The emergence of an infectious disease is complex and one of the most powerful force driving its emergence is human activities like travelling.
Tickets booked? Accommodation settled? Visa applied?
Planning for a trip can be busy and fun, but in the midst of the excitement, it is easy to forget about travel health issues. Read on to find out if you are indeed ready for your new adventures.
To get the most out of your holiday, make sure you are in the pink of health. Speak to your doctor to find out more about:
In our excitement, we can overlook other small but important pre-travel preparations to safeguard our health while we are overseas. Always be safe, not sorry.
Always be aware of your health, the risks around you, and remember to adhere to the following safety practices.
Always practise personal protection
Drink only from safe/reputable sources
Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it
Listed below are just some of the common diseases that you should look out for when you are overseas. If you discover that you are showing some of these symptoms, monitor your condition and consult a doctor where necessary.
Here are some potential infections that might be contracted when food or drinks are consumed from unsafe/ unclean sources.
Vaccination prior to traveling – some diarrhoeal diseases (e.g. Typhoid) can be prevented through vaccination
Wash your hands with clean water and soap before eating
Use of hand sanitiser when soap and water are not available.
Only consume food and drinks from safe sources. Eat thoroughly cooked food. This is because raw food carries risk even if from safe sources.
Fever, nausea, fatigue, poor appetite, yellowing of eyes and skin, dark urine, pale stools
Here are a number of diseases that are contracted when you are bitten by animals (e.g. dogs, bats) or mosquitoes that carry these viruses.
Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin
Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved clothing and long pants, especially when outdoors at night
Sleep under a mosquito net or in a room where the windows are fitted with fine wire netting
For Malaria, speak to your doctor about anti-Malaria tablets.
For Yellow Fever, check if you require yellow fever vaccination before travelling to the area.
Here are some diseases that might be contracted if you
breathe in the germs expelled by an infected persion near you or when you are
in close contact with the person.
Vaccinations against measles and diphtheria are very important since these infections are very contagious and can lead to severe complications. If newborns have not been vaccinated as they are not eligible for the vaccinations yet, do take extra precaution during the trip
Vaccinations against pneumococcal diseases, COVID-19, influenza, meningococcal are also highly recommended to prevent infections.
Practise good personal hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water or using a hand sanitiser
Wear a mask, if needed.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) / Influenza / Avian Influenza
High fever, cough, breathing difficulty
Recognise the symptoms to seek treatment early, and alert the doctor if the symptoms persist (e.g. undiagnosed cough for three weeks or more)
Remember your recent travel history especially to high-risk countries.
These diseases are contracted through the exchange of blood and body fluids, through (but not limited to) blood transfusions, the use of non-sterilised needles or sharp objects (e.g. tattooing, piercing) and having unprotected sex.
Fever, aching muscles and joints, sore throat, swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
Do not abuse drugs or share needles
Avoid casual or unprotected sex
Condoms, if used properly, can reduce the risk of getting HIV. It is advisable to bring along your own condoms
Avoid situations which can make you unconscious around strangers (e.g. drinking alcohol, drinks being spiked, alone with strangers).
These diseases can be spread through contact with contaminated soil or water, especially through open wounds.
Seek medical attention immediately for
If you are at the clinic or hospital, you may wish to wash your hands regularly or use your own hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol. As per local practice, you may remind the healthcare staff to practise good hand hygiene before attending to you so as to prevent spread of infectious diseases.
For treatment to be effective, antibiotics are used to treat bacteria infections. Only consume antibiotics if prescribed by the doctor. For an effective treatment, always complete the course of antibiotics per doctor's advice.
Always maintain hydration
Activate your travel insurance if you are seriously ill and require emergency transport home for appropriate medical attention
If you have been ill during your holiday, it is good practice to return to the doctor for a thorough check-up if
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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