Beware! The Hidden Dangers of Euro 2016 you are Oblivious to…

euro 2016The European Championship in France is now less than three months away and there has been widespread concern regarding security risks, following recent terror attacks in the capital. With this in mind, UEFA commented last month ensuring appropriate mechanisms would be in place to ensure a “safe and secure” tournament for all those involved.

However, could there other risks for fans travelling to France for Euro 2016? Perhaps looking after one’s own health will not be the number one priority for most supporters whilst in another country and cheering on their national team, but Medical Specialists® Pharmacy would like to stress the importance of looking after your health during this time – and indeed any other time – as well as managing any health condition you may have.

One major health issue facing France is the problem of air pollution – a problem which last year the French Senate committee estimated the annual cost to be at €101.3 billion within a report they published.

The two key air pollutants that can affect asthmatics are ozone (found in smog) and particle pollution (found in haze, smoke, and dust). When ozone and particle pollution are present in the air, children or adults with asthma are at a higher risk of symptoms. The World Health Organisation (WHO) state that particle pollution is responsible for 42,000 premature deaths each year in France alone.

It is often acknowledged by health experts that air pollutants often act as a trigger to make people’s asthma symptoms worse. Asthma UK have previously said: “Two-thirds of people with asthma tell us that traffic fumes make their asthma worse and 42% find that traffic fumes discourage them from walking or shopping in congested areas. And 85% of people with asthma tell us they are concerned about the effect that increasing vehicle fumes will have on their and their family’s health in the future.”paris

Therefore, anyone wanting to get in a lung-busting jog to burn off those match day drinks and pies would be advised to do so in the morning, a time when both ozone levels and pollen counts tend to be lower. In addition, if possible, try to keep at least 50 feet from auto exhaust and heavily trafficked roads during either walking or jogging; walking paths or forest trails would be ideal for asthma sufferers. Perhaps most importantly, Medical Specialists® cannot stress enough how critical it is that anyone with asthma travelling to France in June must remember to take their blue reliever and brown preventer inhalers!

Inhalers should be accompanied by antihistamines if you also suffer with hayfever. Not everybody with asthma has hayfever, but many do, and your asthma symptoms may worsen if you also have hayfever. March to September is typically the peak time for pollen counts and when people need to be taking their antihistamines daily, such as Loratadine, Cetirizine, etc.

The west coast of France is usually the best place to be during hayfever season as pollen counts are generally low. Unfortunately, the only games being held there will be in Bordeaux. More inland, France has lush vegetation, where pollen counts can be very high. The south of France and the French Riviera are particularly known for their high pollen counts, meaning supporters with hayfever that are travelling to games held in Marseille, Nice and Toulouse, should prepare accordingly. Also, grass pollen poses the greatest risk within areas around Paris – another city playing host to fixtures – and tree pollen counts can also be high.

Back in late June 2013, hayfever sufferers across France were put on a ‘red alert’, warned of a massive peak in the levels of grass and cereal pollen in the air for the first two weeks of July at least, which is when Euro 2016 will be taking place this year. Therefore, don’t ruin your experience of Euro 2016 by forgetting your hayfever treatment…the only tears we expect to see will be from an England inevitable early exit from the tournament, although hopefully that won’t be the case!

Of course we don’t want to stereotype the average football fan, but with thousands of passionate football fans flocking overseas to see their team in action, this can lead to some ‘boisterous’ behaviour. With England and Wales both having two group B games kicking off at 8pm, this leaves plenty of spare time in the day, which can mean fans spilling into cafes, pubs, and bars hours before the game has even kicked off.

football fans

During a single drinking session try to limit how much you drink, drink more slowly, drink with food and alternate with water or non-alcoholic drinks. In another city, country, or in a risky or unfamiliar situations in general, it is imperative to keep a close track of alcohol consumption. Being too drunk could leave you vulnerable and at risk from others, or unable to look after your friends and loved ones.

Alcohol affects the ability to make sensible, rational decisions, resulting in more careless and risky behaviours. One such behaviour – linked intrinsically to excessive alcohol consumption – is having unprotected sex. Maybe England and/or Wales will advance far beyond the group stages of Euro 2016, but this is no excuse to throw caution to the wind and forget usual safe sex practices in the process.

Any sexually active adult should always carry and use condoms when required, so don’t forget to pack them before making the journey to France. The last thing you would want to bring home besides a depleted bank account and hangover will be a sexually transmitted infection or unwanted pregnancy.

jules rimetMedical Specialists® Pharmacy don’t wish to be total party poopers though! As the 2016 European Championship in France is nearing, the excitement is building as the nation’s hopes of a first tournament success in 60 years (the 1966 World Cup remains the last taste of glory for England) will rest on the young shoulders of the England football team.

Optimism has reached fever pitch following March’s incredibly impressive 3-2 win over reigning World champions, Germany, with a particularly standout performance from 19-year-old Dele Alli, a player many are tipping to be a star of Euro 2016.

There will be thousands of Brits flocking over the English Channel in June, in time for both England’s opening game against Russia on Saturday 11 June and Wales v Slovakia on the same day. We hope that everyone making the trip to France enjoys the tournament and fantastic atmosphere that accompanies such events, just remember to look after your health and wellbeing too!

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