If you’re planning to go on vacation, the last thing you want to experience is catch a cold or some foreign illness while you’re miles away from home. Many illnesses can be caught easily, but most can be treated, if you are prepared ahead of time. Whether you are going on a month-long vacation across the globe or a quick weekend getaway at the nearby island, here’s what you need to know about common travel illnesses and how to avoid them.
- Traveller’s Diarrhea
Contaminated food and water is the number one cause of traveller’s diarrhea. Visitors to developing nations in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Middle East are most at risk. Avoid eating undercooked or raw fish, meat and vegetables. Fruits that you peel yourself like bananas are usually the safest. And when it comes to water, always go for bottled water—sealed and with brand name.
Whether you are travelling or not, doctors suggest getting annual flu shot. A shot takes weeks to build your immunity, so make sure to get vaccinated well in advance before your scheduled trip. To maintain healthy travel, always wash your hands before and after eating and always carry a hand sanitizer with you wherever you go. Pack ibuprofen or acetaminophen in case of fever, body pains or flu-like symptoms.
- Dengue Fever
Dengue is transmitted by daytime-biting mosquitoes that are usually found in Southeast Asia, Africa, China and India. With no vaccination available as of the moment, the only way to avoid dengue fever is to avoid getting bitten. This means you should always put on insect repellent, cover up more and stay indoors when mosquitoes are bad.
Developing countries like Indonesia, India and Zimbabwe have reported outbreaks of this water-borne disease. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and in extreme and rare cases blue- or grey-tinted skin. To avoid getting infected with this illness, follow the same precautions as traveller’s diarrhea. However, if you’re headed somewhere where cholera has been widely experienced, get a preventive shot like Dukoral before making the trip.
These are just a few simple tips that will dramatically reduce your risk of getting ill while on vacation, but are often so simple that many travellers overlook them. Before setting off on your trip, take a moment to prioritize your heath, so you’ll be a able to enjoy your holiday with peace of mind.