While a holiday is a time for relaxation and recuperation, it can also be a trigger for illness and health problems due to sudden changes in climate and diet, as well as increased levels of stress and dehydration from travelling.
BY Amy Anderson 5 July, 2007
Here are some common summer holiday ailments and how you can try and avoid them:
Problem – Mosquito bites
Great red swollen blotches all over your newly exposed body is not what you want as you hit the beach. Most bites take about a week to clear up so that will mean you are covered in red spots for the duration of your holiday.
By taking vitamin B12 up to two weeks before you leave for your holiday you can change the taste of your blood which makes it repellent to mosquitoes. A tincture of Lemon Balm rubbed onto the skin has also been found in trials to help prevent mosquito bites. Vitamin B 12 and Lemon Balm tinctures are available at most health food stores and chemists.
Problem – Cold sores
Cold sores out breaks are more likely to happen on holiday as sun is a trigger for them. Add to that the stress of the flights and a few late nights and it’s a perfect environment for a cold sore attack.
Most over the counter treatments take a minimum of a week to clear up the blisters, which means you won’t be very kissable for the main part of your holiday.
A new liquorice lip balm is the first treatment that actually helps reduce the occurrence of cold sores and has been found in trails to have the ability to damage and in some cases actually destroy the cold sore virus that lies dormant in the skin between outbreaks- and so lessening the severity of outbreaks or even stopping them.
Start using the liquorice balm daily up to two weeks before you leave for best results. Liquorice balm from Skin Shop costs £7.95 for 30ml.
Problem – Swollen ankles/DVT
Trying to shove great swollen ankles into your delicate summer holiday sandals is never going to look a very pretty sight. Although swollen ankles from flying usually go down within a day or so, they are still an undesirable result of air travel and can ruin the first few days of your holiday. In addition swollen ankles in some cases can be heighten the risk of DVT (Deep vein thrombosis), which in very rare cases can be fatal.
Taking the DVT prevention supplement Zinopin not only reduces your risk of flight related DVT during the flight, it prevents your ankles and legs from swelling during and after the flight.
You can take Zinopin just one day before flying and then1 hour before flying to help reduce swollen ankles.
Zinopin is available from selected Lloydspharmacy stores, independent pharmacies, as well as the Nutri Centre online at www.nutricentre.com
Problem- Prickly heat/eczema
Increased heat and sweating gives rise to heat rashes and skin conditions such as eczema. Being covered in a vicious red rash is bound to an end to your bikini beach body aspirations.
A natural soothing cooling gel made from Cardiospermum (a plant extract taken from the balloon vine) is ideal for calming irritating heat trigger skin conditions.
In a recent UK trial is was found to be as effective for some people than steroids in the treatment of eczema.
Aside from the trial, Cardiospermum has been examined for its anti-inflammatory and dermatological effect in more than 12 published research trials on its medicinal effects on inflammatory skin conditions which means it can also help with heat rash and sunburn due to its strong anti-inflammatory effects.
Cardiospermum Gel costs £9.95 for 100ml and is available from Skin Shop
Problem – Diarrhoea
You are more likely to get a stomach bug on holiday than any other time and there is nothing that will curtail your holiday fun more than a vicious bout of deli belly.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus is actually a type of friendly bacteria that you can take up to two weeks before you leave for your holiday to help strengthen your intestine in preparation for foreign food.
According to several studies, it appears that regular use of acidophilus can help prevent “traveller’s diarrhoea”. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study followed 820 people travelling to southern Turkey, and found that use of a probiotic called Lactobacillus GG significantly protected against intestinal infection.
A dosage of 1,000 mg daily was found in studies to be more effective than 250 mg daily.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus is available in health food stores and chemists.
Problem – Hay fever
The most troublesome period for hayfever sufferers in the UK is June-August as this is when pollen counts are at their highest. But going on holiday can also trigger an attack as high pollen seasons in foreign countries differ from those in the UK – it is now ranked as the sixth most prevalent persistent condition in major developed countries.
New research published last month in the British Medical Journal found that a natural extract called Petasin, taken from a common European shrub known as Butterbur, is as effective as common antihistamines such as Cetrizine for treating Hayfever.
Antihistamines tend to have a sedative effect which can make even the simplest task like driving a car difficult of even dangerous and concentration levels tend to be significantly impaired with antihistamine medications, leaving many suffers desperate to find non-drowsy alternatives.
Histamines and leukotrienes (substances produced in allergic reactions) play an important pathobiological role in hayfever, triggering all the common symptoms. The butterbur extract Petasites Hybridus (Ze339) has been shown to block the synthesis of these chemicals and therefore reducing symptoms typical of hayfever.
Butterbur Petasin costs £9.99 for a months supply visit www.indigohealth.co.uk
Problem – Sun Damage
Sun exposure damages skin inside and out. First it attacks the epidermis, the thin, outermost tier of skin, forming a layer of dead cells that give skin a leathery appearance. Then it progressively damages the upper layers of the dermis, or the bulk of the skin, leaving them thinner, less resilient and more susceptible to wrinkling. Over time, the collagen and elastin fibers that form the dermis also break down, causing gradual drooping and sagging.
However, apart from just grabbing some sunblock, a straw hat and oversized shades – thinking about what nutrients you are supplying your body with will also protect you against the ageing effects of the sun this summer.
A new daily supplement called Evelle contains 7 sun protection nutrients that will get your skin prepared for the summer. Clinical studies have proven that Evelle fundamentally alters the skin’s underlying structure from within and also increases the skins own adaptive protection to the sun by increasing enzymes which allow skin to cope with the higher free radical burden that exposure to sunlight causes.
A group of researchers at the Skin Investigation and Technology Institute (SIT) in Hamburg, Germany, tested the product on 62 women aged 45-73 years. After three months, the researchers observed that those women who had been taking Evelle tablets obtained a significant reduction in skin wrinkling and roughness, and increase in elasticity and smoothness, compared with those women who had been taking identical placebo tablets.
Evelle is available from pharmacies and health food shops.
There is also a brand new Superfood Antioxidant Masque for sun damaged skin which will be available from the end of this month. This new masque combines two superfoods- blueberries and pomegranates – to help minimise free radical damage and inflammation caused by too much sun exposure, both of which lead to premature ageing of the skin.
Blueberries contain a phytochemical called Anthocyanin, which has been proven to be one of the most powerful antioxidants of any fruit or vegetable. Studies show that Anthocyanin can protect against the cell damage that accelerates aging by mopping up the free radicals that sun exposure produces.
Pomegranate fruit extract is also a powerful antioxidant but has the added benefit of boosting the skin’s natural SPF factor by as much as 25%.
The Superfood Antioxidant Masque should be applied daily shortly after sun exposure to help minimise inflammation and free radical damage to the skin.
Problem – Cystitis
One in five women get the UTI cystitis and its more likely on holiday than any other time due to dehydration of the flight and the increased heat and an attack could ruin the first few days of your well earned holiday.
Taking cranberry supplements ( D-Mannose) up to two weeks before you leave for your holiday and drinking a litre of water during the hours before you get onto the flight and during eth flight itself can help prevent an attack of cystitis.
Cranberry extract has been found in over 15 years of clinical experience to be as effective at curing UTIs as antibiotic drugs. Just drinking the juice of cranberries is not as effective as taking the concentrated extract.
Cystitis is cased by eth urine being too acidic. The cranberry extract helps add more sugar to the urine and prevents the type of acidic environment in the bladder in which cystitis thrives.
Because it is so effective and so benign, even pregnant women who are susceptible to recurrent UTIs can safely take D-mannose which is also ideally suited for children.
Problem – Dry Scalp
According to London trichologist Tony Maleedy people are more like to suffer from a dry scalp and subsequent heavy dandruff while on a summer holiday than at any other time of the year, and having your holiday social life ruin by an attack of chronic dandruff is best avoided.
Tony Maleedy says “dry scalps cause really bad dandruff but they can actually be made worse by anti-fungal agents in normal anti-dandruff shampoos, because a dry scalp dandruff caused by sun exposure, dehydration and irritants like chlorine in pools is not the same as normal dandruff. Dry scalps often gets worse in summer due the fact that people may wash their hair more often. If they are using poor quality shampoos this can exacerbate scalp dryness. Excessive sweating can also add to scalp dryness
“In addition while on holiday or during hot weather people are more likely to be coming into contact with chlorine from swimming pools, and chlorine has a very drying effect on sensitive dry scalps.
“Abrasive irritants such as sand, salt, straw sun hats as well as low quality harsh hotel shower gels and shampoos can also cause dry scalps as can dehydration from long flights to holiday locations.
“Sunburn is a major contributing factor for summer dry scalp problems. People cover their whole bodies in SPF but often forget about their heads. You can’t really put SPF on your scalp anyway, but in fact your scalp is probably the area most prone to get burned as it’s in direct sunlight most of the time and the skin there is very sensitive and thin. The only protection from scalp sunburn is to wear a hat at all times, but this can be hard when you are swimming or doing water sports, which means dry scalps are very vulnerable – only a small bit of sunburn can have disastrous effects.”
A new shampoo, formulated by Tony Maleedy and tested at Bath University, has been made specifically to help people with dry scalps contains three ingredients designed to cleanse the scalp and clear skin flakes without causing additional drying to the scalp by anti-fungal agents.
The shampoo’s main ingredient is a Sri Lankan tree vine extract which has been studied in more than 12 published trials, including one recent UK trial, for its medicinal effects on inflammatory dry skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. Pure honey has also been used as a natural moisturiser for the hair and scalp tissues.
But a unique addition to this shampoo is that it contains a natural foaming agent made from sugar beet. Unlike the foaming agents in conventional anti-dandruff shampoos, namely Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), sugar beet does not cause irritation on sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, while still producing a rich lather.
In addition to the anti-flaking and anti-inflammatory ingredients in the shampoo, the shampoo’s Ph balance is 6, which is very close to the skin’s natural Ph of 5. Most OTC anti-dandruff shampoos have a very high Ph to help kill the dandruff fungus, but this high Ph is too harsh for sufferers of dry scalp dandruff and can actually make the flaking worse.
Skin Shop’s Dry Scalp Shampoo is available for £5.95 for 250ml.