Lucy Eastgate - Senior nurse at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases 

From maggots to malaria, holidaymakers can bring back all sorts of unwanted souvenirs. Lucy Eastgate tells us how she sends tropical diseases packing.

My day starts at...
6.15am, courtesy of my 16-month-old baby Olive. We have a little chat- she's such a cutie! I then take the train from the Buckinghamshire countryside to Euston.

On a typical day I...
Triage and treat patients who've returned from the tropics. Our walk-in emergency clinic at Mortimer Market sees around 3,600 patients a year. They might say "Oh gosh, I swam in the Nile"... or "I slept in the rainforest and now I have a strange rash. We can request tests for malaria and get the results back within an hour. If it's a positive, it's a judgement call whether we admit or prescribe medication and monitor them closely as an outpatient. I also give travel vaccinations and antimalarial medication.

The best thing about my job is...
It's endlessly fascinating. Our patients are a lot of fun to work with and many have been to places I've never heard of and are always interested and curious about their diagnosis.

Anything particularly tricky?
One of our tasks is to remove parasites, including myiasis, a type of maggot that has grown under the skin. They have tiny hairs that grip onto the flesh and can put up quite a fight when we try to get them out! Some tropical diseases are not easy to identify but if you have strange symptoms after travel to the tropics you've come to the right place!

Words of advice...
Road safety (or lack of it) is the biggest risk when you travel-so don't be too relaxed. And always wear flip flops on tropical beaches. They don't just look pretty - they can protect you against cutaneous larva migrains, a parasite in dog poo that gets under the skin­ literally.

How I became a travel medicine specialist...
I first became interested when I worked as a nurse in a high security prison and saw people with untreated tropical diseases. After studying tropical medicine, I worked in Cambodia, Uganda and Afghanistan in remote clinics.

After work...
I like walking, rock climbing, playing with Olive and geeky things like playing Scrabble with my lovely husband John.