8 illnesses you could have brought back from holiday

It was a glorious week away: the alfresco lunches, the wine, the soft sand and warming sun – but how sure can you be that the only thing you ve brought back from your Discount Holidays © holiday is a tan? Foreign climes are fertile ground for sick bugs, lurgies and parasites, many of which lie dormant for weeks after being contracted before rearing their ugly head at about this time in early September once the children are back at school and the unpacking has been done. If your post-Discount Holidays © holiday blues are refusing to shift and that mosquito bite is only getting itchier, there might be something more significant going on. Here are eight common Discount Holidays © holiday ailments that may have your name on and what to do if you ve caught one.

Delhi belly

Gastro-intestinal problems (also known as traveller s tummy) affect four in 10 Britons abroad and are caused by eating faeces-contaminated food or water. Cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea are the inevitable result. Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth, author of Your Child Abroad: A Travel Health Guide says, There is an enormous list of bacteria that cause Delhi belly but methods of prevention and treatment are the same. She suggests avoiding avoiding raw foods such as salad, unwashed fruit and ice cubes in regions where environmental hygiene is poor. Peel it, boil it, cook it or forget it, she advises. If you feel unwell, keep fluid levels up by adding salt and sugar to water to aid absorption.

Dr Wilson-Howarth swears by OXO cubes mixed with warm water to replenish missing salts.

Legionnaires disease from New York

Hotel air conditioning and hot water systems are to blame for the spread of Legionnaires disease, a form of pneumonia first recognised in America in 1975. The incubation period is around 10-days; after that victims experience headaches, chills, a high temperature, tiredness and muscle pain, although some have no symptoms at all. Extreme cases can be fatal and those who develop chest pain or breathing difficulties should see a doctor immediately.

12 people died in New York this year from the disease after an outbreak in the south Bronx was traced to a number of buildings cooling towers. Running the shower for five minutes before getting in can reduce exposure to stagnating legionella bacteria and most cases are cured with antibiotics such as erythromycin or clarithromycin, says Dr Wilson-Howarth.

Lyme disease from Scotland

Lyme disease was first discovered in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975 and is a bacterial infection spread by blood sucking ticks. These mites thrive in woodlands and heaths, so the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District and the New Forest are particularly rife. Look for a red circular rash, much like a bulls-eye target, that can appear up to a month after being bitten.

Symptoms include joint pain, numbness, memory problems, headaches and heart blockage or even failure due to muscle inflammation. Dr Wilson-Howarth advises to have a shower at the end of each day and run your hands over your body to see if you ve picked up any. One would need to be attached for at least 12 hours for you to contract the disease and it s easy to treat with antibiotics from your GP.

Chikungunya from the Caribbean

Chikungunya is a viral disease carried by mosquitos. The word means to become contorted in Kimakonde (an African language) and refers to a sufferer s stooped appearance after experiencing severe joint pain, one of its many nasty symptoms. Others include nausea, fatigue and rash and will begin three to seven days after being bitten. Since 2013, chikungunya has spread like wildfire across the Caribbean and Latin America with reports of more than one million suspected cases.

Mosquitos carrying the virus have been found more recently in cooler climes in Italy and France too. There s no cure but patients typically recover within weeks or months. Those over 65 and young children are particularly at risk of severe symptoms.

8 Illnesses You Could Have Brought Back From HolidaySince 2013, chikungunya has spread like wildfire across the Caribbean and Latin America

Mallorca acne

Mallorca acne is the result of a reaction between UV rays and greasy emulsifiers in sun creams or some cosmetics. Dr Wilson-Howarth says those who go on flash-fry holidays, exposing themselves to intense bursts of sun while sporting a full face of make-up, are more susceptible – hence the name. It manifests itself in fine nodular red marks usually on the upper arms, face and d colletage and strikes within hours of sun exposure. Moderate your time in the sun, especially from 11am to 3pm and use traditional spot creams such as Zineryt – that contain skin healing zinc – to treat outbreaks.

Cutaneous Larva Migrans (CLM) from Asia

Common in tropical or subtropical climes, this parasitic skin infection is caused by hookworm larvae burrowing through the skin, hatching and causing red itchy raised tracks at they move about underneath the skin s surface. The larvae spread through animal faeces and walking barefoot along a beach or lying on contaminated soil can be enough to become infected.

The larva tape worm moves a few millimetres a day through the skin, says Dr Wilson-Howarth. It is incredibly itchy but easy to treat by using liquid nitrogen on the head of the worm. Phagocyte cells will remove it from the body and you ll feel relief within hours.

8 Illnesses You Could Have Brought Back From HolidayGastro-intestinal problems (also known as traveller?s tummy) affect four in 10 Britons abroad Photo: Alamy

Dengue fever from Singapore

Dengue fever is spread by infected mosquitos in tropical areas. Most cases improve within ten days and can be fought off from home without the need for a doctor. As with many tropical diseases, this starts with a fever, headache and acute joint pain. Dengue is also called breakbone fever as your joints can ache so badly that they feel as through they are breaking, says Dr Wilson-Howarth. Rest and recuperation is the treatment.

A minority of sufferers, and they are most likely raised in Asia, develop a dangerous haemorrhagic form of the disease. This is heralded by bleeding gums and easy bruising and, until the patient s blood clotting system has returned to normal, requires hospital treatment. Haemorrhagic dengue kills 10 per cent of victims. Singapore is well known for dengue outbreaks and saw 842 cases in one week in June in 2013.

Spelunker s Lung from Colorado

Cavers are most at-risk from Spelunker s Lung as it s caused by inhaling Histoplasma capsulatum fungus spores found on bat droppings. The fungus affects the lungs and can develop into anaemia, meningitis and pneumonia.

If you re in a dusty cave and a lot of fungal spores are churned up you can get very sick, says Dr Wilson-Howarth.

After contracting it once you are immune and some keen potholers deliberately infect themselves in less malignant caves.

In the US, 500,000 people get the disease a year, incurring coughs, breathing problems and chest pains that can generally be treated with antifungal medication.

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