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Questions for the Family GP: The Summer Edition

This month we ask our favourite family GP, Dr Ruhil Badiani of Cornerstone Clinic all our summer travel and health concerns.

Here’s what she had to say:

What is the best course of action for heat stroke?

If you are suffering with heat stroke immediately get yourself into a cool air-conditioned place, or in the very least, find a cool shady spot or sit in front of a fan. Elevate your legs to above heart level and rest back. Drink lots of cool fluids, water or sports drinks are best, and do not drink any alcohol. Taking a cool shower, soaking in a cool bath or putting towels soaked in cool water onto your skin can help to lower your temperature. Remove any unnecessary clothing and make sure your clothes are lightweight and not tight. If you do not feel better within an hour of using these methods, seek prompt medical attention.

What is prickly heat and how can it be tackled?

Prickly heat is also known as a heat rash. It occurs when sweat is trapped in the skin and symptoms can range from small blisters to deep inflamed lumps. Some forms can be very itchy. Mild forms of heat rash can be treated with cooling the skin down and avoiding exposure to heat - getting into a cool indoor space, cool baths and showers, towels soaked in cool water placed on your skin and sitting in front of a fan can ease the rash. Other home remedies that may also help include are calamine lotion, oatmeal and aloe vera. If these methods do not help then antihistamines and steroid creams can be prescribed by your doctor. Watch for worsening and signs of infection such as pus, oozing, white or yellowish fluid, increased pain, swelling, fevers, muscle aches, and other flu-like symptoms and immediately take you or your child to the doctor.

What SPF should we all be wearing? Is it the same for me and my kids?

Using sunscreen is an important way to reduce the negative side effects of harmful UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. Adults of all ages and skin color should use at least an SPF of 30 during all outdoor activities. Children over 6 months old should wear a cream-based sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Additionally, you shouldn’t rely on just sunscreen as a way to avoid the sun’s radiation. Protective clothing and shade can also help protect you from the sun. Remember to reapply sunscreen throughout the day and choose one that is broad-spectrum.

How much water should we drink in Dubai summer?

How much water you should drink in Dubai summer is dependent on you or your child’s activity so hydration needs do vary. Men should try to drink around 3-4 liters and women around 2-3 liters. Exercise, pregnancy, medical conditions such as kidney disease may increase to decrease this fluid daily requirement. Toddlers should drink 2-4 glasses, children aged 5-8 around 1 liter and aged between 9 and 12 around 1.5 liters. As a general concept, those that live in a hotter climate should consume more water.

Is AC really bad for you?

The AC is essential during the hot summer months, it helps to keep us cool and avoid heat stroke and can improve indoor air quality due to the filter. However, unless the systems are cleaned regularly, the AC unit can actually contaminate the air caused respiratory ailments, colds, fevers, headaches and fatigue. So a well-maintained, clean AC system is not bad for you. Make sure to book your cleaning on a regular basis!

What should be in your travel first aid kit?

First and foremost your travel first aid kit should have your regular medications, take enough for your holiday and some extra. I would also advise you to take a recent prescription from your doctor so you have a full list of medications and the doses at hand. Your travel kit, at the very least, should include paracetamol, ibuprofen and antihistamines (anti-allergy medications) plus a thermometer and plasters.

Depending on where you are going and what activities you may be doing you might want to add in antimalarials, anti-nausea tablets, sunburn creams and SPF, insect repellent, oral rehydration sachets and possibly anti-diarrhea medications. If you suffer from acid reflux you may also want to add in some antacids and if you have a severe allergy do not forget your Epinephrine auto-injector. I would also advise you to travel with some mild steroid cream, an antibiotic ointment as well as antiseptic wipes to disinfect wounds. Tweezers, gloves, and scissors are also useful.

Make sure that you take medications for everyone in your family, this includes syrups for children and tablets for adults, the medications are in date, and you are aware of the doses needed for everyone that is traveling with you. Some medications you may want to carry in your hand luggage such as your regular medications and Epi-pen but be sure to pack sharp objects and liquids over 100mls into your checked-in luggage.

There are many travel first aid kits available to buy which can be very useful but you can make the kit yourself. Be careful that young children cannot access your first aid kit so consider lockable storage if you are traveling with young children.

Don’t forget to check the rules of the countries that you are going to, including countries that you are just passing through. Different countries have rules and regulations about the types of medications they allow and the maximum quantity. Some medications that are available over the counter in one country maybe be controlled in others.

Any more questions for Dr Ruhil? Drop us a line at


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