Why do I get ill every time I go on holiday?
THE IDEA OF spending a week washing down Codrals with your poolside Corona is enough to make
you call the whole thing off. Yet the phenomenon of which you speak is fairly common. It even has a name:
“leisure sickness”. As for its cause, Dutch psychologist Ad Vingerhoets has two theories. One is
“competition for symptom perception”: basically, you’re too busy to notice your pounding head until you power down your laptop. “It’s also possible that your body is continuing to produce excess adrenaline, says Vingerhoets. Your body has no use for the energy, causing a hormone imbalance that weakens the immune system.
Whichever the case may be, there are ways to reduce your risk of sun, sea and sniffles. Vingerhoets advises fitting in a pre-holiday workout to ‘use up’ that extra adrenaline. Also, try tapering your workload over a period of three days, rather than slamming on the brakes at the 11th hour.
Maintaining a similar schedule to the one you have during the week – eating regularly, waking early – could also help. Only the sun should be making you sweat on holiday.