- Make sure you leave in good health. Pay a visit to your dentist for a dental check-up before leaving.
- Any medication is only available on doctor’s prescription.
- It is essential to take out a good travel assistance insurance. Take your blood group card with you.
- Information concerning the safety in the country of destination: http://travel.state.gov/
- Safety criteria in traffic should not be any different from those at home (this certainly applies to the use of alcohol) and always use the seatbelt in the car (if present).
- Sunburn : sunbaths should be absolutely taken with moderation. Protective clothing and head covering are recommended. On the uncovered skin parts one should put regularly and carefully suncream with a high protective factor.
- Problems that frequently occur with travellers in developing countries are wound infections and ulcers. Every wound, no matter how small, should be thoroughly washed and disinfected, followed by the application of a strong disinfectant cream.
- Other issues you may wish to discuss with your doctor are : travel sickness (car sickness, etc.), skin care, heat and sun exposure, sunburn, minor wounds and injuries, bites and stings, problems related to air-travel : aero-otitis and aero-sinusitis, jet lag, altitude, problems of altitude sickness, contraception, diving, travelling with children, travelling when pregnant, travelling with chronic illness.
Dengue fever, a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes which are active in the day time, is quite common in Latin America and Asia. The disease is characterised by fever and violent muscle pains.
Dramatic evolution with blood pressure fall and hemorrhages very seldom occur, but when treated correctly, the outcome will practically always be favourable. There is no vaccine nor effective medication available. Recovery is spontaneous, but can take very long.
Do not take aspirins, but only paracetamol for lowering the fever.
In many countries rabies still exists. Avoid contact with stray dogs, (tame) wild animals and road kills. When bitten by an animal, wash out the wound with water and soap, and disinfect with isobetadine.
Do not delay consulting a doctor to see whether or not vaccination (with gamma globulin) is necessary. See map : http://www.who.int/
- Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis) is a worm infestation that may be contracted by swimming or bathing in contaminated water. It occurs in the major part of Africa and in limited areas of South America and the Near and Far East.
Stagnant water offers the greatest risk (especially in dams), though contamination may also occur in rivers (large or small, fast- or slow running water). There is no available vaccine, so bathing or swimming in fresh water should be avoided.
However, if you do swim in potentially contaminated water, a check-up is necessary after 3 months (serology, eosinophily). Rarely serious complications may occur within the first months post-exposure (blood in the urine, paralysis), in which case you should immediately consult a medical doctor.
- It may sometimes be useful to get some sterile needles from your local pharmacist in case you should need an injection on your journey. It is important to refuse injections if the medications can be taken orally.
- It may be that your trip will require other specific vaccinations or preventive measures. Your doctor will inform you about these.
(source: Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine , Antwerp, Belgium)
The editors of this work have checked with reliable sources in their efforts to provide information that is complete and generally in accord with the standards accepted at the time of publication. In the view of possible human error or changes in the medical sciences, neither the editor nor the publisher nor any another party who has been involved in the preparation or publication of this work warrants that the information contained herein is in every respect accurate or complete. They are not responsible for any errors or omissions or the results obtained from such information.