1. VACCINATIONS AND OTHER DRUGS
Certain types of vaccines and preventive medicines have to be administered well in
advance of your departure (up to 4-6 weeks). Bring a detailed itinerary of your travel.
Malaria. Many warm climate countries are endemic for malaria. It is transmitted by the
anopheles mosquito. Appropriate medication (malaria prophylaxis) combine with adequate protection against mosquitoes can greatly reduce the risk.
Make sure that you have enough of your usual medication. Take some in your hand
luggage when you are travelling. Take your doctor’s instructions with you.
2. PROTECTION AGAINST MOSQUITOS
In the evenings, wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers. Stay or sleep in fully air-
conditioned rooms. Spray your accommodation with an insecticide.
Mosquito repellents. They contain 20-30% of DEET. It should be applied to exposed
limbs and carefully to the face. A re-application after 2-4 hours is needed. Young children could be sensitive when it is used in excess.
When the room can not be made safe from insects, use a DEET impregnated bed net.
3. FOOD AND WATER
Many diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid fever can be acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water. More than 50% of travellers staying 3 weeks in developing areas suffer from diarrhoea.
• Always wash your hands after going to the lavatory, before handling food and before eating.
• You can not know when food is contaminated, so avoid:
+Salads, fruits unless you peel them, shellfish, unpasteurised dairy products.
+Food from street traders or exposed to flies.
Eat freshly cooked food which is thoroughly cooked and still hot.
• Use bottled water or drinks in perfectly sealed containers. Alternatively, boil it or sterilise it with disinfecting tablets. Avoid ice in your drinks. Hot tea or coffee is usually safe.
4. (ROAD TRAFFIC) ACCIDENTS
Accidents are a major cause of health problems abroad. Many are preventable. Cars may
be poorly maintained. Local traffic is different and other drivers may not observe the rules. Wear always your seat belt always. Be careful. Do not drink alcohol before driving.
No sex or condoms are the only method offering some protection against sexually
transmitted disease and HIV.
6. TYPICAL PROBLEMS:
• Replace the fluid you lose by drinking a rehydrating solution (Wasser-Elektrolyte-Lösung). If you can not find a rehydrating solution, make an appropriate drink: add to 1 litre of bottled or boiled water, 5 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Carrot juice.
• Eat light: rice with chicken, banana with baguette, etc. Avoid dairy products.
• Use antimotility drugs like IMMODIUM® (loperamide, max. 3 daily) to relief the symptoms on special occasions only, for instance, while travelling by plane or bus. These drugs are not suitable for children.
• The use of antibiotics is controversial. Most episodes of diarrhoea settle without treatment within 72 hours. I would advice you to take CIPROXIN® (ciprofloxacin) – 500 mgr twice a day during 5 days if:
+the diarrhoea is massive and/or mixed with blood.
+it is accompanied by fever.
+you have previously decided to take Immodium®.
Seek medical help if the diarrhoea does not settle within 1 week (earlier for small children and the elderly).
Seek medical attention, if you develop fever during or after your travel in a malaria endemic region, even if you take or have taken malaria prophylaxis.
Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Apply an antiseptic. Cover the wound. Seek medical help if the wound is deep (it may require suturing), is dirty or if you had your last tetanus vaccine more than 5 years ago.
Expose yourself to the sun with moderation. Apply before sun block cream that has a high sun protection factor (SPF). Young children should be kept well protected from the sun, and given plenty of fluids. After sunbathing use a soothing skin cream. Natural remedies with aloe vera may alleviate any burns.
7. FIRST AID KIT
Plasters, bandages, tape, tweezers and scissors.
Antiseptic: LEUKICHTAN® creme or iodine
Hydrocortisone cream: HYDRODERM®creme - insect bites
IMMODIUM© – diarrhoea
ZYRTEC© (Cetirizin) – allergic reactions
PARACETAMOL© o IBUPROFEN© for pain and fever.