? Give them a miss. Check meat is cooked through and in countries where the drinking water isn’t safe, avoid salads and fruit that may have been washed in contaminated water. Peelable fruits like oranges and bananas are a handy option on the go.
You’re going to need more fluids than normal in a hot country, so make sure you keep topping up regularly through the day. In countries where drinking water isn’t safe, ask for bottled water. If you’re in a restaurant, don’t be afraid to request that the bottle comes to your table unopened so you can check it’s sealed (and that it’s not just a bottle filled with tap water). Avoid ice cubes in drinks too.
SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHEN YOU WASH YOUR HANDS
Our hands can harbour all sorts of bacteria – from the cold and flu virus to e.coli and salmonella – so it’s important to wash your hands after using the toilet and before handling and eating food. But most of us don’t wash them for long enough to get rid of these germs and risk infection, sickness and diarrhoea. A good rule of thumb and something that will get the kids doing a proper job? Use plenty of soapy suds and get them to sing Happy Birthday twice whilst washing their hands – it will give them enough time to ensure that all surfaces of the hand are well covered with soap and that enough friction has been applied to each part of the hand to dislodge dirt and germs.
If you are unlucky enough to fall prey to a tummy bug on holiday through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. You can find out more about how to go about claiming here
This blog post has been sponsored by Your Legal Friend. All editorial is my own.