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Taking care of your health while abroad

Travel information on Malaria

Chloroquine and proguanil can now be purchased without a prescription. Travellers should remember to
• take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, even if they are taking antimalarial prophylaxis
• purchase sprays/coils/mosquito nets in advance of travelling
• the need to continue prophylaxis for four weeks after returning from abroad (for chloroquine and proguanil,as well as other prescription antimalarials except malarone, which needs to be taken for only one week after return)
• the symptoms of malaria, and the possibility of symptoms developing up to one year after return, especially if malarial drugs was incomplete


Travel information on Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)

Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that results in inflammation of the liver. It is usually contracted through eating or drinking food or water contaminated by infected sewage or faeces. There is a vaccine available to protect you from Hepatitis A. Hepatitis B may be caught, especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.


Travel information on Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to faecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors.
Typhoid fever is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. It is usually transmitted via water or by food contaminated with sewage. An injected vaccine will give you protection for three years.
Be reminded of the importance of avoiding contaminated water (‘pure water’), including ice in drinks, locally made ice creams, salads and fruits washed in local water.

The importance of hygiene cannot be over emphasised because of the risk of passing on conditions by the faecal-oral route, please be advised to buy an anti-diarrhoea preparation (e.g., bismuth subsalicylate, loperamide) and an antibiotic prescribed by your doctor to self-treat moderate to severe diarrhoea.
If you have any doubts about the quality of tap water, drink, wash and clean your teeth in bottled water, or water that has been boiled or sterilised. Also avoid ice in your drinks. Where possible, eat fresh food that has been thoroughly cooked.


Travel information on Travel Vaccinations

There is a huge confusion about the need for, and the timing of, travel vaccinations.
We are ideally placed to counter some of the misinformation ( or lack of advice) travellers receive from travel agents. Check our up to date information on Vaccines recommended for different countries.

Country Area Malaria Tablets Vaccines
ALGERIA Very low risk. Avoid mosquito bites R HEP A, TY, TD/IPV
BOTSWANA Northern half of country between November-June Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV
CONGO The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
EGYPT El Faiyum (Al Fayyum) area from Junde to October. All other areas – very low risk. Avoid mosquito bites C or R HEP A, TY, TD/IPV
ETHIOPIA All areas below 2200m, except no risk Addis Ababa Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
GAMBIA The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
GHANA The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
KENYA The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
MOROCCO Very low risk, avoid mosquito bites R HEP A, TY, TD/IPV
MOZAMBIQUE The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
NIGERIA The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
SENEGAL The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
SIERRA LEONE/td> The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
SOMALIA The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
SOUTH AFRICA North East, low altitude areas of Northern Province and Mpumalanga and eastern Kwazulu-Natal down to 100Km north of Durban. Risk present in Kruger National Park Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV
SUDAN The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
TANZANIA The whole country (Including Zanzibar and Pemba Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
UGANDA The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
ZAMBIA The whole country Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV, YF, Men ACWY
ZIMBABWE Zambesi valley and Victoria Falls. Mef, Dox, Mal HEP A, TY, TD/IPV
All areas below 1200m, between November-June. Mef, Dox, Mal
Harare and Bulawayo R

 


Travel information on Sunburn

Caucasian travellers are encouraged to buy high factor sunscreens, especially for children and fair –skinned individuals. Simple preventative advice include:

• Avoid the midday sun
• Start off slowly with sunbathing – don’t forget you may not realise you’ve had too much sun until several hours later
• Avoid getting burnt – it’s the single biggest risk factor for malignant melanoma
• Re-apply sunscreen frequently, especially after swimming

• Use total sunblock on lips, eyelids, nipples and tips of your ears. Watch out too for cheeks, nose, upper chest, shoulders and soles of your feet

• Ideally, protect your head and neck with a wide-brimmed hat, and water lose fitting, around in the sun

• Make sure you have enough of your prescription medications make to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s) or letter from your health-care provider on office stationery explaining that the medication has been prescribed for you
• Always carry medications in their original containers, in your carry-on luggage

Tips on staying healthy during your trip

To stay healthy during your trip do…

• Wash your hands often with soap and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission
• Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes
• Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed
• To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even on beaches
• Be sensible with alcohol
• Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
• Protect yourself from mosquito insect bites:
o Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats when outdoors
o Use insect repellents
o If no screening or air conditioning is available: use a pyrethroid-containing spray in living and sleeping areas during evening and night-time hours; sleep under bed nets, preferably insecticide-treated ones