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How To Prevent The Spread Of Tropical Diseases

Apr 15, 2008
Whether traveling to the tropics for business or pleasure, you should be aware of possible dangers including tropical diseases. The following are recommendations to follow in order to avoid contracting a tropical disease.

Be sure to bring this list of recommendations to your doctor when you make your 6-week prior to leaving appointment. Your doctor can go over them and let you know which diseases are active in the area you will be traveling to.

The first step to take is to identify the tropical diseases in the area you will be traveling to. As an example - Yellow fever is a tropical disease found in tropical America south of Panama Canal and sub-Saharan Africa. Currently 11 countries in Latin America and 33 countries in Africa have active cases of yellow fever. Most of the cases of yellow fever occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

Receiving available immunizations is a preventative measure that your doctor can explain to you as well as give to you.

You will need to keep your International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV) in your passport to prove that you have been vaccinated. The vaccine should be administered no later than 10 days before entering an active country for that disease.

Malaria is one of the most common of the tropical diseases and can be contracted in both the rural areas as well as the cities.

Malaria is a highly curable disease if caught early on so detection, diagnosis and early treatment are important.

Here are some tips a traveler needs to follow to avoid malaria:

1. First, take the anti-malarial medication when you are in a risk-free zone

2. Avoid bites by using deet containing insect repellent

3. Wear long-sleeved clothing

4. Do not wear perfumes or colognes

5. Sleep inside in an air-conditioned room or if this is not possible sleep under a good quality mosquito net.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a policy that states that immunization against Cholera is no longer required for travelers.

Tips for traveling safely in tropical diseased areas:

1. Take antimalarial pills

2. Avoid mosquito bites

3. Use sunblock when traveling to tropical climates to avoid burns as damaged skin can be entry points for disease causing agents.

4. Avoid ice, salads and reheated foods, uncooked shellfish and street vendor food should also be avoided as well as any food that has been left out unattended.

5. If you are traveling to the Caribbean, South America, Africa or the Middle East or
even Southeast Asia then do not swim in fresh water unless you know for sure it is free of biharzia (schistosomiasis)

6. Avoid walking around in bare feet as parasites can be contracted that way. This is actually good advice for any worldwide location not just the tropics.

7. Use condoms when having sex with foreigners and avoid anal-oral sex as this can expose you to diseases including tropical ones.

8. Use either air-conditioning when sleeping or a good quality sleeping net for protection from mosquitoes. It is also wise to spray all window screens with insect repellent.

Use these recommendations and any advice from your doctor and you should be able to prevent any tropical diseases from spoiling your trip.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Tropical Diseases.
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