I bet you picture your hard-earned getaway as an opportunity to catch up on that killer novel or maybe to try a new sport or adventure activity? Well many travelers return home with a lot more than they bargained for! Check out this run down of the most common travel diseases and then follow our Tips and Advice on how to stay healthy;
Traveler’s Diarrhea – This is probably the most common travel illness and unfortunately also one of the most difficult to prevent. Also known as Montezuma’s Revenge, it can strike at any time regardless of where you are in the world and even the standard of your accommodation. Staying in a 5 star hotel won’t make you immune unfortunately. Reduce your chances of getting diarrhea by only drinking bottled purified water and avoiding fresh fruit, salad and vegetables as they may have been washed in contaminated water. The E. coli bacteria is very sensitive to heat so ensure your food is well cooked and piping hot throughout and that all you can eat buffet is probably best avoided, no matter how tempting it looks!
Sun Poisoning – If you’re off to hot and sunny destinations then high factor sun lotions are an absolute must. The light sun-kissed look can be good but the lobster-red look (especially with white bits) is never in fashion. What’s worse though is the persistent itching and burning that comes with sun poisoning. Pack high factor sun lotion and apply plenty of it regularly and stay out of the sun during the hottest hours. And don’t forget that you can still burn through the clouds as well. If you do get burned then take cool showers, apply aloe vera or other specific moisturizers and drink plenty of water.
Sexually Transmitted Infections – Now for itching and burning of a different kind! Pack some condoms for your travels and make sure you use them. Yes do get loads of holidays snaps but don’t bring home a nasty case of syphilis, gonorrhea or herpes. AIDS also could be a serious threat.
Malaria – The insect-borne disease of malaria is a potentially fatal disease which is found in much of the developing world (Latin America, Asia, Africa, the South Pacific, Caribbean and parts of Eastern Europe). Check whether your destination is an affected area and get yourself to your doctor or health clinic to stock up on malaria prevention medications. Also arm yourself with plenty of insect repellent lotions and sprays such as preparations that have a high DEET content. You van also buy plug in repellants and you should make sure your room has mosquito nets fitted on the windows and use the mosquito net around your bed. Wearing long sleeves and long pants after the sun goes down will help to avoid bites.
Dengue Fever – This nasty sounding disease is also attributed to pesky mosquitoes! Symptoms of dengue fever included severe flu-like symptoms and muscle and joint pain. Parts of the Caribbean, South Pacific, Asia, Latin America and Africa are affected and the same advice for avoiding mosquitoes applies as above under Malaria.
Norovirus – There have been several outbreaks of the norovirus on board cruise ships lately, as large groups of people in close confines is a breeding ground for the disease. Norovirus is pretty unpleasant with symptoms including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but is rarely fatal. The virus spreads through contaminated food and water and food and unfortunately there is no prevention or treatment.
Hepatitis A – This is the version more likely to affect travelers, as Hepatitis A is spread through water and uncooked foods. Hepatitis A is classified as an ‘acute liver disease,’ with symptoms including general fatigue, headaches, fever, jaundice and sore muscles. Vaccinations prior to travel are highly recommended, no matter where you’re travelling to, for peace of mind.