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Is being out in the sun actually good for you?
The first signs of spring mean that most of us are already thinking about a summer holiday, and now you have even more reason to book a flight! For years we’ve been warned about the dangers of being out in the sun. Sunburn, heatstroke and even serious afflictions like skin cancer are all risk factors of sun overexposure. But what if we told you that lounging by the pool abroad might actually be good for you? At Express Travel Clinic, our aim is to make sure you’re safe on your travels. We want you to all have fun and look after yourself, and that’s why we’re here to explain some of the great benefits a little summer sunshine can have – taken in moderation and with adequate skin protection, of course. It’s a great source of calcium The sun can do wonders for our skin. It’s packed full of vitamin D – in fact, it provides us with over 90% of the vitamin D in our bodies. And what does vitamin D do? For one thing, it provides calcium to help strengthen our bones. A bit of sun can improve our bone density and our posture, particularly as we get older. It reduces the risk of heart disease Vitamin D is a wonder vitamin, and does all kind of good things for our bodies. One of these good things is reducing the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that regularly exposing our bodies to UVB rays can lower blood pressure just as effectively as prescription medication. The British Medical Journal found that people are more likely to die from heart disease in the winter than in the summer, due to a lack of vitamin D. It relieves aches and pains When it’s cold, our muscles and joints tend to contract and become stiffer. This is where a little holiday warmth can help. Warm weather eases muscles and relieves tightness and discomfort, helping our bodies relax. This helps relieve the pain associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis. It’s a mood lifter As a general rule, we tend to feel happier when it’s warm and sunny. There is a science behind this, as sunshine helps us release serotonin. Serotonin is our natural happiness drug, helping us cope with anxiety and depression and making us feel more energized. It also eases the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a kind of depression specifically caused by lack of sunlight. It’s good for your skin Sunlight can help with the treatment of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne, to the point where going out in the sun is often prescribed to sufferers. Sunshine and sea water are a great combination for fighting spots, giving you even more reason to jet off. It is important to remember, however, that your skin is a delicate and precious thing. Never stay out in the sun for hours on end without sun-cream and always ensure that you stick with a high SPF. It reduces the risk of cancers That’s right, sun exposure can reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer. A study by the US National Cancer Institute found that the vitamin D in sunlight can reduce fatality in breast and colon cancer, with similar results being found for stomach, bladder and womb cancer. Obviously, you need to be sensible with sun exposure. Regularly applying sun cream and wearing hats and light clothing which covers your shoulders can help fend off the harmful consequences of too much sun like heatstroke and sunburn, which affected 72% of Brits last year. But it’s good to know that a bit of sunshine can do you good. Heading somewhere hot this summer? Get in touch with the Express Travel Clinic team and make sure that you have all the bases covered for your trip abroad. We offer a wide range of vaccines and advice on the best courses of treatment, wherever you’re heading.
A Guide to Encephalitis
Encephalitis is a serious illness that affects people around the world. Surprisingly, however, awareness of the disease is still relatively low amongst the general public, despite 82% of all requiring emergency hospital admission. In this article we’ll explain more about this troublesome disease – what it is, what variations there are, and how you can avoid it. Read on to learn the signs, the symptoms and how to protect against variations of this disease. What is Encephalitis? In simple terms, encephalitis is a swelling or inflammation of the brain. Sufferers often experience cold and flu type symptoms before the full extent of the condition kicks in. A mild case of encephalitis involves fever, mild headaches, and low appetite, as well as the chance of drowsiness, vomiting, disorientation, and stiffness. In more serious cases of encephalitis, emergency symptoms can present themselves. These include paralysis, seizures, painful headaches, loss of consciousness, and even memory loss. In young infants, the condition can be difficult to detect, but signs to watch out for are stiffness, frequent crying, poor feeding, vomiting, and the possibility of a small, soft bulge on the side of the head. The virus can, in extreme cases, lead to the destruction of nerve cells, bleeding of the brain, and brain damage. The Different forms of Encephalitis Encephalitis is more likely to strike young infants (particularly those younger than one year old) and the elderly. The condition is most likely to be contracted through a virus. There are many viruses which can lead to a case of encephalitis. These include: Rabies Rubella Polio Mumps Measles Chicken Pox Adenovirus Echovirus West Nile Virus Coxsackievirus For some of these viruses, vaccines already exist. This is not a complete list, however. The herpes simplex virus is the most common cause of severe encephalitis in people of all ages. For travellers, it is the mosquito-borne forms of encephalitis that are the biggest fear. In rural areas of South East Asia, the Far East and the Pacific Islands, viruses found in pigs and birds can be passed to humans via mosquitos that bite the animals and then bite humans. Contrary to what some people may think, Japanese encephalitis can not be passed from person to person. How to avoid mosquito-borne encephalitis As with many diseases, taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites can be effective. This includes applying insect repellent containing the chemical DEET, avoiding areas where there is standing water, wearing long sleeves and wearing trousers – particularly at dusk. When mosquitos are most active. Utilising mosquito nets at night is also an effective way of protecting against disease. How to treat mosquito-borne encephalitis There is currently no cure for Japanese encephalitis. However, it is possible to vaccinate against the disease in advance. This can be done by visiting your local travel clinic and consulting with a trained clinician. Express Travel Clinic offers vaccines for both Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitis. These vaccines can make all the difference, so don’t hesitate to make sure you are protected. Call today or use our discreet live chat tool to find out more about our treatments.