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 Travel & Leisure

august 2012

Stay Safe, Travel On

Dr Lavanya Nutankalva
Humans are becoming more versatile and with the world becoming more accessible, people seeking to explore areas for adventure, relaxation and for work are also increasing. With this movement comes the concern for infections associated with travel and also the infections that can be acquired from the place you visit.

Most infections that you get while travelling are minor, but in rare cases, they can be severe and life threatening. Some common infections to be wary of are:

  • Infections associated with insects like malaria, dengue, yellow fever
  • Traveller’s diarrhoea
  • Infections associated with adventure sports like leptospirosis
  • Infections associated with contaminated food and water like typhoid, cholera, hepatitis
  • Parasitic infections associated with food, water and walking bare feet
  • Pneumonia
  • Influenza
  • Exposure to TB
Keep Your Health Intact During Travel
  • Consult your physician prior to travel, to find out if any vaccinations are needed, depending upon the place you are visiting.
  • Always carry commonly needed medications and the medications that you are using on an ongoing basis.
  • Frequently clean your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based cleanser.
  • Avoid swimming in contaminated fresh-water rivers, streams, or lakes. Swimming in chlorinated pools however, is safe.
  • Prevent insect bites: use insect repellant containing DEET (in at least 30 percent concentration) or picaridin, whenever you are outdoors.
  • Wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts, particularly at dusk.
  • Sleep only in screened areas.
  • Avoid perfumes as they attract insects.
  • Food and water hygiene: Undercooked or raw foods pose a significant risk for infection.
Things To Avoid During Travel
  • Cooked food that has been allowed to cool
  • Fruit that has not been washed
  • Raw vegetables
  • Salads
  • Unpasteurised dairy foods such as milk or cheese
  • Ice in your drinks
Take Care!
If your symptoms don’t get better in 24 - 48 hours after following basic medical care, consult the closest available physician for further evaluation and treatment.