The perils of walking barefoot on a beach

05.08.2019 Category: News Author: Dr Richard Dawood

Imagine you’re holidaying in a tropical paradise, walking barefoot on the beach. Would you consider this a health risk? What if this simple, carefree activity could turn your trip into a nightmare?

Unfortunately, this is what happened to a Canadian couple in the Dominican Republic, who contracted hookworm in Punta Cana after walking on the beach without shoes.

Fleet Street Clinic’s medical director, Dr Richard Dawood, is Telegraph Travel’s medical expert and shared his medical opinion on the case in a recent article. 

The article details the story of the couple, who shared their plight on social media to raise awareness of the parasitic worm infection.

Hookworm can infect humans if soil contaminated with their larva comes into contact with bare skin. Most commonly, hookworm infection can occur in Africa, the Americas, China and south-east Asia, according to the NHS.

Dr Dawood explained to the Telegraph how you can spot a hookworm infection:

“Typically there is a linear rash that follows the track of the migrating larva. It can become almost unbearable itchy, much worse than an insect bite, which is an important clue. There’s a local allergic reaction, which can then blister, making the line pattern harder to spot.”

And how to treat: “There are a number of different anti-parasitic treatments that work, either taken as tablets, or made into a cream and applied locally. The larvae can sometimes also be killed using cryotherapy to freeze them. Blisters or scratching can easily lead to infection, necessitating antibiotic treatment.”

To avoid hookworm, avoid coming into contact with soil or sand that could be contaminated. If walking on the beach, it’s advisable to wear shoes at all times!

Dr Richard Dawood at Fleet Street Clinic

Dr Richard Dawood is founder of Fleet Street Clinic in London and has practiced for over 35 years. He was one of the first doctors in the UK to establish Travel Medicine as a distinct speciality. Richard is the most senior UK travel medicine specialist working exclusively in a private setting.

You can book a travel consultation appointment online.

Could your flight be making you ill?

19.06.2018 Category: Travel Health Author: Dr Richard Dawood

How to avoid getting ill on flights – The Telegraph

How many times have you come down with an illness after taking a flight? Are you concerned about germs when flying? If so, you may (or may not!) want to read the findings of a study showing how infections spread on planes.

The Telegraph reported the study with advice from Fleet Street Clinic’s medical director, Dr Richard Dawood.

Essentially, where you sit in relation to sick passengers and cabin crew will determine your chances of catching an infection.

The study shows:

  • Passengers sitting nearest the aisle are most likely to catch an infection from an ill cabin crew member.
  • For the best chance of protecting yourself from cabin crew bugs, sit in the window seat.
  • Sick passengers pose less risk, although if you are sitting very close to an infected passenger then watch out, as you are at high risk of catching their illness.

It’s not all bad for passengers though, as cabin crew were reported more likely to infect one another than passengers. To avoid catching anything, make sure you wash their hands and avoid touching your face throughout the flight. If you feel ill yourself, make sure you keep your hands clean, avert your face when you cough and turn on the air to reduce the spread of bugs.

Dr Richard Dawood said airlines should not allow anyone to travel who was obviously ill.

“It’s a contravention of airline regulations for someone who’s showing overt signs of infection to be allowed to travel in the first place,”

– he said.

He said the best way travellers could protect themselves was by asking someone to wear a face mask.

“The ideal thing to do would be to get the person who’s ill to wear a face mask. You could escalate it to captain level and say, here’s a person who’s a danger to other passengers and they should wear a face mask. However, you could end up with a pretty nasty incident if someone digs in their heels,”

– he said.

You can read the full article here.

For travel advice, you can book a travel consultation appointment here. Or you can learn more about our travel clinic.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS DURING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY AT 35,000FT?

19.06.2018 Category: Travel Health Author: Dr Richard Dawood

Dr Richard Dawood, Medical Director of Fleet Street Clinic, was featured in an article published in The Telegraph:  Is there a doctor on board? What really happens during a medical emergency at 35,000 feet’.

The article discusses the issue of a medical emergency in the air, and Dr Dawood recounts some of his experiences where his medical expertise has been required during a flight.

Dr Richard Dawood Fleet Street Clinic The Telegraph
Dr Richard Dawood

 

Dr Dawood shares how he is happy to volunteer if a doctor is required, and details his experience of caring for a cabin crew member after she was taken ill during an 11 hour flight to Toyko.  As an eminent Travel Medicine specialist, Dr Dawood is accustomed to helping with all kinds of travel-related health issues both pre and post travel, and as the article demonstrates, sometimes during travel as well!

As founder of Fleet Street Clinic, Dr Dawood has developed a multidisciplinary medical practice with a strong focus on Travel Medicine. If you require a travel appointment, you can book online.

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