Prevent Insect Bites
Many diseases, like malaria and dengue, are spread through insect bites. One of the best protections is to prevent insect bites by:
- Using insect repellent (bug spray) with 30%-50% DEET. Picaridin, available in 7% and 15% concentrations, needs more frequent application.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat outdoors.
- Remaining indoors in a screened or air-conditioned area during the peak biting period for malaria (dusk and dawn).
- Sleeping in beds covered by nets treated with permethrin, if not sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room.
- Spraying rooms with products effective against flying insects, such as those containing pyrethroid.
Be Careful about Food and Water
Diseases from food and water are the leading cause of illness in travelers. Follow these tips for safe eating and drinking:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink.
- Do not eat food purchased from street vendors.
- Make sure food is fully cooked.
- Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
- Diseases from food and water often cause vomiting and diarrhea. Make sure to bring diarrhea medicine with you so that you can treat mild cases yourself.
Car crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from these injuries by:
- Not drinking and driving.
- Wearing your seat belt and using car seats or booster seats in the backseat for children.
- Following local traffic laws.
- Wearing helmets when you ride bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes.
- Not getting on an overloaded bus or mini-bus.
- Hiring a local driver, when possible.
- Avoiding night driving.
Other Health Tips
To avoid animal bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague) do not handle or pet animals, especially dogs and cats, If you are bitten or scratched, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention to determine if mediation or anti-rabies vaccine is needed.
To avoid infections such as HIV and viral hepatitis do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing, or injections.
To reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases always use latex condoms.
To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, especially on beaches where animals may have defecated.
It doesn’t take much to prepare for a safe and healthy vacation. Use common sense, make some pre-trip preparations, and enjoy yourself while on your holiday.