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1/07/2007

Travel safe



Whether you are trekking through the hills of Kulu-Manali, cavorting on a boat in the Backwaters of Kerala or enjoying a vacation in the Far East. Make sure your holidays go with a swing. In the age of jet travel, you can be subject to various forms of stress that may reduce your resistance to disease. Crowding, long hours of waiting, disruption of eating habits, change in climate and time zone; all can provoke extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, indigestion and insomnia. Here, we give you a helping hand!


1. Think before you drink-having a ‘quickie’ before enjoying sports or activities isn’t a good idea; injuries and deaths happen

2. Avoid bathing in unknown and polluted waters because this may give you ear and skin infections. Human sewage and animal faeces make some beaches and rivers ‘no-go’ areas for swimming or even wading.

3.Never swim alone or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and never dive headfirst into an unfamiliar body of water. When swimming in the sea, check out for jellyfish, sea urchins, coral, sea snakes, sharks and venomous fish. Excessive heat and humidity or over exertion may lead to loss of water and salt. Drink plenty of fluids and potable water en route.

4.Be careful what you eat. Contaminated foodstuffs are a common source of diarrhoeal infections. Unpasteurized milk, non-bottled drinks, uncooked food apart from fruits and vegetables that can be peeled or shelled, are likely to be contaminated. Use boiled water or bottled water for drinking. Be aware of the importance of rehydration fluids containing salt and glucose.

5.To reduce the possibility of being bitten by insects or arthropods that can transmit diseases (vector-borne), such as malaria, dengue, tick borne encephalitis (TBE), use an insect repellent on exposed skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats to cover exposed skin. When you visit areas with ticks and fleas, wear boots, not sandals.

6.Be aware that Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria are most active during twilight periods (dawn and dusk or in the evening). Stay in air-conditioned or well screened housing, and/ or sleep under an insecticide treated bed net. Bed nets should be tucked under mattresses and can be sprayed with a repellent if not already treated with an insecticide. For malaria, prophylactic drugs should be started latest on the day of arrival in the malaria endemic areas and continued for four to six weeks after leaving the area.

7. Daytime biters include mosquitoes that transmit dengue and chikungunya viruses. Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito), a household container breeder and aggressive daytime biter, which is attracted to humans, is the primary vector of chikungunya to humans.

8.For hepatitis A prevention, vaccine is available. Avoidance of contaminated food and water is an effective protective measure; against hepatitis E. Hepatitis B vaccines that are available are safe.

9. Avoid sex or limit to a single faithful uninfected partner. Use of condom is an important preventive measure for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and HIV. Avoid injectable drugs while you are on the move unless the needle and syringe come from a sterile pack.

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