There are a number of very serious diseases that are caused by contaminated food and water. Some of these major diseases are dysentery, which can be preceded by traveler‘s diarrhea, hepatitis A, cholera, and typhoid. These diseases are very prevalent in third world countries, however, people can contract them even in their own home town. Here is some information that can help you lessen the chance of getting these diseases when you take a tropical holiday.
What precautions can you take to reduce the chance of contracting these serious diseases when you travel?
Drink only bottled water when you are on holidays. Check to make sure that the seal of the cap has not been broken. If it shows any sign of being tampering with, do not drink the water. In many third world countries, it is not uncommon for some street vendors, children, or restaurants to fill water bottles with tap water and offer them to tourists as authentic bottled water.
Ice cubes can be another major source of contaminated water. Unlike bottled water, there is no way that you can determine if the ice cubes in your drink were made from a non-contaminated source of water. Unless you know for sure the restaurant, or drinking establishment you are at has an impeccable reputation, you should not use ice cubes in your drinks.
When you are on a tropical vacation it is advisable to avoid eating any uncooked foods such as salads as they are another major source of these diseases.
How do people usually contract traveler’s diarrhea?
Traveler’s diarrhea is usually caused by contaminated food or water, but it can also be caused by stress or a change of location when traveling. Some symptoms are gas, nausea, upset stomach, cramps and a liquid stool.
What should you do if you get traveler’s diarrhea?
You should drink a lot of purified water and soda or pop to prevent dehydration. These symptoms usually subside within two or three days, if these symptoms persist or get more severe, you should get medical help immediately as you may have one of two more serious conditions, bacteria, or amoeba dysentery.
What are some of the symptoms of dysentery?
Severe headaches, a high fever, stomach cramps, vomiting, blood and/or mucous in the stool are the usual symptoms of both bacteria and amoeba caused dysentery. Both types of dysentery can be very serious medical conditions if left untreated. You must seek medical help as soon as possible.
What is the difference between hepatitis A and B?
Hepatitis A is a highly infectious disease that is spread through contaminated food and water (including ice cubes). Hepatitis B is spread in the same way that the HIV virus is spread, by infected blood or body fluids through sexual contact, a transfusion, or a cut or break in the skin. Both diseases have similar symptoms which may include a fever, chills, headaches, feeling fatigued, aches and pains, nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, lack of appetite, dark colored urine and light colored feces. Jaundiced skin and yellow whites of the eyes are also common symptoms. If you get some, or all of these symptoms you must seek medical help as soon as possible. However, as a precaution, it would make sense to see your local health authority before you travel on vacation and get vaccinated against both of these diseases. Remember that your first line of defense is to get vaccinations to protect yourself against hepatitis A and B before traveling.
It is advisable to check with your local health authority to find out if you need to be vaccinated prior to leaving on your trip. Some countries you plan to visit may require an up to date vaccination certificate. Even if they don’t, it still makes good sense to be vaccinated as hepatitis A is a highly infectious disease. Hepatitis B can lead to AIDS. Both diseases attack the liver. There is a vaccination called Twinrix which protects you from both hepatitis A and B. You can find out more about this vaccination at Twinrix.com.
What should you do if you get cholera?
Cholera causes diarrhea, which can lead to very severe dehydration and possibly death. This disease is transmitted through contaminated food and water. As immunization is not considered effective, you have to practice good hygiene.
How can you protect yourself against getting typhoid?
Typhoid is a disease that is also contracted through contaminated food and water. You should be immunized for typhoid if you are traveling to countries where the sanitation is poor.
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