Health warning over holidays

HOLIDAYS – they conjure up images of beautiful beaches, scorching sun and relaxing walks by the sea.But all too often some of us bring back something nastier than the bad holiday photos of dad getting sunburned on the beach.

HOLIDAYS – they conjure up images of beautiful beaches, scorching sun and relaxing walks by the sea.

But all too often some of us bring back something nastier than the bad holiday photos of dad getting sunburned on the beach.

Underneath the veneer of the perfect holiday lies a wealth of germs and infections ready to jump back on the plane with you to Britain.

And to combat it, the Department of Health has masses of information to help holidaymakers enjoy their vacation without bringing back more than they bargained for.

According to Sean Tipton from the Association of British Travel Agents the vast majority of holidays are taken in Western Europe which does not cause too many problems.

He said: "They do have different sorts of bacteria to us.

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"Try to avoid ice. Just have a chilled drink with no ice in it.

"You can drink the water in Europe now. The reason we warn about the ice cubes is that it can be down to hygiene.

"People won't get anything too serious, it just won't make for a very pleasant holiday."

But with more people now venturing further afield there are lots of other nasty diseases that can be picked up, but also lots of easy ways to prevent them.

According to the DoH, travellers' diarrhoea is one of the most common things to affect people while they are on holiday, wherever they go.

However it can be combated by a few simple precautions.

n. Always wash your hands after going to the toilet, before handling food and before eating.

n. If in doubt about drinking water or that used for washing food or cleaning teeth, boil it or sterilise it with disinfectant tablets or use bottled water in sealed containers.

n. It is usually safe to drink hot tea or coffee, wine, beer, carbonated water and soft drinks and packaged or bottled fruit juices.

n. Make sure freshly cooked food is thoroughly cooked and still piping hot and avoid food which has been kept warm. Also avoid uncooked food unless you can peel or shell it yourself and food which could have been exposed to flies. Fish and shellfish can be a hazard in some countries, particularly uncooked shellfish like Oysters.

n. Avoid or boil unpasteurised milk.


While there are ways of avoiding most unpleasant illnesses while you are on holiday some countries require a set of jabs or a course of tablets before you go.

What jabs are needed vary widely so always check with your GP around two months before you go on holiday which inoculations are necessary.

PANEL – An example of some recommended jabs or medication.

Malaria – can be passed on by bites from infected mosquitoes. Can recur annually and be potentially fatal. Risk areas – South East Asia, Indian Subcontinent, South Pacific, China, North and South Korea, Caribbean, Central America, parts of South America, parts of North Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, parts of East Europe and former Soviet Union, parts of Middle East.

HEPATITIS A - a virus affecting the liver. Spread through contaminated food and water, found in the faeces of an infected person and is spread through poor hygiene like not washing hands.

Risk areas – East Asia, Middle East, East Europe and former Soviet Union, Southern Africa, Central Africa, North Africa, parts of South America, Caribbean, Australia/South Pacific, Indian Sub continent, South East Asia.

HEPATITIS B – spread through infected blood – can be passed on through unprotected sex.

Risk areas as above but also – Western Europe, Central America.

TYPHOID – spread through contaminated water and food and polluted water. Can sometimes be fatal. Risk areas – East Europe/ former Soviet Union, Southern Africa, Central Africa, North Africa, South America, Central America, East Asia, Middle East, Australia/South Pacific, Caribbean.

YELLOW FEVER – can be caught through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Risk areas – Caribbean, Central Africa (certificates of vaccination may be required for entry into some areas of the country), parts of South America, Central America.

Information source


Tummy upsets and other diseases are not the only thing holidaymakers can arrive home with.

On Monday a Suffolk-wide campaign is being launched to help curb the rise of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and teenage pregnancies caused by young people having unprotected sex on holiday.

A recent survey carried out by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Journal found that out of 1,000 holidaymakers who stepped off planes from Ibiza, 56 per cent of them had had sex with at least one partner.

Out of those 26.2 pc of men and 14.4 pc of women admitted having sex with more than one partner.

Of the 75.5 pc of people arriving without sexual partners, just under half had sex in Ibiza and nearly 40 pc of those had unprotected sex.

Now Ipswich health chiefs are warning people to add condoms on to their essentials list and make sure they come home safe and sound.

The campaign launched by Sharon Singleton, Suffolk Teenage Pregnancy Co-ordinator is targeting young people aged between 16 and 20 with a series of postcards and posters all aimed at promoting condom awareness, urging youngsters to think ahead when planning what to take on holiday.

Their "things to do list" postcard which includes finding your passport, buying sun-tan lotion and picking up free condoms.

Mrs Singleton said: "It is important that young people do not feel pressured into having sex before they are ready and it is OK to say no.

"However we do need to be realistic in our approach to reducing the occurrence of unprotected sex on holiday."


n. Have you had a nasty holiday experience? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or visit the Evening Star forum at

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