Whether you’re jetting off far afield or spending a long weekend in Europe you will want to make sure you’re safe and healthy so you can enjoy your holiday this summer. Follow our top tips for this holiday season for a more comfortable experience so the only thing you need to think about is when you’ll get to the beach!
Prevent and Treat Sunburn
Here at What Skin Needs we’re champions of the mantra ‘prevention is better than cure’. With this is mind, ensure your skin is adequately protected this summer to avoid suffering from sunburn.
Cancer Research UK recommends using at least a factor 15 sunscreen with a star rating of 4 or above. Children’s skin is more delicate so ensure children are protected with t-shirts, hats and cover any exposed areas with a factor 50 and high star rating. Check out our guide to SPF and the difference between UVA and UVB here. A common misconception is how much sunscreen we should be using – many of us apply less than we’re supposed to. As a guide you should be applying around 2 tablespoons if you are covering your entire body while wearing a swimming costume.
If you do find you are suffering from sunburn you should seek shade immediately. To relieve the symptoms try the following:
- Cool skin by applying a cold, damp cloth or having a cool shower or bath
- Apply an after sun or calamine lotion to soothe any discomfort
- Drink lots of fluids to rehydrate the body
- Ibuprofen or Paracetmol can help reduce any pain
- Keep affected areas covered until fully healed
- Know the Difference Between Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke
There is a difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke and knowing the difference and how to treat them can mean the difference between enjoying your holiday and experiencing a holiday nightmare!
Heat exhaustion is where a person experiences fatigue as a result of a decrease in blood pressure and volume due to a loss in body fluids and salts after being exposed to the heat for a prolonged period of time. To treat heat exhaustion remove excess clothing, increase water intake and seek a cool, shady place. Within half an hour they should start to feel better. Without treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.
Heatstroke occurs as a result of the body’s temperature becoming too high due to exposure to excessive heat. As a result, the body is no longer able to cool itself and starts to overheat. Symptoms of heatstroke include dry skin, vertigo, confusion, thirst and nausea. Heatstroke should be treated as a medical emergency and an ambulance should be called.
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive you should:
· Move the person to a cool area
· Increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan
· Give the person water to drink (if they are conscious), but don't give them medication, such as aspirin or Paracetamol
· Shower their skin with cool, but not cold, water (15-18°C); alternatively, cover their body with cool, damp towels or sheets
Deal with Insect Bites and Stings
While there is evidence to suggest that mosquitos prefer to bite some people over others, the reason why is still unclear. Only female mosquitos bite, male mosquitos do not bite people. It is estimated that about one in 10 people are attractive to mosquitos.
· Using an insect repellant will help you to avoid being bitten or stung. Repellents that contain diethyltoluamide (DEET) are most effective.
· When outdoors try to cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, and hats. Light, loose fabric is ideal.
If you are unfortunate enough to be bitten wash the affected area with soap and water and place a cold compress over the area to help reduce swelling. Try not to scratch the affected area to avoid infection. If you're in pain or the area is swollen, take painkillers. If you suffer an allergic reaction due to an insect bite or sting or start to feel unwell seek medical advice, as mosquitos are known to carry diseases.
Minimise the Chance of an Upset Stomach
Many of us would have experienced an upset stomach at some point whilst on holiday. Don’t let it ruin your holiday; there are simple precautions you can take to reduce the chance of experiencing diarrhea this summer:
· Make sure your food is well cooked, ask for food to be cooked a little more as a precaution
· If you are self-catering wash salad leaves before serving using bottled water
· Avoid buffets if possible and any food that has been re-heated and left at room temperature for long periods
· Drink bottled water and avoid ice in your drinks
To treat an upset stomach it is important to rehydrate. Drink plenty of bottled water to help flush out the cause of the problem and to prevent dehydration. Try using an oral rehydration solution such as Dioralyte.
Ward Off Prickly Heat
Prickly heat most commonly occurs on the face, neck, back, chest and thighs but it can develop anywhere on the body. The rash has a spotty or bumpy appearance and can cause a mild swelling and an itchy or intense prickly sensation. It typically occurs when a person sweats more than usual, hence why we generally suffer with it during summer or on holiday. Try these top tips for treating prickly heat:
· If you need to go outside try to avoid excessive heat by spending time in the shade or using a small fan
· Wearing loose, cotton clothing will allow the skin to breathe, unlike synthetic fibres that trap in heat causing us to sweat
· Keep your skin cool and take a cool shower to soothe skin
· Calamine lotion is available from most pharmacies and will provide relief to irritated skin.
Keep in mind our tips and advice this summer whilst you are away to ensure you enjoy a safe and happy holiday!