Alaska Sainz

Alaska Sainz has 7 articles published.

Are You Sun Safe?

in Health & Beauty

Even one severe sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles your chances of developing the deadliest form of skin cancer, Melanoma, later in life. If you have lots of moles or freckles, your risk of getting skin cancer is higher than average, so take extra care.

It is important to check your moles on a regular basis for any changes.
Key factors to keep in mind are asymmetry, borders, colour, diameter and evolution. If you have any concerns, be sure to speak to your general practitioner.

It is important to strike a balance between protecting yourself from the sun and getting enough vitamin D from the sunlight. Vitamin D has various important functions, including immune support, calcium and phosphorus absorption and retention, and boosting mood and brain function.

Tips for enjoying the sun safely this summer

  • Choose sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB. 
  • Your sunscreen should have a 4-star UVA protection rating or more. 
  • Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside. 
  • Spend time in the shade, particularly from 11am to 5pm.
  • Darker coloured clothing is best as these absorb more UV than lighter colours like whites and pastels. Additionally, a wet t-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one. 
  • Apply sunscreen to areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands.
  • Sunscreen should be reapplied straight after you have been in water, even if it’s “water resistant”, and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Take extra care with children, their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin. Damage caused by repeat sun exposure could lead to skin cancer developing in later life. Children aged 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight. 
  • If possible, opt for ‘reef-safe’ sunscreen, as these can help protect our local marine ecosystems. 

How to deal with sunburn

  • Sponge sore skin with cool water, then apply soothing aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera.
  • Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will ease the pain by helping to reduce inflammation caused by sunburn.
  • Stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone.

World Autism Acceptance week

in Health & Beauty

March 27th to April 2nd marks World Autism Acceptance week. This year’s theme, colour, highlights and celebrates the diversity of the Spectrum.

Autism is more common in males than female. Research has found Autism is approximately 4.2 times more prevalent in males. Additionally, signs of autism are different between sexes. 

Being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease. It means your brain works in a different way from other people.It’s something you’re born with. Signs of autism might be noticed when you’re very young, or not until you’re older. Autism is a spectrum. This means individuals with autism will need varying levels of support. 

In order to understand more about Autism and increase awareness, members of the community have shared their views on living with Autism. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Karla and Tamara for sharing their views and contributing to spreading awareness this Autism Acceptance week! 

What do you wish  everybody knew about Autism? 

“I wish people knew that being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease. It just means your brain is wired differently hence the reason it works in a different way. It is also not the end of the world. Although it might have been when they first diagnosed my son (reason being I knew nothing about it), I quickly came to understand that he was perfectly healthy and that he was still the same little boy. That just because he’s autistic, does not categorise him into a different human being. There’s a saying that says ‘if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism’. Not everyone with autism is the same, just like not everyone on earth is the same. EVERYONE on earth is different, despite their abilities or disabilities. I also wish people knew that you can’t see autism. It’s very heartbreaking to hear comments like ‘but he looks perfectly fine’. The fact is, he is perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with him. People with autism THINK differently to us, and have been put in a world where it makes no sense to them. How is that visible? They have differences that we call ‘challenges’ because WE don’t understand how to handle them. But with the correct tools in place, we can learn to understand them better, and they can learn to live in a world that is not catered for them. It’s a disability that no one can see, and it’s hard for us as parents and for them as individuals. The perfect world would be one where everyone would accept anyone the way they are. Everyone is unique in their own way, and autism doesn’t make it any different. Why should I teach my child to act like a ‘normal human being’? What is a ‘normal’ human being anyway? My biggest wish would be for people to be aware of the differences in autistic people and understand that they are just different, just like you and me, and everyone else, but not less!”  – Karla Imossi 

“That Autism does not have a cure, it’s a lifelong disability. It does not come with a handbook or instructions. Reading about Autism does not make you an expert and all children/adults are different, and what applies to one does not necessarily work for another.” – Tamara Colton 

What are the biggest challenges to those living with Autism/their carers, in Gibraltar?

“Access to respite, proper medical and mental management, little resources to maintain a steady and constant care. Everything that needs to done or achieved for our children/adults is a struggle, nothing is explained when a diagnosis is given and the issues are growing every day. It’s a growing problem as the numbers increase and no proper things are in place”. – Tamara Colton 

If you think you, your child or someone you love could be Autistic there are various people you could speak to. Receiving a diagnosis is important as it will help put appropriate support systems in place. 

People who may be able to advise 

you include: 

• A GP

• A health visitor (for children under 5)

• Any other health professional 

• Special educational needs (SENCO) staff at your child’s school

What is Autism?
Autistic people may:
• find it hard to communicate and interact with other people
• find it hard to understand how other people think or feel
• find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable
• get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
• take longer to understand information
• do or think the same things over and over

More information and support can be found at

Or locally: 

Special Needs Action Group 

Bowel Cancer Screening

in Health & Beauty

Bowel cancer is the 4th most common type of cancer. The Bowel
Screening programme can detect polyps, which may develop into
cancer in the future. The early detection and treatment (if
necessary) of polyps, can prevent Bowel Cancer from developing. 

If you receive a GHA Bowel Screening test kit, it is important to participate. Screening is offered to all men and women aged 69 to 74 years. 

We understand that you may have some queries about the Bowel Screening Programme and be hesitant to ask. This test could potentially save your life so we hope any concerns, which maybe preventing you from taking part, are covered in the Q & A below. If you would like to know more about the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, we are always happy to help, contact us on 20007025. 

I have received a test-kit over the post. Why should I take this test if I feel fine? 

Symptoms of cancer usually appear when it has grown to an advanced stage, by which time treatment may not be possible. By performing this test now, you could detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to be effective. Another reason is that this test may also identify polyps, which are tumours that could turn into future cancer. In this way, you can prevent cancer before it even forms. 

Is cancer going to be found if I take this test? 

The most likely outcome (99%) is that the test comes back as Negative. When the result comes back as Positive, this does not mean cancer. In the majority of these cases polyps or other diseases are the cause. Only a very small number of people (one in 500 tests) are diagnosed with cancer.   

How much sample do I have to collect? 

Cover the grooves on the tip of the applicator stick with poo; this is enough to obtain a result. Collecting too much poo could result in the sample being rejected. 

Do I have to fill all samples or could you make do with just the single sample? 

The test requires 3 samples on 3 separate days. Without this, we cannot be certain of the result.  

How long do I have to hand in my samples? 

Always check the Expiry Date on the back of the tubes (e.g. 11474/2022-07-31) before performing the test. Usually, there will be several months to go, however we would urge you to use the kit as soon as possible. If the test-kit has expired, you should contact the Screening Office for a replacement test-kit.  

I suffer from constipation and would not be able to collect all 3 samples within 14 days. What should I do? 

It is important to deliver the samples quickly. Collect the 3 samples on 3 separate days and deliver them individually to the Pathology Department within a few days after collection. Keep the samples refrigerated while awaiting delivery. 

I don’t like to place stool samples in the fridge, is there an alternative? 

The tubes are well sealed and safe. However, you could also take each sample to the Pathology Department on the same day that you collect it, provided you do so within four hours. The Pathology Department is open for collection between 10:00Hrs to 15:00Hrs Monday to Friday. 

I have been told not to perform the test if I suffer from haemorrhoids (piles) or take anti-inflammatory medication. Should I follow that advice?

You should take the test even if you suffer from haemorrhoids or take prescription medicines. Cancer or other diseases may still exist alongside haemorrhoids or while taking medication. If you suffer from bleeding haemorrhoids wait until the flare-up subsides before carrying out the test.  

I have previously been treated for bowel cancer. Do I have to take this test? 

That depends upon the treatment you received. If only a part of your bowel was surgically removed, you could still develop bowel cancer in the remaining part. If this is your case then you should continue taking the test. If the whole of your large bowel was removed, you may not need further testing. If this is your case, please ask your doctor to confirm this in writing to us and we will stop sending you test-kits. 

I’am already receiving treatment for another cancer, so why should I take this test? 

Two cancers can co-exist and different cancers need different treatments.  Treatment for another cancer does not confer protection against bowel cancer. If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment, please perform the test after completing your treatment cycle. 

Can my husband / wife / friend use my test-kit instead of me? 

Each test-kit is personalised for the person to whom it is addressed. No one else should use it. 

I’m over the age of 75 and I have not yet received a test-kit. 

The Programme only invites persons between 60 – 74 years of age. However, if you are over the age of 75 you can still ask to be screened. Please contact the Screening Office for further details. 


in Features

February 6-12th marks tinnitus awareness week 2023. Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a sound when there is no external noise for that sound.

Tinnitus itself is not actually a condition but a symptom of an underlying condition. This maybe age-related, as a result of hearing loss, injury or disease. 

Tinnitus can be difficult to live with, however there are things you can do to try to help cope better. 

Do not have total silence. Listening to soft music or sounds (sound therapy) may help distract you. 

• Try to avoid things that can make tinnitus worse, such as stress or loud background noise. 

• Try to find ways to improve your sleep. Sticking to a bedtime routine or cutting down on caffeine can help improve sleep and reduce stress.

Join a support group – talking to other people with tinnitus may help you cope.

  1. Ask the GHA General Practitioner (GP) to be referred to the ENT Department. 

2. You will then have a hearing test followed by a consultation with the ENT Doctor who will examine your ears, review the hearing test, advise on management options and possibly request a scan of the ear (MRI). 

3. Patients with both tinnitus and hearing loss will be considered for hearing aids. These amplification devices can sometimes also help with the ringing. 

4. Patients with severe tinnitus will be referred to London for tinnitus rehabilitation. 

5. Send a message to GHITA on +35054066055 or contact via email,

Importance of sleep

in Health & Beauty

Everyone can have trouble sleeping from time to time. But if you find your sleeping issues persist over a long period of time, or the lack of sleep begins to affect your functioning in day-to-day life, it is important to seek advice from a GP. The amount of sleep each individual requires depends on many things, including levels of stress, lifestyle factors and quite noticeably age.

Problems associated with long term sleep deprivation include increased risk of obesity, depression, a reduced immune system function and lower sex drive. There is also added risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure and stroke. Several long term studies now confirm that people who work regular rotational night shifts, for 5 years or more, have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

If you find you struggle to get sufficient sleep there are some positive lifestyle and sleep habits you may implement in order to reach your recommended number of hours:

Keep to your sleep pattern

Going to bed when you feel tired and getting up at roughly the same time helps teach your body to sleep better. Try to avoid napping where possible.

Create a restful environment

Dark, cool and quiet environments usually make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Comfortable, clean bedding and a suitable mattress are all important to create a good sleeping environment. You can also try scented mists, such as lavender, to help create a relaxing environment. 

Make a note of any worries

If you often lie awake worrying about tomorrow, set aside time before bed to make a list for the next day. This can help put your mind at rest.

Move more, sleep better

Being active can help you sleep better. Specifically, moderate to vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality by reducing sleep onset (the time it takes to fall asleep) and decreasing the number of waking cycles experienced during the normal sleep period. 

Avoid pick-me-ups

Caffeine and alcohol can prevent you from both falling asleep and experiencing deep sleep. Try to cut down on alcohol and avoid caffeine close to bedtime.

If you have trouble sleeping, useful resources can be found here:

Climate and Diet

in Health & Beauty

Making small changes to our diet can improve own well-being, and when eating sustainably we can reduce our carbon footprint and further improve our planet’s health. Although the stark effects of Climate Change may not yet be affecting our daily lives in Gibraltar, those in developing countries are experiencing hardships as a result of a planet under strain.

Some of the world’s poorest countries are experiencing prolonged droughts that reduce crops, destroy livestock and affect water sources. Rising carbon dioxide levels can cause staple crops like rice and wheat to become less nutritious. Globally, approximately 800 million people lack food and many suffer from nutrient deficiencies. 

Plastic, which is used to package a great many of the food products we buy, is one of the most persistent pollutants on the planet. The manufacturing process for its creation produces billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases. Many items discarded after single use, and far too many ending up as pollutants in our ocean.

Every year, approximately 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nationals. 

Once at sea, the effects of sunlight, wind and wave action break down plastic waste into small particles. 

These micro plastics are breaking down further into smaller and smaller pieces. This can affect air quality, water sources and foods such as seafood. 

Our relationship with food, what we eat and how we grow it, has a major impact on pollution and climate change.

Make a small change today to help reduce your carbon footprint:

• Be mindful of plastic packaging when purchasing a product. Check for plastic free alternatives. 

• Reduce the amount of red meat and dairy you consume. Livestock, in particular cows, account for around 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases.  Instead, try to increase your intake

• Choose fish species which are more abundant such as Mackerel or Herring, rather than species at risk of being overfished (e.g. Pollock or Tuna). If possible, try to buy fish that has been farmed sustainably.

• Use a refillable water bottle when possible – to reduce plastic consumption. 

• Opt for reusable containers or beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap and aluminium foil when storing food. 

• Whenever possible, shop locally. Eating produce grown within your geographical region requires less travel, also referred to as “food miles”, to get to your plate and therefore helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Some great local resources to learn more about the environment include [Cut Meat Not Trees]

Be sun safe

in Health & Beauty

With sunnier days approaching, it is important to remember to protect yourself against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. We should aim to strike a balance between protecting ourselves from the sun’s harmful effects and getting enough vitamin D from the sunlight. Excessive unprotected sun exposure can result in skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression and skin cancer. Sun Awareness Week is being celebrated this year from 3rd – 9th May, with the aim of highlighting the dangers of exposure to the sun.

It is easy to forget that sunburn does not just happen at the beach or on holiday! You can burn even when it’s cloudy. Some sun safety tips to keep in mind are:

• To spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest. 

• Make sure you never burn. If you do burn, sponge affected area with cool water and apply Aftersun Cream or Aloe Vera Gel. Seek medical help if you feel unwell. 

• Cover up with suitable clothing. Darker clothing may offer more protection than lighter coloured clothing. A wet t-shirt is much less protective than a dry one. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer optimum protection. 

Sunscreen is an essential part of protecting yourself from UV rays. When choosing a sunscreen, it is best to look out for a label with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB. UVB and UVA are both types of ultraviolet radiation linked to skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeply and cause what is known as photoaging, or premature aging of the skin. Your sunscreen should have a 4-star UVA protection rating or more. Ensure your sunscreen is not past its expiry date, most sunscreens have a shelf life of 2 years. Some people may skip the sunscreen for various reasons, for example, they may worry about sunscreen causing breakouts, or even the effect of sunscreen on the environment. There are lots of different options on the market, with oil-free and non-comedogenic sunscreens for those prone to breakouts, to reef-friendly options for those worried about their environmental impact. 

In order to receive optimum protection, it is important to apply enough sunscreen. As a guide, you should aim to apply the equivalent two tablespoons for covering the whole body when wearing a swimming costume. The equivalent of two teaspoons of sunscreen is sufficient if you are just covering your head, arms and neck. 

With many of us exercising outdoors, we should be reminded that the harmful effects of the sun can occur even if we do not feel the sun rays – up to 80 per cent of UV rays can penetrate clouds! Here are some extra precautions you can take to ensure you are protected next time you head out the door;

• Apply sunscreen according to manufacturer’s instructions.

• Avoid exercising at when the sun is strongest – between 11 am and 3pm from March to October 

• Ensure you are adequately hydrated. 

• Wear a cap to protect your face/eyes from sun damage. 

Even one severe sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles your chances of developing the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, later in life. Sun damage builds up over time, throughout our lifetimes. Therefore, UV damage can occur, even if there is no obvious sun burn. 

It is important to check your moles regularly for any changes. In order to do this, you should stand in a well-lit room and use a mirror to check your body all over. Ensure that you are able to check hard to see areas such as your back and scalp. When checking moles, key factors to keep in mind are asymmetry, borders, colour, diameter and evolution, firmness and growth. If you have any concerns, make sure you speak talk to your health care provider. 

0 £0.00
Go to Top