Keeping Healthy When Visiting Hot Countries

When taking a holiday in a hot country it is important to take account of the weather conditions, whether you are taking a beach break in the Mediterranean or a shopping trip to Adu Dhabi, over exposure to heat can cause serious health risks.

Effects of heat

Spending too much time in the sun, no matter how appealing, can have serious effects on your health. The main result of over exposure to the sun is the risk of burning. Although the idea of sun tanning is to nicely bake yourself, each year many people overdo their sun worshipping and have to be treated for serious burns or heatstroke and with the added risk of skin cancer if you expose yourself to the sun for a prolonged period.

The other effect of too much sun is dehydration, which can cause nausea, fatigue, muscle cramps and headaches. If you become seriously dehydrated your body could suffer seizures, vomiting, muscle spasms and delirium.

Tips for keeping yourself safe and healthy when taking a holiday in a hot climate include:-

 

1      Keep hydrated, drink plenty of bottled water, make sure they are sealed tightly when you buy them as well. This is the main way of avoiding dehydration; also remember that infants and children may suffer the effects from a lack of water a lot sooner than adults.

2      Cut down on soft drinks, sugary drinks, alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee during the hottest parts of the day. These liquids have the opposite effect to hydrating the body.

3      Avoid ice in drinks as it is normally made from tap water.

4      Avoid over exertion, light exercise is obviously good for you but strenuous games of beach football in 40-degree temperatures can be damaging.

5      Stay clear of direct, midday sun, the hottest part of the day is between 11am and 3pm.

6   Make sure that you have all the recommended inoculations for the country to which you are travelling.

7   Wear light clothing, sunglasses and a hat to protect you from the harmful effects of the sun.

8   Apply the correct factor sun block, at least, sunscreen protection factor SPF 30.

9   Find a cool shady place to sit or spend midday indoors in a cool air-conditioned place.

Treatment

For mild cases of dehydration you simply need to replace the lost fluids, electrolytes and salts from your body. You can also purchase over the counter sports drinks, which normally contain the right balance of electrolytes for your body. Where people are suffering from more serious levels of dehydration they may require medical assistance and the administration of intravenous fluids.

If you do spend too much time in the sun the best course of action is to take painkillers to help the pain, a cool shower or a bath will also help alleviate the discomfort. Drink lots of water to keep you hydrated and taking moisturisers or after sun creams on holiday with you; especially ones that contain aloe vera is a good idea.  In the case of sever sunburn a trip to the local hospital or doctor may be necessary to receive the appropriate treatment.

Jim Dean is a keen travel blogger and writes for Etihad airways who can offer you flights to Abu Dhabi as well as many other great (and hot!) places.