Kiwis are great travellers and some of our most popular travel destinations are developing countries where serious infectious diseases are common. Most people who travel to these countries enjoy good health and don’t get seriously ill. However travelling to tropical climates can be quite a culture shock. It’s tempting to think “she’ll be right”, but you’ll get more out of your trip by taking a few basic precautions while travelling.
In developing countries mosquitos can carry malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis or yellow fever. It’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and long pants and always use an effective insect repellent.
Soil contaminated with bacteria can enter broken skin and cause tetanus. Parasites capable of entering unbroken skin can be found in soil or sand contaminated by cat or dog faeces. To guard against this, always wear sandals or shoes and try to avoid direct contact with sand and soil that may be contaminated.
Coughing and sneezing:
Along with the common cold, diseases such as influenza, diphtheria, meningococcal meningitis and tuberculosis are transmitted from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing. Try to avoid getting too close to people who may be sick and remember to always wash your hands before eating or preparing food.
Food and water:
Consuming contaminated food and water is one of the most common ways for travellers to develop illnesses. You don’t have to eat from street vendors, market stalls or drink from rivers to be at risk from infectious diseases including travellers diarrhoea. Even travellers to urban areas, resorts or 5-star hotels can be at risk, this could be because the people preparing your food haven’t washed their hands properly, or may have cleaned your dishes in contaminated water. To be safe, drink only bottled, purified or boiled water and ask for no ice in your drinks. It’s also wise to brush your teeth with bottled water too.