Health

Warning! Lack of camping hygiene could damage your eyesight

Don’t fall foul of basic hygiene this summer! Check out these tips from Optical Express to keep your eyes protected

Thousands of people across the UK could be damaging their health and sight this summer by forgoing basic hygiene while on camping holidays.

That’s according to health experts at Optical Express.

With the British weather seeing an unprecedented and extended heatwave, Brits of all ages are flocking to campsites for their annual vacation and to soak up the most of the sun’s rays. But Optical Express says that while camping is a great experience for many, it can mean that hygiene is compromised and not always upheld to the usual standard when at home.

“Camping may be one of the favourite Great British holidays for families and couples, but in fact campsites are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, which can not only be damaging to our health, but have detrimental effects on our sight too,” says clinical services director Stephen Hannan.

Eye Infections

A lack of eye health hygiene at a campsite can lead to common eye infections, such as conjunctivitis or an infectious keratitis (infection of the cornea). Contact lens wearers are especially susceptible as there is regular contact between your eyes and hands. Speak to your optometrist about using daily disposable lenses, as these will mean you don’t need to clean them after each use, instead moving on to use a completely new lens. However, if using monthly lenses, always bring two storage containers and never leave them to soak in water.  Always use appropriate contact lens solutions as recommended by your optometrist and remember to wash your hands appropriately before touching your eyes.

Corneal Abrasion

When camping, the weather is usually a little unpredictable. Scorched dry grass and sea winds whip up sand particles, sending these into our eyes, which can result in the eye turning red and the cornea swelling. Rubbing the eye can exacerbate the minor scratch, which usually causes itchy sensation and form a deeper scratch on the eye.

Allergies

The pollen count generally increases as the temperature rises, which can irritate our eyes, particularly when hiking and camping. At a campsite, access to running water can be limited and harmful bacteria can build up on your hands, whilst rubbing your eyes can aggravate them, causing them to get bloodshot and can result in a common eye infection. Always bring antihistamines and eye drops to a festival to minimise the effects of allergies.  An optometrist can advise on appropriate management.

Dry Eye

When we go on holiday or for a mini-break, it’s natural to indulge a little more than usual. However, consuming large quantities of alcohol can not only dehydrate your body, but cause irritation and result in dry eye, which is where the eye does not produce enough moisture to protect the iris and remain comfortable. Alcohol can also lead to blurred vision as it causes the eye lens to swell, reducing your inability to see.

Top tips to keep your eyes protected:

1.      UV 400 protection

Often when camping, you are outdoors for a prolonged period of time, which means it’s important to choose the right pair of sunglasses. We’d recommend always trying and choosing a pair that offers UV 400 protection, as this can eliminate 97-100 per cent of UV rays.

Even if you are wearing sunglasses that are tinted, there are options available that offer no UV protection and can damage your eyes more than not wearing your sunglasses. Tinted lenses can trick the pupils into dilating, allowing more UV light to enter the eye, without offering protection.

2.      Remove contact lenses

As tempting as it is to leave your lenses in place, it can be very damaging for your eyes to wear them for a longer period than recommended. Although contact lenses are designed to let your eyes breathe, leaving them in for long periods can leave your eyes dehydrated and tired. As an alternative to contact lenses you could consider Laser Eye Surgery, To find out more visit a refractive surgery provider such as Optical Express to understand if you are a candidate for procedures such as LASIK.

3.      Ensure you have clean hands

Although it’s common practice, clean hands are vital when touching your eyes or using any form of lenses, but when you are camping it can be difficult to get access to fresh running water. When sat around a campfire smoke can irritate your eyes, leading you to rub them. We always recommend washing and drying your hands thoroughly before handling your eyes or lenses, but an alternative is to use anti-bacterial hand gel before attempting to use them.

4.      Stay hydrated

It’s important to stay hydrated when you go camping, as many choose to go hiking and forget to top up with water. However, dehydration can cause eye irritation, particularly for those wearing contact lenses. We’d recommend bringing some eye drops or lens drops, which can soothe irritated eyes. Being exposed to sunlight for a long period can result in sunstroke, so it’s vital to drink at least eight glasses of water a day at your campsite.

Camping is a great way to spend time with friends and family, however it’s important to be protected in order to enjoy your break to the fullest and be safe. However, if you have any concerns about your health, look for a local GP or walk in clinic where you will be able to seek medical advice. If you have any concerns about your sight following your break, book an appointment at your optometrist at your earliest opportunity.

Optical Express is Europe’s only full-service eye care provider, offering eye examinations and every optical solution from glasses and contact lenses to laser eye and lens surgery.

To book an eye test, or for more information, visit the Optical Express website

Health

Is your office bathroom making you sick?

Is the toilet in your office or place of work filthy? It could be making you sick.

New research by Showerstoyou.co.uk has revealed that a significant number of illnesses causing staff to take time off work are contracted from dirty office environments.

What’s more, poor hygiene and cleanliness in office bathrooms are instensifying the problem and putting workers’ health at risk.

Showerstoyou.co.uk which, of course, sells bathroom supplies, set out to find out more about employees’ bathroom dislikes and their colleagues’ dirty toilet habits by polling more than 1,400 UK men and women working across a range of industries.

It says the findings are shocking:

  • More than half of workers (51%) have been ‘appalled’ by the state of their office bathroom at least once, over the space of six months, and just under half (48%) of people worry about going to the bathroom at work, in fear of being greeted by an unclean, smelly environment.
  • One in 10 would give the bathroom a miss altogether if they could.

Despite this, a staggering seven in 10 (74%) claim to leave the bathroom ‘in the same way they would like to find it’ and make a conscious effort to ensure the cubicle is acceptable and tidy once finished with.

The survey found that the bathroom now has several uses – perhaps accounting for
the extent of dirt and grime found at work.

The alternative uses of office bathrooms include applying make-up, discussing work, checking social media, catching up on emails and texts, making calls, and gossiping.

When workers were questioned on how long they typically spend in the office bathroom, the results varied depending on the situation. Some would rather be in and out (43%), while others will use the opportunity to take a break from their work (31%).

29% of office workers admit to taking their phone into a cubicle, with a large number admitting to just sitting in the cubicle playing games, or browsing the internet, and not using the toilet for its primary purpose.

73% are more likely to wash their hands when in the presence of another colleague, either for a longer amount of time, or when they normally wouldn’t.

These were the most common reason for people not washing their hands after using the bathroom:

• A queue at the sink/hand-dryer (28%)
• Dirty sink (24%)
• A bad smell (17%)
• Couldn’t be bothered (13%)
• No soap/sanitiser (10%)
• Fear of colleagues being judgemental for taking too long (8%)

More than two thirds (68%) of people said they feel ‘disgusted’ when they notice a colleague not washing their hands and a third (34%) of workers would consider confronting them over poor hygiene and cleanliness in the bathroom.

According to the study, the biggest pet peeves cited by office workers are:

1. Colleagues not flushing the toilet after use (39%)
2. Not replacing toilet roll (24%)
3. Leaving make-up/dirt around the sink (16%)
4. Not putting rubbish in the bin (12%)
5. Having conversations in the bathroom (9%)