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Common Skin Issues When Travelling: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

28 September 2023

Traveling offers an exciting and enriching experience, yet it also presents your skin with various challenges, irrespective of your destination. Whether you’re basking in the sun on a beach vacation, exploring the wilderness on a hiking trip, or encountering allergens that lead to skin rashes, this section delves into common skin issues that may arise during your travels. It emphasises the importance of prioritising prevention and early treatment for a stress-free trip, offering practical tips tailored to ensure a comfortable journey, no matter where your adventures take you.

Additionally, packing a comprehensive first aid kit can be a lifesaver in case of injuries or unexpected skin issues during your travels. Staying well-informed and adequately prepared allows you to fully immerse yourself in the joys of travel and create enduring memories, all while keeping your skin happy and healthy. Safe travels!

When embarking on outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, cycling, or any adventure, it’s wise to have a well-prepared first aid kit. In addition to the essentials like bandages, dressings, and adhesive plasters, consider including specific items to address various potential injuries. A comprehensive first aid kit may also contain:

  • Steroid cream (anti-inflammatory)
  • Antibiotic ointment (infection prevention)
  • Burn ointment (for minor burns)
  • Disinfectant (for wound cleaning)
  • Arnica gel (anti-bruise and anti-swelling)
  • Oral antihistamines (for allergies)
  • Painkillers (e.g., ibuprofen)
  • Personal medications (if applicable)
  • Tweezers, Gauze pad, Cotton balls, Plasters (different sizes)

 

These readily available supplies can make a significant difference in managing minor injuries and ensuring a safe and enjoyable outdoor adventure. Don’t forget to periodically check and replenish your first aid kit to ensure it remains well-stocked and up-to-date for your travels.

  • Cause: Overexposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  • Symptoms: Redness, pain, and sometimes blisters.
  • Location: Most common on areas exposed to the sun (face, neck, shoulders, arms).


    Treatment:

  • If sunburn occurs, take a cool shower or bath.
  • Apply aloe vera gel to soothe the skin.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers may help with discomfort.


    Prevention:

  • Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher (Forest MD’s Silk Sun Screen SPF 60)
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • Take oral Heliocare supplements for additional UV protection
  • Wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Seek shade during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

 

Insect Bites:

  • Cause: Bites from mosquitoes, ticks, or other insects.
  • Symptoms: Itchy, red, swollen bumps.
  • Location: Typically on exposed skin (arms, legs), but can occur anywhere.


    Treatment:

  • Clean the bite with soap and water.
  • Apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.
  • Oral antihistamines can help reduce itching.


    Prevention:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET or picaridin.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing in mosquito-prone areas.
  • Remove ticks promptly using tweezers.

 

Skin Rashes:

  • Cause: Various factors, including allergies, heat, or friction.
  • Symptoms: Redness, itching, and sometimes bumps or blisters.
  • Location: This can occur anywhere on the body.


    Treatment:

  • Keep the affected area clean and dry.
  • Apply a hydrocortisone cream twice daily to the area for itch and inflammation.
  • Avoid scratching to prevent infection.


    Prevention:

  • Keep your skin clean and dry.
  • Use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturiser.
  • If persistent, consult a doctor.

 

Fungal Infection:

  • Cause: Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments.
  • Symptoms: Red, itchy, and sometimes scaly skin.
  • Location: Often in areas prone to moisture (between toes, groin, under breasts).


    Treatment:

  •  Keep the affected area clean and dry.
  • Apply an antifungal cream or powder.

If it persists, consult a healthcare professional.


Prevention:

  • Keep skin dry, especially in moisture-prone areas.
  • Use antifungal creams or powders.
  • Change socks and underwear daily.

 

  • Swimmer’s Itch Cause: Exposure to parasites in contaminated water.
  • Swimmer’s Itch Symptoms: Itchy, red bumps, often on limbs.
  • Jellyfish Bites Cause: Stings from jellyfish tentacles.
  • Jellyfish Bites Symptoms: Tentacle marks and pain.
  • Location: Swimmer’s itch often on limbs; jellyfish stings can be anywhere in contact.


    Treatment:

  •  Apply vinegar to the affected area to neutralise jellyfish stings.
  • Use a topical pain reliever for discomfort.
  • Swimmer’s itch often resolves on its own, but you can use hydrocortisone cream twice daily to the area if needed.


    Prevention:

  • Shower immediately after diving.
  • Rinse with fresh water and avoid swimming in areas with known swimmer’s itch.
  • For jellyfish stings, rinse with vinegar followed by hot water.
  • Apply a hydrocortisone cream twice daily to the area for itching and inflammation.

 

Climate-Related Skin Reactions:

  • Cause: Skin may react differently to cold, dry climates.
  • Symptoms: Dryness, itching, or flakiness.
  • Location: Commonly affects exposed skin.


    Treatment:

  • Use a moisturising lotion or cream.
  • Face, Neck & Hands: Use Forest MD’s Hydrating Soothing Essence mixed with a few drops of Intensive White Lotus Oil twice daily, followed by your moisturising cream.
    → Avoid hot showers, which can worsen dryness.


Prevention:

  • Gradually acclimate to the new climate.
  • Stay hydrated and moisturise your skin.
  • Face, Neck & Hands: Use Forest MD’s Hydrating Soothing Essence mixed with a few drops of Intensive White Lotus Oil twice daily, followed by your moisturising cream.

 

  • Cause: Accidents or injuries during skiing or adventure activity
  • Symptoms: Open wounds, bleeding, and pain.
  • Location: Varies based on the injury.


    Treatment:

  • Clean the wound with mild soap and water.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover with a sterile bandage.
  • For deep or infected wounds, seek medical care immediately.


    Prevention:

  • Wear appropriate protective gear (e.g., helmets, knee pads).
  • Be cautious on uneven terrain and watch for obstacles.
  • Seek medical attention for deep or infected wounds.

Allergic Reactions:

  • Cause: Exposure to allergens in the wild.
  • Symptoms: Vary from mild itching to severe swelling and difficulty breathing.
  • Location: Depending on the allergen, it can affect any body part.

     

    Treatment:

  • Administer epinephrine (if available) for severe allergic reactions as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
  • Oral antihistamines can help with itching and mild symptoms. Carry them in your first aid kit.
  • Seek prompt medical care for severe reactions or anaphylaxis. Know the location of the nearest medical facility in advance.
  • If you’re traveling with others, ensure they are aware of your allergies and the location of your EpiPen. Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet.


    Prevention:

  • Carry an EpiPen if you have known severe allergies. Ensure you and your travel companions know how to use it.
  • Research the flora and fauna of the area you’ll be visiting to identify potential allergens.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, to minimise skin exposure to allergenic plants.
  • Avoid touching or handling unfamiliar plants and animals.
  • Stay cautious when trying new foods; inquire about ingredients if you have food allergies.

 

  • Travel Insurance:

    Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially for adventure trips, which can cover medical expenses in case of unexpected skin issues or injuries.

  • Local Medical Facilities:

    Research and note the availability of medical facilities at your travel destination. Be aware of any potential language barriers when seeking medical help.

  • Hydration and Hygiene

    Stay hydrated during your travels, as proper hydration can help maintain healthy skin. Also, maintain good hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing, to prevent skin issues.

 

Keeping your skin healthy while flying often comes down to two key factors: being prepared and consistent skincare. With the right knowledge and planning, your skin can maintain its radiance even at high altitudes. So, remember to prioritise hydration and sun protection. Taking extra care during your flights can go a long way in keeping your skin happy and healthy. Wishing you a wonderful journey and safe travels!

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