Travelling is rewarding and exciting. But with new experiences come new risks. Travelling to foreign places, which can be undeveloped and unhygienic, can expose you to bacterial, fungal and parasitic illnesses. Even in popular countries, poor sanitation and unwashed food is rife. What’s more, diseases can be passed on from insect and bug bites, flies and even swimming in contaminated water.
Here are five popular destinations where disease is still rife:
India is popular with travellers looking to immerse themselves in a vibrant culture. But along with countries like Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, it’s a risky area for polio. Commonly spread through close contract and contaminated food and water, public transport and swimming pools are amongst the risky places polio can spread.
Symptoms include a high fever, headaches, nausea and vomiting. Without treatment, Polio can quickly spread to the blood and nervous system. Recovery from Polio can take up to a year. Fortunately, the Polio jab is effective and just like tetanus, you can have a booster every 10 years.
You’re more likely to come into contact with Typhoid bacterium in countries where hand washing isn’t common or water is contaminated with sewage. Whilst we have highlighted Asia, precautions should be taken when visiting any underdeveloped regions including Latin America or Africa.
Victims suffer fever-like symptoms, including temperatures of up to 40° C but treatment can be as simple as taking antibiotics and symptoms will subside after a few days. Nevertheless, it’s something which could ruin your trip so good hygiene is a must.
A disease to watch out for in the Caribbean – along with places in Central and South America, North Australia, South-East Asia and West and Sub-Saharan Africa – is dengue fever. It’s a mosquito-spread virus with no treatment or vaccine available yet. As CNN say, the species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which causes dengue fever bites throughout the day. It’s important to cover up and use insect repellent to keep the mosquitoes at bay and avoid flu-like symptoms.
One of the most prevalent diseases across the African continent is yellow fever. Caused by the bites of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, sufferers experience fevers, chills, headaches, backaches and muscle aches. It’s a dangerous disease as about 15% of people infected develop serious illness that can lead to bleeding, shock, organ failure and sometimes death. Some people become jaundiced, which is where the ‘yellow’ comes from.
If you’re travelling to a yellow fever region, you must get a vaccination and bring a signed and stamped International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis with you on your trip.
A range of countries
Last but not least, we’ve got traveller’s diarrhoea – the collective term for diarrhoea caused by a range of bacteria, viruses or protozoa. Experiencing this illness can easily ruin a trip – but it’s avoidable by sticking to bottled water where possible, regularly washing your hands and being smart about what and where you eat.
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Copyright 2017 Michael Tyler Sailor's Almanac: Further Narrowboat Adventures