Africa may be the land of the Big Cats and the Elephants, a panorama of nature at her best and worst… But none of that can change the fact that Africa is still very much a third world country… The world has been relentlessly moving on, but Africa will still take a while to catch up. And that is precisely why, even as you enjoy your safari adventure to the fullest, you must be careful about health risks and stay aware of prevention as well as ways to treat certain diseases.
Are you wondering what diseases could you contract in Africa?
There are actually a number of diseases that have been eradicated in most parts of the world but continue to plague Africa. As you are privileged enough to belong to one of the more developed countries, you can avail of vaccinations to prevent these diseases:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever
Make sure you take these vaccinations before you set off on your African Safari.
Other Preventable diseases
There are other diseases also which are preventable, with proper hygienic practices. Here’s the list and also how you can prevent them:
- Malaria causes headaches, vomiting and nausea, fever and chills and can even become fatal if not treated properly. Prevent by –
Using mosquito nets
Prophylactic medication taken in advance can also be effective.
Also use insect repellants that contain DEET.
- Cholera is another huge risk. It is a toxin infection in the body that causes severe diarrhea and in extreme cases can became fatal due to excessive dehydration. To prevent:
Stay away from raw or undercooked vegetables and fish.
Always sterilize water before drinking.
Also make sure the hotel you are staying at is taking the above precautions.
But in case you come across an infected person, treatment is possible through
Oral Rehydration solutions to prevent dehydration.
- Typhoid is another disease that causes severe diarrhea, fever, tiredness, headaches and dehydration and can prove to be fatal. Prevention is much the same as with Cholera. Alternately, if available, take the vaccination in time.
- STDs (Sexually Transmitted diseases) like HIV and AIDS are also a veritable risk in Africa. Keep these precautions in mind.
Make sure you do not come in contact with used and contaminated syringes or surgical things.
Blood transfusions should be avoided.
Never have unprotected sex. Always use latex condoms, if you must.
- The last threat we’d like to mention is Tuberculosis. However, you only risk contracting this if you stay there for a prolonged period of time. If diagnosed on time, it can be effectively treated with antibiotics and other medicines.
However, by far the most common disease that seems to affect a whole lot of travelers in Africa is…
- Nausea, though mild
- Abdominal Cramps
- Wash your hands with clean water at regular intervals.
- Always use sterilized water to wash your toothbrush
- Never eat at restaurants which only cater to local people.
- Eating street side foods is a total no-no.
- Never eat anything that looks undercooked or raw.
- If you eat any fruit or like, wash it well first.
- When eating always ascertain that foods that are supposed to be hot haven’t gone cold and those that are supposed to be had cold haven’t gone warm.
- Avoid eating at buffets
- Stay away from dairy products, as they may not always be pasteurized.
- Always boil water for a minute and cool before drinking.
- You could also use purifiers or disinfectant kits.
- When it comes to fresh produce, always peel them yourself.
- Be very careful with what you drink: tea or coffee made with boiled water; tinned or canned beverages are fine. But make sure they are untouched by hands as far as possible. Open the cans yourself, with freshly washed hands. Also avoid ice in your beverages.
How to Treat
- So far as medicines are concerned, anti-motility drugs and antibiotics will be prescribed by your doctor if you ask. So keep those handy.
- Otherwise, the basic practices to control any diarrhea are useful too.
- And of course, it is important to stay hydrated.
In addition to all the above, another important health factor to keep in mind is the constant risk of dehydration. Treated water will not be endless, and the amount of total skin-exposure will determine how much water your body loses through sweat. So it is always advisable that you keep some rehydration kits with you. For instance the Drip Drop Hydration 4 Powder Packs, Fresh Lemon Taste are a much recommended item. They also get a very high rating from a large number of customers at Amazon.com. So order them and pack them, and keep all the safety precautions in mind before embarking on your African Adventure!