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HEALTH

Spain reports second monkeypox death

Spain on Saturday reported its second monkeypox-related death, one day after announcing what is believed to be the first fatality linked to the current outbreak in Europe.

A photograph shows doses of Imvanex vaccine,
A photograph shows doses of Imvanex vaccine, a smallpox vaccine that has been found to protect against monkeypox. ALAIN JOCARD / POOL / AFP

“Among the 3,750 patients… 120 have been hospitalised and two have died,” the Spanish health ministry said in a report, without specifying the date of the second death.

It said the victims were “two young men”, and that studies were under way to gather more “epidemiologic information” on both cases.

READ ALSO: Spain reports first monkeypox-related death in Europe

According to the health ministry’s emergency and alert coordination centre, 4,298 people in Spain have been infected, making it one of the world’s hardest-hit countries.

The announcement came after Brazil also reported its first monkeypox-related death on Friday, with previous fatalities confined to Africa where the virus is endemic and was first detected in 1970.

It is unclear if monkeypox caused any of the three deaths, with Brazilian authorities saying its deceased patient suffered from other serious conditions.

The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak a global health emergency, the highest alert level it can sound.

Most infections are in Europe, where 70 percent of new cases have been detected since early May, according to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The WHO said on Saturday that more monkeypox-related deaths could be expected in Europe.

“With the continued spread of monkeypox in Europe, we will expect to see more deaths,” Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe, said in a statement.

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HEALTH

UV Index: Where in Spain you have to take extra care with sun exposure

We all know that too much sun can cause health problems, but there are particular places in Spain where the UV Index is higher than others and you need to be particularly careful. Read on to find out where.

UV Index: Where in Spain you have to take extra care with sun exposure

Spaniards and indeed foreign residents in Spain spend a lot of time in the sun, particularly at the beach in summer, and sunbathing is a popular pastime.

While it’s obviously not a good idea to be sunbathing during the hottest part of the day anywhere in Spain, there are some places that are worse than others.

When the sun shines, it emits radiation and one of the most dangerous is ultraviolet radiation. While ultraviolet radiation is not harmful in low doses, it can cause skin damage after long and intense exposure.

The UV Index measures the amount of ultraviolet radiation that reaches the earth’s surface and alerts people to the risk that the sun poses to our health on a daily basis.

The Canary Islands have the highest UV Index out of all the regions in Spain, meaning that if you live there or are thinking of going on holiday there, you should take extra precautions in the sun.

A UV Index level of 8 to 10, as well as anything above 10 is considered to be very high and extremely dangerous.

The Canary Islands consistently record UV Index levels 2 or 3 points above the rest of Spain and in some parts of the day up to four points above.

UV Index levels change throughout the day and reach their highest from about 1pm – 4pm, when you have to take extra care.

For example, on Friday August 12th the UV Index for the hottest part of the day in most of mainland Spain hovers around 7-9, whereas in the Canary Islands it reaches 11-13.

According to Canarian dermatologist Dr. Paula Aguayo, one in five canaries could be at risk from skin cancer throughout their lives due to inadequate sun protection.  

She recommends that people in the Canary Islands avoid the sun between midday and 6pm, use broad-spectrum sunscreens which protect against ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation and a sunscreen with a factor not lower than 30. “ In fact, it is preferable to use factor 50,” she says.

The regions in Spain that typically have the least amount of UV are located along the northern coast, places such as Galicia, Cantabria, Asturias and the Basque Country.

When the UV Index is anywhere from 6 upwards, experts recommend:

  • Avoiding direct sun exposure during the hottest part of the day and always keeping to the shade.
  • Wearing sunglasses with adequate UV protection as well as a hat.
  • Covering your skin and applying sunscreen with a high factor to the parts that are exposed. It is recommended to put cream on in the house before you go out into the sun and to always reapply it after swimming, even if it’s a waterproof sunscreen.
  • Drinking lots of water – In the sun and heat, the skin becomes dehydrated and this aggravates skin aging caused by ultraviolet rays.

Be sun safe even on cloudy days

The UV Index is usually lower on cloudy days, but even so, solar radiation can penetrate through the clouds.  According to scientists, even if the sky is completely covered, 40 percent of the sun’s radiation can still reach earth, so even if it doesn’t feel so hot, you still need to remember your sun protection.

Take extra care in the mountains  

Those heading to the mountains instead of the coast this summer should take extra care from the sun as the UV Index can reach its highest in places of high altitude and you risk being exposed to more radiation.

Mount Teide on the Canary Island of Tenerife and the highest mountain in Spain is one of the worst places for getting sunburnt. Up here, in summer there are around 12 hours of sun a day.

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