With the warm weather finally making an appearance and the summer holiday season fast approaching, it’s no wonder us Brits are thoroughly looking forward to escaping the day-to-day and getting away on our holidays.
Of course, whether at home or abroad, whenever we’re away from home the majority of us quite quickly fall into the routine of unwinding, relaxing and forgetting about the normalities of our daily lives – but there are certain things we should all be thinking more about to ensure we keep safe while away.
Following reports from the Office of National Statistics that showed that the average UK resident was away for 10.2nights in 2017, we wanted to find out more about the steps Brits are taking in regard to their health when on holiday, and so we ran a survey investigating how UK residents are making sure they’re staying safe on their travels.
Perhaps one of the most alarming findings was that 5.2 million UK adults admit they regularly do nothing at all to protect their skin, hair and eyes from the sun. With so much talk around global warming, harmful UV rays and sun damage in recent years, this number is quite a shocking one, especially as our findings also highlighted that men are the worst culprits on this front, with 15% failing to protect themselves at all.
Many of us will have fallen victim to or at the very least have seen the aftermath of bad cases of sun burn and inevitably some very dodgy tan lines. So why are Brits letting their holiday health slip away?
Despite our findings that 50% of men are sensible when it comes to sunscreen, compared to just 32% of women, unfortunately, recent reports have shown that when it comes to sun cream, even the higher SPF varieties is often not enough to keep our skin safe from the sun’s rays.
Don’t worry, we’re not telling you to avoid the sun completely. Whether it’s the summer or winter sun, it can have many positive health benefits if you enjoy it safely, such as increasing our levels of vitamin D which in turn, helps to raise our mood, lowers blood pressure and can even help to improve brain function. However, it is important that if you do want to spend time in the sun, you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself to prevent lasting damage. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Applying sunscreen every two hours – ensure you’ve done plenty of research into the best protection for you skin and apply every couple of hours to ensure it doesn’t rub off
- Being selective with the times you spend directly in the sun – avoiding the sun at its peak hours is advisable, opt for a shady spot or sit somewhere cooler and in doors when the sun is at its most intense
- Opting for protective clothing – don’t rely solely on sunscreen for protection. Wear loose clothing that acts as a cover up and accessories such as a wide brim hat to shade your face
- Keeping yourself hydrated – ensure you’re drinking plenty of water and limit sugary or alcoholic drinks which can actually dehydrate you.
When it comes to our clothing and accessories, we can often forget sensible items in favour of more fashionable ones, but it’s important to think about the longer-term damage we can cause ourselves if we’re not careful.
For example, flips flops have a time and place, so if you prefer a sightseeing holiday rather than a holiday by the pool, you’re likely to be on your feet for the majority of your trip which means flimsy shoes are a no-go. It’s advisable to pack a pair of supportive footwear that will protect your feet and keep you comfy when getting in those steps.
We can also make unknown errors when it comes to the way in which we choose to sunbathe, as Katherina Schaps, Senior MSK Physiotherapist for Bupa UK explains:
“Whilst relaxing on a sun lounger, we may prioritise other comforts over our back health. If you’re lying on your back whilst sunbathing, be mindful of the position of the lounger’s back support; lift the support slightly to around a 35 degree angle. Regardless of your preferred sunbathing position, don’t lie in the same position for too long as it can be taxing on your lower back, neck and hip joints.”
While we rarely fail to forget to make relaxation and unwinding a part of our holidays, it’s essential we make our health an important part of our routines too. Taking time to remind ourselves that UV rays and sun-related issues can affect people of any age, which means no one is exempt from taking those protective steps. Equally, it’s not just the sun that can cause us health problems, so try to research thoroughly before your travels and put your holiday health first.
Our Managing Director, Michael Wilson, shared his thoughts on the findings:
“It’s wonderful to see the stats reporting that Brits are getting away on holiday so frequently and of course whilst we’re abroad it’s understandable that we’re going to take advantage of the lovely sunny weather.
“However, while it’s important to relax, unwind and enjoy our (often much needed!) holidays, whether on a cruise, a beach holiday, or even in the colder locations such as the Norwegian Fjords, it’s essential that we pay attention to our health and as part of our daily routine to ensure we’re safe and prepared for whatever conditions we may face.
“It’s also key that we remember that UV rays and sun related issues can affect people of any age, no one is exempt from taking those protective steps – and it’s equally as important to remember it’s not just the sun that can cause us health problems, so research and prep are key.”