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F
rom travel insurance to vaccinations, here's
what to think about before you travel.
Start preparing for your trip, especially long
trips, four to six weeks before you go.
Read the latest health and safety advice for the
country you're travelling using:
GOV.UK
TravelHealthPro country information
WHICH JABS DO I NEED?
You can find out which vaccinations are necessary
or recommended for the areas you'll be visiting on
these two websites:
NHS Fit for Travel
Travel Health Pro
Some countries require you to have an Internation-
al Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)
before you enter. For example, Saudi Arabia re-
quires proof of vaccination against certain types of
meningitis for visitors arriving for the Hajj and Um-
rah pilgrimages.
Many tropical countries in Africa and South
America won't accept travellers from an area where
there's yellow fever unless they can prove they've
been vaccinated against it.
If diseases such as malaria are a risk, you may need
to start treatment before travelling. Prepare a kit of
travel health essentials, including sunscreen, pain-
killers and antiseptic. Consider taking condoms
with you to avoid the risk of buying fake, and po-
tentially unsafe, brands when you get there.
SUN PROTECTION
WHAT SUN PROTECTION FACTOR (SPF)
SHOULD I USE?
Sunscreen is not an alternative to covering up with
suitable clothing and seeking shade, but it does of-
fer additional protection if applied correctly.
When buying sunscreen, make sure it's suitable for
your skin type and blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA)
and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
The sunscreen label should have:
the letters "UVA" in a circle logo and at least
four-star UVA protection
at least SPF15 sunscreen to protect against UVB
Make sure the sunscreen is not past its expiry date.
Most sunscreens have a shelf life of two to three
years.
Tips on applying sunscreen:
To be most effective, sunscreen should be ap-
plied liberally. The amount of sunscreen needed
for the body of an average adult to achieve the
stated SPF is around 35ml, or six to eight tea-
spoons of lotion.
If sunscreen is applied too thinly, it provides less
protection.
If you're worried you might not be applying
enough SPF15, you could use a stronger SPF30
sunscreen.
WHAT ARE THE SPF AND STAR RATING?
The sun protection factor, or SPF, is a measure of the
amount of UVB protection. The higher the number,
the greater the protection.
In the UK, UVA protection is measured with a star
rating. Sunscreen ratings range from zero to five
stars. The higher the number of stars, the greater
the protection.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN THE SUN?
Don't spend any longer in the sun than you
would without sunscreen. In the UK the sun is at
its strongest from March to October, especially
from 11am to 3pm.
Try to spend time in the shade between these
times. You can still burn in cloudy conditions,
even if it's not warm.
Find out your skin type and your sensitivity to
sunlight on the Cancer Research UK website.
Should I reapply sunscreen if I swim?
Water washes sunscreen off, and the cooling ef-
fect of the water can make you think you're not
getting burned. Water also reflects UV rays, in-
creasing your exposure.
Sunscreen should be reapplied straight after
you've been in water even if it's "water resist-
ant" and after towel drying, sweating or when
it may have rubbed off.