Here are 5 most common travel ailments that can wreck havoc on your vacations plans this summer.(Getty Images)
Here are 5 most common travel ailments that can wreck havoc on your vacations plans this summer.(Getty Images)

Keep illness at bay, on your next vacay: Common travel ailments and how to deal with them

You have booked the hotels and flights, and have an itinerary drawn up, for your next trip. But what if you fall ill in the middle of it? To guard yourself against common travel illnesses such as flu, motion sickness and diarrhoea, follow these expert tips.
Hindustan Times | By Abhinav Verma, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 03, 2018 03:32 PM IST

Summer vacation is a good two months away, but aren’t our travel plans already under way? However, before you get on with any further planning, there is something that merits your attention more. Travel ailments. An illness is the last thing you’d want anywhere, least of all on a trip. A stomach upset will keep you from savouring the local delicacies (or even worse) and motion sickness will make you queasy in a car ride that should have been breezy. We got in touch with experts Deepak Parashar and Satish Kaul, who have given a list of the most common travel travel ailments and how you can take care of them.

Traveller’s diarrhoea

The worst case scenario for any trip would be an instance of traveller’s diarrhoea. This ailment can be brought about by reasons ranging from a change in environment, using unhygienic washrooms, not washing hands properly, drinking contaminated water, or eating raw/undercooked or unhygienically prepared food.

Prevention: Drink bottled water and eat freshly-cooked food. Eat fruits that can be peeled off, such as bananas. Carry a sanitiser at all times and wash hands frequently.


Flu can wreck a trip very quickly. Causes range from being exposed to crowded areas, and thus getting exposed to airborne diseases through sneezing and coughing, to coming in contact with the sick. Lack of hydration is another cause.

Prevention: Always cover your nose and mouth when in crowded places. Use an alcohol-based sanitiser. Drink enough water and eat light, boiled food. Try to get adequate rest.

Altitude sickness

The hills sure are calling, but so is mountain sickness. Oxygen levels at high altitudes are quite low, which not everyone is used to. Watch out for symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath.

Prevention: Go slow while hiking, and remember to take breaks. This is important to let the body acclimatise. Make sure you are hydrated, and avoid alcohol. Take the prescribed medication.

Postural defects

If you travelling by road, you could have to sit—often cramped or slouched—for long periods of time. This could cause pain in the back or the neck, or legs cramps, and lack of blood circulation.

Prevention: Avoid pain and cramps while travelling, by ensuring you move around and stretch a little, every couple of hours. Pillows can be used to provide support to the back. While sleeping, use neck pillows.

Motion sickness

Motion sickness is a common disorder where the inner ears and other senses are able to detect motion but your eyes aren’t. If looking out of a moving vehicle makes your head spin, and cause nausea, dizziness and headache, you may have motion sickness.

Prevention: When travelling by car, sit in the front. Eat light and take proper medication. Try to equalise your sensory cues by keeping your gaze fixed at a specific point.

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