The following medical advice/precautions should be taken whilst enjoying your holiday, especially during the hot humid weather. Most common problems to holidaymakers are as follows: Sunburn, ear infections, gastroenteritis with dehydration, sunstroke, sprains/injuries, insect bites, STD’s, chest and throat infections, skin infections, allergic dermatitis etc.
SUNBURN – 8% of cases at our Centre for 2007.
Infants, children and fair skins are especially sensitive and are more likely to be affected. The sun is at its hottest during the hours of 10.00 – 16.00 hours. Reflections from the water and sand can intensify the sun rays. Sun block of a high factor should always be used. Some effects are: red tender skin, blisters, fever, chills, nausea and peeling skin. If you are affected a cool bath or shower will help. DO NOT: apply Vaseline, lidocaine or butter; these will have an adverse effect. Medical attention should be sought if there are any signs of the following: feeling faint or dizzy, rapid pulse or breathing, extreme thirst, nausea, fever, painful blisters, or your eyes hurt and are sensitive to light
EAR INFECTIONS – 25% of cases at our Centre for 2007.
Extended time in the water i.e. the sea or swimming pool can cause infection of the ears, quite commonly known as Swimmers Ear. Bacteria can grow in the ear canal as too much water can wash away the protective coating (ear wax), the ear canal will then become red, swollen and painful. If you do get swimmers ear you may, in all probability, have to stay out of the water for a week to 10 days, antibiotic eardrops have to be used. You should contact the doctor if you have any of the following:
- Pain in the ear with our without fever
- Persistent itching of the ear of in the ear canal
- Loss of hearing or decreased hearing in one or both ears
- Discharge from an ear, especially if it is thick, discoloured, bloody or smelling. The doctor will decide after examination whether cellulites or otitis media is evident, once examined, you will then be prescribed the relevant medications.
GASTROENTERITIS – 8% of cases at our Centre for 2007.
Also called stomach flu. This is caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites. Symptoms include: watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headaches, fever and chills. Dehydration is caused by a loss of fluids from the body e.g. by the vomiting and diarrhoea. Gastroenteritis is highly contagious and is transmitted by people with unwashed hands, close contact with someone infected and/or by eating food or drink that is contaminated with the virus. It cannot be treated with antibiotics if it is diagnosed as viral, but it may be bacterial and therefore, antibiotics can be prescribed. What to do: stay inside and rest until the symptoms subside. Sip small amounts of clear liquids like tea, apple, grape or cranberry juice, 7-up, Gatorade etc. No coffee or caffeinated beverages or alcohol, as these can worsen dehydration. After 4 – 8 hours, if you are able to tolerate clear liquids, you may progress to gentle mild foods such as toast, soup and fruit. Seek medical advice if you notice:
- Excessive thirst
- Dry mouth
- Little or no urine, or it is dark yellow
- Severe weakness or dizziness Untreated severe dehydration can be life threatening.
STD’s – Sexually Transmitted Diseases – 4% of cases at our Centre for 2007.
We all know that whilst on holiday you meet people and sometimes enjoy a ‘One Night Stand’. It is essential that you take precautions i.e. USE A CONDOM!! Some of the diseases are: HIV/AIDS, BV-Bacterial Vaginosis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis, Herpes Genital, Syphilis. Symptoms are a burning sensation, itching, sores and discolouration of discharge. Seek medical advice immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
INSECT BITES – 8% of cases at our Centre for 2007.
Insect bites can cause infections and swelling. Avoid too much scratching as this can make the problem worse. Use an anti-bite spray which contains Citronella which repels these annoying insects. Beware: Spiders and what look like ordinary house flies also bite. Seek medical advice if bites become swollen, if you have several, or if they become infected.
SEA URCHIN SPIKES – 2% of cases at our Centre for 2007.
These can cause swelling and infection; you should seek medical advice to ensure that they are correctly removed and any infections can be dealt with at the same time. If you try to remove them yourself, you can cause the spikes to embed deeper.