Widespread journey well being dangers and methods to stop them

Travelling abroad for a vacation has grow to be widespread for many people, particularly to the neighbouring nations in South-East Asia.

Whereas the phrase “vacation” stirs emotions of blissful moments, holidays will not be with out well being dangers.

Moreover the present coronavirus outbreak which has disrupted some journey, here’s a record of widespread illnesses you may face on a vacation.


Travellers’ diarrhoea is the most typical sickness contracted overseas, affecting some 50% of abroad travellers. These infections are normally brought on by micro organism within the majority of instances. Viruses and parasites make up the remainder.

The prevalence of avenue meals and less-than-satisfactory food-handling practices in a few of these locations could current an elevated danger of travellers’ diarrhoea.

Typically, comparable signs are additionally brought on by contaminated meals. Signs could current as early as a couple of hours from publicity or a couple of days after, and may embody abdomen cramps, nausea, diarrhoea, bloating, vomiting, fever and malaise.

It may be laborious to stop travellers’ diarrhoea, however avoiding uncooked meals, salads, ice or ice cream, and ingesting bottled water or drinks as a substitute of faucet water are some methods to lower your danger.

In the event you do get hit, attempt taking some over-the-counter (OTC) anti-diarrhoea drugs comparable to charcoal or prescription drugs comparable to loperamide for diarrhoea and buscopan for the cramps.

To be safe, it's best to drink bottled water and drinks when travelling.To be secure, it is best to drink bottled water and drinks when travelling.In case you have fever, physique aches or complications, some antipyretic drugs comparable to paracetamol may help you are feeling higher.

A very powerful factor concerning the remedy of diarrhoea is hydration. Oral rehydration salts work higher than isotonic drinks on this facet.

If you’re feeling extraordinarily unwell, really feel your signs are insupportable, or are unable to hydrate your self because of steady vomiting or diarrhoea, please search medical consideration instantly.

There are different severe diarrheal illnesses like typhoid and cholera, which can be life-threatening.

Taking the identical precautions as talked about above can scale back your danger of contracting a few of these infections.

Higher respiratory tract an infection (URTI)

You possibly can catch the widespread chilly anyplace, not solely at house. OTC drugs can ease your signs comparable to runny nostril, sore throat, cough, fever and nausea.

Signs normally abate inside per week. Enhance your immunity to minimise your danger of catching a chilly whereas travelling.

Mosquito-borne and different vector illnesses

Dengue is among the most severe and endemic mosquito-borne illnesses on this area. Signs normally current inside per week and may embody excessive fever, complications, flu-like signs and a pores and skin rash.

Most instances are pretty gentle and most of the people are capable of get previous the an infection with none severe problems.

Nevertheless, some individuals could develop dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, which can result in a harmful drop in blood stress and loss of life.

There isn’t a remedy for the dengue virus, besides to offer symptomatic aid and supportive administration. Common antipyretics comparable to paracetamol and copious hydration are inspired. In the event you expertise bleeding gums or extreme belly ache, search medical consideration instantly.

Different infections like malaria are seen extra steadily in travellers visiting forested areas, however you possibly can nonetheless get malaria in cities.

Malaria normally causes a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and fatigue.

The fever could also be excessive and begin with chills and rigors (extreme shivering accompanied by a sense of coldness).

This can be adopted by sweating because the fever declines. Nevertheless, not everybody reveals this sample.

Malaria might be life-threatening however might be prevented by chemoprophylaxis (taking anti-malarial drugs) earlier than going to the realm for journey.

Verify along with your physician if these drugs are appropriate for you.It might take awhile for signs to point out, typically a couple of weeks after the mosquito chunk.

In the event you develop signs after returning out of your journey, inform your physician about your journey historical past.

Different much less widespread mosquito-borne illnesses seen in South-East Asia embody chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis and lymphatic filariasis. Sandfly-borne illness (e.g. kala-azar) and snail-transmitted illness (e.g. schistosomiasis) are potentialities as nicely.

It might be unimaginable to stop all mosquito/insect bites, however there are methods to scale back your danger.

Use insect repellent on uncovered pores and skin when you find yourself outdoor, or put on long-sleeved tops and pants. Insect repellents with DEET or picaridin, in addition to lemon eucalyptus oil present good safety.

Mosquitoes are likely to chunk extra typically from daybreak to nightfall so staying indoors throughout this time might be useful.

There are additionally extra mosquitoes in forested areas so avoiding such areas can scale back your danger.

Allergic reactions

In most people, bee stings result in pain and swelling for a few days; for others, the sting can be fatal.  — FilepicIn most individuals, bee stings end in ache and swelling for a couple of days; for others, the sting might be deadly. — FilepicPublicity to completely different meals can set off allergy symptoms; signs embody itchy eyes, mouth and throat, puffy eyes, a rash (hives), swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or different components of the physique.

Extra severe meals allergy symptoms could trigger swelling of the throat, resulting in issue in respiration, wheezing, giddiness, belly ache, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, or lack of consciousness.

Easy allergy symptoms might be handled with antihistamines whereas extra severe ones want medical intervention as they will result in loss of life.

Environmental allergens could worsen pre-existing circumstances like bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Keep in mind to carry alongside your common drugs to your allergic circumstances.

Bee and wasp stings will not be as widespread, however could afflict travellers within the countryside and forested areas. In most individuals, these stings end in ache and swelling for a couple of days; for others, a bee sting might be deadly.

If a bee stings and you are feeling unwell, faint or expertise shortness of breath, search medical consideration instantly.

Rabies and animal bites

Rabies is a viral an infection that’s normally transmitted by an contaminated animal chunk – and rural areas carry the most important danger.

Early signs could embody

tingling across the chunk, flu-like signs, fever, headache, muscle aches, lack of urge for food, nausea and fatigue. Later, signs normally have an effect on the neurological system and may embody altered psychological state/confusion, agitation, aggression, uncommon posturing, muscle spasms and weak point.

As soon as it reaches the late stage, it’s deadly. There’s a vaccination accessible, which have to be given earlier than publicity or straight after publicity (earlier than signs begin).

Animal bites are more likely to get contaminated by different kinds of micro organism as nicely. If you’re bitten, wash the wound instantly and canopy the chunk with a clear bandage.

Go to the closest emergency division.

Anybody with a doable rabies an infection have to be handled in a hospital. If the physician deems it essential to deal with for rabies, the vaccination or immunoglobulin remedy will likely be initiated, together with antibiotics.


Whereas infectious illnesses play a task in solely 5% of customer deaths, 50% of customer deaths in Asia are the results of street accidents.

Keep away from jaywalking, using scooters or bikes if you’re inexperienced, and all the time concentrate on your environment.

Even if you’re concerned in a minor street visitors accident, it’s nonetheless necessary for a health care provider to evaluate you to verify there are not any accidents to the interior organs or accidents that aren’t seen to the bare eye.

Pre-existing medical circumstances

Coronary heart assaults account for 30% of journey deaths. In case you have coronary heart issues, get completely evaluated to make sure you’re match for journey earlier than reserving your flight and guarantee you’ve gotten your long-term remedy and prescriptions with you.

Travelling might be worrying to the thoughts and physique, which may result in an elevated probability of a coronary heart assault in case you have present cardiac circumstances. In case you have a historical past of fainting spells, low blood stress or seizures, keep away from water actions, scorching springs and saunas.

Sexually-transmitted an infection (STI)

When travelling, you by no means know in case you may meet somebody whom you’re interested in. And if issues are going nice, you’ll have sexual activity however bear in mind which you can get a STI or HIV. This is applicable throughout your travels, in addition to to your day-to-day life.

Make sure you pack all your prescription medications when you travel.Ensure you pack all of your prescription drugs whenever you journey.The best method to stop contracting a STI or HIV is by way of abstinence. Do you have to partake in sexual exercise, apply secure intercourse by utilizing a condom correctly.

To scale back the chance of contracting HIV, anti-HIV drugs comparable to pre-exposure prophylaxis might be taken previous to sexual publicity.

Excessive-risk actions comparable to utilization of injectable illicit medication and sexual encounters with industrial intercourse employees must be averted. If there was a high-risk sexual encounter, post-exposure prophylaxis, that are additionally anti-HIV drugs that should be taken for a month after the encounter, can scale back your danger of contracting HIV.

Because the world turns into extra interconnected and the benefit of travelling will increase, extra of us are sure to go to one other nation in some unspecified time in the future.

Travelling might be secure and enjoyable in case you take the mandatory precautions. Do bear in mind to get your vaccinations and purchase journey insurance coverage to place your coronary heart comfy!

Dr Chester Lan is a Singapore-based common practitioner. For extra data, e-mail starhealth@thestar.com.my. The data offered is for instructional and communication functions solely and it shouldn’t be construed as private medical recommendation. Info revealed on this article will not be supposed to exchange, supplant or increase a session with a well being skilled relating to the reader’s personal medical care. The Star disclaims all duty for any losses, harm to property or private harm suffered straight or not directly from reliance on such data.

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