Health - Introduction | Travel Guide


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Planning and Preparation

Preparation - Practical Aspects

Health Preparation

Go and see your doctor and your dentist - get checked up and let them know you intend to travel for an extended period. If you have any medication that you need to take with you, make sure you have all the relevant documentation in case you are investigated at customs - it makes things a lot simpler. Be aware that some drugs that are legal in one country are not necessarily legal in another - this can be for commonly available items.

For some countries you will need a certificate of vaccination for certain diseases. Yellow Fever is a very common one; for many countries in South America and South East Asia, you will not be allowed in unless you have the certificate. You could also require vaccines for polio, hepatitis, tetanus, diphtheria and typhoid.


Malaria kills around 3 million people a year and deserves special mention above all other diseases as it is so prevalent. Talk to your doctor about the side effects of the various preventative drugs, and bear in mind that the length of time you'll be in an affected area is very important, as you cannot take anti-malarial treatment indefinitely. It is important to avoid being bitten, so if you will be going to an affected area, take a mosquito net and insect repellent - raw meat works too but is unpleasant. Keep your arms, legs and feet covered after sunset. Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by the bites of mosquitoes in infected areas; it can be fatal so take it seriously. The symptoms include fever and complications can affect the liver, kidneys, brain and blood. Once you have caught malaria you can suffer relapses long after the initial effects are over. None of the precautions are 100% effective. If you experience symptoms - fever, feeling unwell - seek immediate medical attention. If you experience illness after returning, do tell your doctor that you have been to a malaria-infected area.

Next: Health - Quick Guide to Travel Disease

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