- SPF stands for ‘sun protection factor’ and this is calculated by showing how many times longer a person can be exposed to the sun compared with a person not using sunscreen. SPF 8 means you can stay in the sun eight times longer than someone without sunscreen. This is calculated for people using 2mg/cm². Most people use far less than this (about half) and therefore the effective SPF is reduced by half.
- Using sunscreen with insect repellents containing DEET can decrease the SPF of the sunscreen.
- Water resistant sunscreen lasts longer, but these will still need to be reapplied every two hours, especially as they can still be washed off with sweat or by swimming.
- Using a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15 or above, which offers UVA and UVB protection is the current guideline from NICE.
- Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before exposure to the sun, and should be reapplied at two hourly intervals, and always after swimming or towel-drying.
- After exposure to the sun creams containing aloe vera, calamine or equivalent can help to cool the skin.
- Skin that has been exposed to the sun can be very dry, and so moisturising is beneficial.
Tag Archives: travel
Gastroenteritis occurs when a person comes into contact with a causative agent which develops an inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract. This can be caused not just by contaminated food, but also in some cases by anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics. It also may be as a result of a food allergy, which may present as nausea and vomiting, adominal pain and diarrhoea.
There are various bacteria that can cause gastroenteritis; shigella, salmonella, clostridium difficiel, staphylococcus, yersinia, salmonella, campylobacter jejuni. E coli is one that cause severe gastroenteritis, with patients often presenting with severe watery (non-bloody) diarrhoea and fever.
Gastroentiritis caused by viruses is frequently referred to as ‘stomach flu’ despite not being related to the influenza virus. Half of gastroetniritis is caused by norovirus, although this generally is prevalent in the period from October to April.
Rotavirus is more common in infants under one year old and is seasonal, as is the astrovirus which affects predominantly children and the elderly, whereas the adenovirus is not seasonal and generally affects children up to two years old.
Gastroenteritis can be caused by parasitic infections, generally Giardia. The parasite grows in the gut and symptoms of gastritis appear after about a week, but can last for a further six if not treated. Generally this would be treated with metronidazole. Cryptosporidium is another parasite that can cause gastroenteritis.
Care needs to be taken that the patient doesn’t become dehydrated; watching particularly for signs of dry mouth or tongue, drowsiness, dizziness or light-headedness, fainting, reduced urine output, lethargy or sunken eyes.
Children are more at risk of injury and illness abroad than adults; often suffering from various insect or animal bites, infestations, respiratory disorders febrile illnesses or various types of diarrhoea (although if the infant is being breastfed it is afforded some protection in this respect).
Before vaccinations for specific overseas areas are contemplated it is essential that the child’s UK vaccination schedule is up to date. Some travel vaccines are not licensed for younger children and therefore this may mean they are not covered for such diseases. It is important to be up to date with health risks in the area to be visited, so a travel consultation is essential.
Diarrhoea is more common in children than in adults (particularly toddlers who may not be walking, or tend to put fingers in mouth). Rehydration sachets therefore, are vital for the first aid kit. Children need to be observed for signs of dehydration, whether they have increased thirst, or dry mouth, or their urine output is decreased, or more serious symptoms including feeling weak, dizzy, light-headed, drowsy, or reduced tears when crying. In severe dehydration the eyes, cheeks, abdomen and fontanelle will appear sunken. There needs to be assured access to suitable drinking water to counteract this. If the child starts vomiting or develops a fever, or has faecal blood, medical advice must be sought to rule out malaria.
Rabies is more common in children than in adults, so the ‘don’t touch’ rule needs to be reinforced with children – even for animals that look dopey.
Notice must be taken of the malaria status of the destination area. Suitable measures need to be taken – DEET, impregnanted mosquito nets, anti-malarials etc.