Travel Advice Leaflet
This leaflet is designed to remind you of some of the information given to you by the nurse
when you visited for your travel appointment. PLEASE READ IT!
The information will help
you to stay healthy on your trip. It is not an exhaustive information sheet and should not be
used as a complete guide – you may need to carry out further research depending upon your
Diseases can be caught from drinking contaminated water, or swimming in it. Unless you
KNOW the water supply is safe where you are staying, ONLY USE (in order of preference):
This includes ICE CUBES in drinks and water for CLEANING YOUR TEETH. SWIMMING
It is safer to swim in water that is well chlorinated. If you are travelling to Africa, South
America or some parts of the Caribbean, AVOID SWIMMING in fresh water LAKES and
STREAMS. You can catch a parasitic disease called SCHISTOSOMIASIS from such places.
This disease is also known as BILHARZIA. It is wise NEVER TO GO BAREFOOT, but to
wear protective footwear when out, even on the beach. Other diseases can be caught from sand
and soil, particularly wet soil. FOOD
Contaminated food is the commonest source of many diseases abroad. You can help prevent it
by following these guidelines :
• only eat well cooked fresh food
• avoid buying food from street vendors Another source of disease is ALCOHOL! If you drink to excess, alcohol could lead you to become carefree and ignore these precautions: Two phrases to help you remember
1. COOK IT, PEEL IT, OR LEAVE IT!
2. WHEN IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT! PERSONAL HYGIENE
Many diseases are transmitted by what is known as the ‘faecal-oral’ route. To help prevent this,
always wash your hands with soap and clean water after going to the toilet, before eating and
before handling food. TRAVELLERS’ DIARRHOEA
This is the MOST COMMON ILLNESS
that you will be exposed to abroad and there is NO
VACCINE AGAINST IT
! Travellers’ diarrhoea is caused by eating and/or drinking food and
water contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Risk of illness is higher in some countries
than others: High risk areas
include North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, South East
Asia, South America, Mexico and the Middle East. Medium risk areas
include the northern Mediterranean, Canary Islands and the Caribbean
Islands. Low risk areas
include North America, Western Europe and Australia
You can certainly help PREVENT
travellers’ diarrhoea in the way you BEHAVE
- make sure
you follow the food, water and personal hygiene guidelines already given.
Travellers’ diarrhoea is 4 or more loose stools in a 24 hour period often accompanied by stomach
pain, cramps and vomiting. It usually lasts 2-4 days and whilst it is not a life threatening illness,
it can disrupt your trip for several days. The main danger of the illness is DEHYDRATION
and this, if very severe, can kill if it is not treated. TREATMENT
is therefore REHYDRATION
. In severe cases and particularly in young children and the elderly,
commercially prepared rehydration solution is extremely useful. This can be bought in tablet or
sachet form at a chemist shop e.g. DIORALYTE or ELECTROLADE. (Dioralyte Relief is a
new formula containing rice powder which also helps to relieve diarrhoea, particularly useful in
children). Prepare according to instructions. ANTI DIARRHOEAL TABLETS
can be used for adults but should NEVER be USED in
children under 4 years of age, and only on prescription for children aged 4 to 12 years.
Commonly used tablets are IMODIUM and LOMOTIL (LOPERAMIDE).
None of these tablets should ever be used if the person has a temperature or blood in the stool.
GET MEDICAL HELP IF THE AFFECTED PERSON HAS:
• A temperature
• Diarrhoea for more than 48 hours (or 24 hours in children)
• Becomes confused In very special circumstances, antibiotics are used for diarrhoea, but this decision should only be made by a doctor. (A woman taking the oral contraceptive pill may not have full contraceptive protection if she has had diarrhoea and vomiting. Extra precautions must be used - refer to your ‘pill’ information leaflet. If using condoms, use products with the British Kite Mark.)
HEPATITIS B and HIV INFECTION
These diseases can be transmitted by:
1. Blood transfusion
2. Medical procedures with non sterile equipment
3. Sharing of needles (e.g. tattooing, body piercing, acupuncture and drug abuse)
4. Sexual contact. (Sexually transmitted diseases are also transmitted by no. 4)
WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
• Only accept a blood transfusion when essential
• If travelling to a developing country, take a sterile medical kit
• Avoid procedures e.g. ear, body piercing, tattooing and acupuncture
• Avoid casual sex, especially without using condoms
REMEMBER - excessive alcohol can make you carefree and lead you to take risks you
otherwise would not consider.
Mosquitoes, certain types of flies, ticks and bugs can cause many different diseases. eg. malaria,
dengue fever, yellow fever. Some bite at night, but some during daytime.
AVOID BEING BITTEN BY:
• Covering up skin as much as possible if going out at night, (mosquitoes that transmit malaria
bite from dusk until dawn). Wear light coloured clothes, long sleeves, trousers or long skirts.
• Use insect repellents on exposed skin. (Choose those containing DEET or eucalyptus oil
base. A content of approximately 35% DEET is recommended for tropical destinations.) Clothes can be sprayed with repellents too. Impregnated wrist and ankle bands are also available. Check suitability for children on the individual products.
• If room is not air conditioned, but screened, close shutters early evening and spray room with
knockdown insecticide spray. In malarious regions, if camping, or sleeping in unprotected accommodation, always sleep under a mosquito net (impregnated with permethrin). Avoid camping near areas of stagnant water, these are common breeding areas for mosquitoes etc.
• Electric insecticide vaporisers are very effective as long as there are no power failures!
• Electric buzzers, garlic and vitamin B are ineffective. MALARIA
If you are travelling to a malarious country, the nurse will have given you a leaflet with more
details, please read it.
REMEMBER, malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease.
Rabies is present in many parts of the world. If a person develops rabies, death is 100% certain.
There are 3 RULES REGARDING RABIES:
1. Do not touch any animal, even dogs and cats
2. If you are licked on broken skin or bitten in a country which has rabies, wash the wound
thoroughly with soap and running water for 5 minutes.
3. Seek medical advice IMMEDIATELY, even if you have been previously immunised. ACCIDENTS
Major leading causes of death in travellers are due to swimming and traffic accidents. You can
help prevent them by taking the following PRECAUTIONARY GUIDELINES:
• Avoid alcohol and food before swimming
• Never dive into water where the depth is uncertain
• Only swim in safe water, check currents, sharks, jellyfish etc.
• Avoid alcohol when driving, especially at night
• If hiring a car, rent a large one if possible, ensure the tyres, brakes and seat belts are in good
• Use reliable taxi firms, know where emergency facilities are.
• Take out adequate insurance cover for your trip. This should possibly include medical
repatriation as without it, this service if needed can be extremely expensive.
• If you have any pre existing medical conditions, make sure you inform the insurance
company of these details and check the small print of the policy thoroughly.
• If you travel to a European Union country, make sure you apply for a European Health
Insurance Card (EHIC). You can pick up a EHIC form and pre-addressed envelope from the post office. Alternatively you can apply online at the Department of Health –www.dh.gov.uk or by phone – 0845 606 2030 (you will need to have the name, D.O.B and National Insurance Number of each person applying)
• Additional travel insurance is advised.
It is sensible on any long haul flight to:
• Exercise your legs, feet and toes while sitting every half an hour or so and take short walks
whenever feasible. Upper body and breathing exercises can further improve circulation
• Drink plenty of water and be sensible about alcohol intake which in excess leads to
Further information can be obtained from the Department of Health website with more specific advice and information on travel-related deep vein thrombosis.
SUN AND HEAT
Sunburn and heat-stroke cause serious problems in travellers, but in the long term can be a
serious cause of skin cancer. Long term damage to the skin due to sun exposure can lead to skin
cancer. There is no such thing as a safe suntan but the following advice should be taken:
• Increase sun exposure gradually, 20 minutes limit initially.
• Use sun blocks of appropriate adequate ‘SPF’ strength but a minimum of SPF 15. Children
under 3 years should have a minimum SPF 25 and babies under 6 months should be kept out of the sun at all times. Reapply often and always after swimming and washing. Read manufacturer instructions
• Wear protective clothing – sunhats, T shirts and sunglasses etc.
• Avoid going out between 11am - 3pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
• TAKE SPECIAL CARE of CHILDREN and those with pale skin/red hair.
• Drink extra fluids in a hot climate.
• Be aware that alcohol can make you dehydrated
Useful web site addresses and further information:
Scottish NHS public travel site - www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
National Travel Health Network and Centre – www.nathnac.org
Foreign and Commonwealth Office – www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo
Immunisation issues – www.immunisation.nhs.uk
Malaria for the general public – www.malariahotspots.co.uk
The Foreign Office provide a travel advice information service on CEEFAX page 470 (BBC 2).
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka 52-1 Yada, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka, Shizuoka, 422-8526 B.A. in Pharmaceutical chemistry, Kyoto University 1993 M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical chemistry, Kyoto University 1995 Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical chemistry, Kyoto University 1998 CURRENT POSITION: Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sc
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