This is a viral illness caught from the bite of an infected mosquito. Causes muscle breakdown, sickness and fever. It is present in many parts of Africa and South America. You may need a yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter many countries. Single injection. Immunity for 10 years. If this is the first vaccination, it must be administered at least 10 days before travel.
In most cases causes only a slight temperature, sore throat, vomiting and headaches but in some cases may attack the brain and spinal cord resulting in permanent paralysis. Still exists in many under-developed areas e.g. Africa and Asia. Booster every 10 years.
A bacterial infection that produces a severe, life-threatening diarrhoea. It is spread through contaminated food and water and poor hygiene. It is prevalent in Africa, the Far East and South America. There are three types of typhoid vaccine available. Single injection every 3 years. Oral capsules also available.
The most common travel-acquired illness after diarrhoea. It is a liver infection caused by a virus and produces a severe jaundice and general illness. It is spread through contaminated food and water and poor hygiene. Initial injection and a booster after 6 to 12 months. Immunity for 10 years.
A liver infection that results in jaundice and general illness and is occasionally fatal. Prevalent in parts of Africa, South America and the Far East. Initial course of 3 injections with a booster every 3 to 5 years.
Japanese B Encephalitis is spread by mosquito bites and can cause temperatures, stiff neck, muscle twitching, and headaches and may result in coma and death. Prevalent mainly is South East Asia but also occurs in India. Immunisation consists of a course of 3 injections.
An acute viral infection of the nervous system spread through the bite from an infected animal. It is usually fatal. Present in all continents except Australasia. Three injections over the course of a month.
An inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes caused by a variety of infections. There are three main strains, A, B and C.
A potentially fatal wound infection. Symptoms include discomfort in swallowing, stiffening of the jaw and neck and painful convulsions of the jaw and whole body. It can be fatal. After an initial course of three injections a booster is needed every 10 years.
A severe throat infection, which can progress to affect the heart and body nerves. Russia is currently experiencing an epidemic of this disease. A booster is needed every 10 years.
Malaria is a serious threat in many areas with a tropical climate. It is a common disease that is caused by a parasite that enters the blood through a mosquito bite.
It can be fatal. There are a range of anti-malarial drugs on the market which can greatly reduce the risk of becoming ill. In certain areas the malaria parasite has become resistant to some of these drugs. We can give you up to date advice on which is the most appropriate anti-malarial drug to use for your area of travel.
Firstly, if you are not bitten then you won’t get malaria. Simple steps to try and avoid being bitten include:
Wear long sleeves, trousers and socks if possible, especially after dusk, which is when mosquitoes most commonly bite
Use insect repellent on exposed skin (the most effective repellents contain DEET)
Use mosquito netting over beds. This can also be impregnated with repellent
Use mosquito repellent coils or plugs at night. Shut all the windows and doors to the room in which you are sleeping.
Upset Stomach & Diarrhoea
Upset stomachs and diarrhoea is a very common problem for travellers. Tips to avoid diarrhoea include:
Vegetables and fruit should be washed with purified water or peeled.
Avoid ice cream, shellfish, salads and ice (in drinks).
Drink bottled or boiled water. Only drink from bottles with an unbroken serrated seal.
Brush your teeth with bottled water
Avoid swimming in fresh water lakes and rivers. These can be infected with water-borne parasites.
If you have an upset stomach….
Keep hydrated. Re-hydrating solutions, soda water, soft drinks allowed to go flat and diluted 50% with clean water are all effective.
Urine is a good indicator of your hydration levels – small amounts of concentrated urine means you need to drink more.
If diarrhoea continues use a drug such as Imodium.
For persistent vomiting or diarrhoea seek medical advice.
Caused by dehydration and salt deficiency. Take time to acclimatise to high temperatures, drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids and don’t do anything too physically demanding.
Occurs when the body’s heat regulating mechanism breaks down and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Long periods of exposure to high temperatures and insufficient liquids can leave you vulnerable to heat stroke. It can be fatal. Symptoms are feeling unwell, not sweating, high temperature, flushed skin, throbbing headaches and lack of co-ordination. Medical attention/hospitalisation is essential. Immediate attention consists of removal from the sun, cool victim down and give them fluids.
Use sunblock (with a high protection factor), clothing and shade to protect the skin from the sun. Wear a hat. Avoid the sun during the strongest part of the day, 10 am to 4 p.m. and especially at midday. If you do get burnt calamine lotion and aloe vera gel is good for mild sunburn.
Skin Cancer (Melanoma)
Unfortunately, skin cancer is on the rise. It is most common in fair skinned people although can occur in all skin types. You should look for any changes in pre-existing moles or any new moles. The main things to look for are:
Any irregular shaped moles. They are usually symmetrical.
Any increase in the size of the mole. A mole over 0.5cm should be checked.
Any itching or bleeding could indicate a melanoma
Any change in colour. Melanomas are usually black or parts of them appear red.
HIV and other STDs are very common in some areas. Parts of Africa and South East Asia have as many as 25% of adults who are HIV positive. Always use condoms with new partners. AIDS travel packs are available from Dr Kelly & Associates.