Going on holiday should be fun, long awaited, planned carefully etc. etc. Do you find that when you go away to a new country that your skin flares up and your body goes into some kind of spin making everything hyper sensitive? This happens to me every time I go away, so now I’m beginning to get a bit paranoid. What’s causing all my problems? What can I do to stop it?
I have a few ideas, but would love to hear from others who have this problem.
Too much stress?
Holidays should be relaxing and help to relieve the stress of every day life, but if your stomach is swollen and sore and your skin itchy, covered in rashes and your face flaring up like a big red balloon – all is not calm and carefree. Does my body react adversely to all the holiday excitement? It is stressful having to examine every label (in a foriegn language) and worry about what I’ll eat at each meal. Instead of being fun, discovering new tastes, foods and flavours, I eat the same things I would order here in England. Ordering food in a foreigh country has the added problem of language and culture which adds even more stress.
Most European countries do now have perfectly safe drinking water, but is it this that’s effecting my skin? I can avoid drinking the tap water quite easily, and wash my teeth in bottled water, but I can’t really wash in it. Is showering and washing in foreign water effecting my delicate skin’s balance? When you are living with allergies, salads are often the safest option – can you realistically ask for it to be washed in bottled water? I don’t think so. What is it in a different country’s water that might cause skin upsets? Or is it nothing to do with the water at all?
This holiday I was quite brave, and ate out on quite a few occasions, using my clever translation cards. In most restaurants and cafes they would read the card, in silence, nod that it would be OK and disappear. Is this enough? Have they read it properly? Some spoke English and further conversation was possible meaning they understood more fully the severity of my allergy. Most didn’t – and whilst the translation cards help, do they lull you into a false sense of security? Was my swollen face and itchy skin a result of cross contamination, or small amounts of allergen being present on the food I was served?
All in the mind?
There are many who think that food allergies are all in the mind but for many they are very real. Am I creating my own skin flare-ups because I am expecting to have problems, I’m bringing it on myself? Do I just need to chill out? Visualise myself with lovely, tanned, perfect skin and hey presto – I’ll be cured of my holiday allergy? I know that my allergies are not all my mind, but many who think they have an allergy are actually only intolerant. It’s a very grey area and can lead to a lot of confusion.
Pollen and grass
Could it be pollen and grass that gets airborne and effects my skin? as well as making my eyes water and puff up? Sounds a bit extreme for pollen to bring on eczema, but can it? Pollen and grass in the UK doesn’t make my skin react, just my eyes and airways.
So despite the fact that I did genuinely have a great time; chilling by the pool with great friends in lovely warm sunshine, my skin was constantly irritated, itchy and sore. I tried to ignore it, grin and bear it, but it grinds you down. When you look across at the pefect smooth and healthy skin of your companions it makes you want to scream, “WHY ME?”
On the plus side my asthma almost completely disappeared, proving that getting away from the dusty house made a big difference. Antihistamines are my life savers and really helped me get on with things, but forgetting the skin steroid cream (which would probably have kept reactions at bay) was my own silly fault. I was so sure I packed them but mysteriously they got left behind. For future holidays I am going to write myself an actual check-list which I’ll go through and physically tick stuff off.
It’s almost like my skin heaves a huge sigh of relief on the plane home, and in a few days I’m back to normal. So what’s occuring here? I’m confused…
Anyone else have this problem? Always getting the holiday blues? Despite all the careful planning? I’d love to hear if anyone has any tips for avoiding holiday skin disasters…