The following information will help you to stay healthy on your trip. Please make sure you read it following on from your appointment with us.
Diseases can be caught from drinking contaminated water, or swimming in it. Unless you know the water supply is safe where you are staying,
ONLY USE (in order of preference)
1. Boiled water
2. Bottled water or canned drinks
3. Water treated by a sterilising agent.
This includes water used to make ice cubes in drinks and water for cleaning your teeth
It is safer to swim in water that is well chlorinated. If you are travelling to Africa, South America or some parts of the Caribbean, avoid swimming in fresh water lakes and streams. You can catch a parasitic disease called schistosomiasis from such places. This disease is also known as Bilharzia. It is also wise never to go barefoot, but to wear protective footwear when out, even on the beach. Other diseases can be caught from sand and soil, particularly wet soil.
Contaminated food is the commonest source of many diseases abroad. You can help prevent it by following these guidelines :
Two phrases to help you remember
COOK IT, PEEL IT, OR LEAVE IT! WHEN IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT!
Another source of calories is alcohol! If you drink to excess, alcohol could lead you to become carefree and ignore these precautions.
Many diseases are transmitted by what is known as the ‘faecal-oral’ route. To help prevent this, always wash your hands with soap and clean water after going to the toilet, before eating and before handling food. Using hand gel is another sensible option.
This the most common illness that you will be exposed to abroad and there is NO vaccine against it. Diarrhoea is caused by eating and/or drinking food and water contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Risk of illness is higher in some countries than others.
High risk areas include North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, S.E. Asia, South America, Mexico and the Middle East.
Medium risk areas include the northern Mediterranean, Canary Islands and the Caribbean Islands.
Low risk areas include North America, Western Europe and Australia
You can certainly help prevent travellers’ diarrhoea in the way you behave - make sure you follow the food, water and personal hygiene guidelines already given.
Travellers’ diarrhoea is 3 or more loose stools in a 24 hour period often accompanied by stomach pain, cramps and vomiting. It usually lasts 2-4 days and whilst it is not a life threatening illness, it can disrupt your trip for several days. The main danger of the illness is dehydration, and this, if very severe, can kill if it is not treated. Treatment is therefore rehydration. In severe cases and particularly in young children and the elderly, commercially prepared rehydration solution is extremely useful.
A good tip is to take oral rehydration solutions with you. These can be bought over the counter in a chemist shop, available in tablet or sachet form — for example:
DIORALYTE or ELECTROLADE or DIORALYTE RELIEF. (The latter is a formula containing rice powder which also helps to relieve the diarrhoea, particularly useful in children). Prepare according to instructions. Take care regarding their use in very small children and seek medical advice where necessary.
Anti diarrhoeal tablets can be used for adults but should NEVER be USED in children under 4 years of age, and only on prescription for children aged 4 to 12 years.
Commonly used tablets are IMODIUM® and LOMOTIL® or NORMALOE®.
None of these tablets should ever be used if the person has a temperature or blood in the stool.
Do contact medical help if the affected person has:-
In some circumstances, antibiotics are used as a standby treatment for travellers’ diarrhoea. Such medication is not usually available on the NHS in anticipation of you being ill when away and needs to be prescribed. A woman taking the oral contraceptive pill may not have full contraceptive protection if she has had diarrhoea and vomiting. Extra precautions must be used - refer to your ‘pill’ information leaflet. If using condoms, take a supply of good quality ones with you which are CE approved.
Remember! Excessive alcohol can make you carefree and lead you to take risks you otherwise would not consider.
Mosquitoes, certain types of flies, ticks and bugs can cause many different diseases. e.g. malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever. Some bite at night, but some during daytime so protection is needed at all times.
Avoid being bitten by:
Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes, there is no vaccine yet available. If you are travelling to a malarious country, the travel adviser will have given you a separate leaflet with more details, please read it. Remember malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease. If you develop flu like symptoms, including fever, sweats, chills, feeling unwell, headaches, muscle pains, cough, diarrhoea – then seek medical help immediately for advice and say you’ve been abroad. This is VITAL, don’t delay.
Remember the ABCD of malaria prevention advice:
Awareness of the risk
Chemoprophylaxis (taking the correct tablets)
Diagnosis (knowing the symptoms and acting quickly)
Rabies is present in many parts of the world. If a person develops rabies, death is 100% certain.
THERE ARE 3 RULES REGARDING RABIES
Major leading causes of death in travellers abroad are due to accidents, predominantly road traffic accidents and swimming/water accidents. You can help prevent them by following sensible precautions
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) www.fco.gov.uk provide excellent information about this including a very useful service called LOCATE which enables you to register your details of trips abroad. They have information for many different types of travel and also advise on travel to specific destinations in times of political unrest and natural disasters. Please go to their website for more information.
It is sensible on any long haul flight to be comfortable in your seat. Exercise your legs, feet and toes while sitting every half an hour or so and take short walks whenever feasible. Upper body and breathing exercises can further improve circulation. Drink plenty of water and be sensible about alcohol intake which in excess leads to dehydration. Further information can be obtained from the websites detailed at the end of this leaflet with more specific advice and information on travel-related deep vein thrombosis.
Sunburn and heat-stroke cause serious problems in travellers but in the long term can be a serious cause of skin cancer. There is no such thing as a safe suntan, but the following advice should be taken:
Have a good, but safe and healthy trip!
|• Fit for Travel - Scottish NHS public travel site for general advice on all aspects of travel and country specific information, including malaria maps||www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk|
|• NaTHNaC - National Travel Health Network and Centre England based, with similar information to above||www.nathnac.org|
|• NHS Choices – look at travel health in the ‘A-Z’ section and also travel health in the ‘Live Well’ section (these are both different). Excellent general website also.||www.nhs.uk|
|• FCO - Foreign & Commonwealth Office, especially useful for safety and security and specific pages for types of travellers, e.g. gap year, responsible tourism. Also look at ‘Our Publications’ and the ‘LOCATE’ service||www.fco.gov.uk/travel/|
|• Malaria Hotspots – general information for travellers providing information about malaria including a useful podcast in the ‘malaria travel tips’ section||www.malariahotspots.co.uk|
|• Sunsmart - is the Cancer research website providing information about skin cancer and sun protection advice||www.cancerresearchuk.org/SunSmart/|
|• Travel health products to take away with you – these are just a small selection of many resources available. Please note the Village Medical Centre is not endorsing such items, merely providing information.||www.lifesystems.co.uk
|• Medex – Useful advice booklet on ‘travelling at high altitude’||www.medex.org.uk|
|• Medic Alert® - life-saving identification system for individuals with hidden medical conditions and allergies||www.medicalert.org.uk|
|• Kids Travel Doc™ - a paediatrician’s guide to travel and outdoor recreational activities||www.kidstraveldoc.com|
|• Diabetes UK – information specific for those with diabetes who wish to travel – go to ‘Guide to diabetes’ then to the ‘living with diabetes’ section then go to ‘travel’||www.diabetes.org.uk|
|• Global travel clinic locator from the International Society of Travel Medicine||www.istm.org|
|• IAMAT – International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT)||www.iamat.org/doctors_clinics.cfm|
|• Google translate – Free online translation service||http://translate.google.com|