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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Volunteer abroad diseases

There are various diseases and infections we could attract while we are travelling abroad during our holiday. We could contract diseases because of the different climate, environment, presence of insects, eating in less sanitary places, less hygienic facilities, joining in risky behaviors and being exposed to infectious diseases. When planning your trip abroad to a different place, whether you are planning a safari, tour, volunteer abroad, gap year, intern abroad, and backpacking trip you should consider vaccination and medication. Before you leave your home country there are various vaccinations and medications you should have. You should go to your General practitioner ask for advice for which medication you should take with you. There are various vaccinations available to prevent you from getting sick against certain diseases. Although there are diseases which you could still attack you. Here are a couple of travel related diseases and prevention:

Medication and Vaccination

Before you leave, go to your doctor and get vaccinations that are suitable to the area you are going to. The vaccinations that are required depend on the place you are going to visit. For example Vaccinations against Malaria, yellow fever, typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tuberculosis, Rabies, Meningococcal meningitis, cholera and Encephalitis are common if you are going to visit tropical countries like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. If you are already on prescribed medication, before you leave get double the dosage so that in case you lose the first set you will still have back up. This also applies for reading glasses; carry an extra pair for emergencies.


It is a disease transmitted by bacteria. The bacteria are common in untreated sewage which is directed to the water ways like rivers and lakes. If the water is consumed the person becomes sick, also if the water is used for cooking. The symptoms are severe muscle and stomach cramping. To prevent this disease, the water should be treated through sterilizing. The sterilizing process involves boiling or filtering.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is caused by a virus found in the tropics. It is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. Symptoms include headache, muscle pain, joint pain, and fever along with a bright red rash (although this is not always present). Currently, there is no vaccine available for the prevention of dengue fever so the best way to avoid this disease to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in affected areas. Carry a mosquito net with you if you are to travel to such areas to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes.


It is a viral disease which is spread through transfer of blood, sexual intercourse. There is no cure or vaccination to the disease. The symptoms take time to be seen and the rate of infection is very high. The best way to avoid the disease is through abstinence. Having protected sexual intercourse reduces the rate of infection drastically.


Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Symptoms include joint pain, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite, nausea, and jaundice. There are numerous types of hepatitis but the most common form contracted when travelling is hepatitis A. Hepatitis A can be spread through personal contact, consumption of raw seafood or by contaminated water. A vaccine is available to prevent infection from hepatitis A for life. A vaccine is also available to prevent hepatitis B.


Malaria is an infectious disease found in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It is generally spread by mosquitoes and is particularly common in Sub-Sahara Africa. Symptoms include fever, shivering, joint pain, and vomiting. No vaccine is currently available for Malaria however, preventative drugs are available to help reduce your risk of infection.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease spread primarily by mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, headache, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, and a slow pulse. Yellow fever is preventable by a vaccine which gives immunity for around 10 years. Vaccination may be necessary for travelers to certain regions in Africa, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.


Typhoid is a common bacterial illness transmitted by ingested food or water contaminated by the feaces of an infected person. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, and diarrhoea. You can be vaccinated against typhoid fever and vaccination is recommended for people travelling to certain areas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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