Top 10 Health Tips for Travel to Africa May 13, 2013 By Cait Hartwyk 1 Comment Top Ten Health Tips for Travel to Africa: Get the Proper Travel Vaccines Bring Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications Malaria Awareness Wear Sunscreen Avoid Water Borne Illness HIV and AIDS Awareness Protect Your Feet Protect Your Safety Be Prepared for Jet Lag Pack a First Aid Kit There are countless things to remember when planning a trip to Africa; don’t forget to plan for good health as well. Follow these Top Ten health tips to ensure your trip to Africa is memorable in nothing but the best ways. 1. Get the Proper Travel Vaccines You may well need travel immunizations for your trip to Africa. Diseases that are uncommon in the United States, such as yellow fever, are endemic in much of the African continent. A visit with a travel health specialist will ensure you are up-to-date on all recommended and required vaccines. 2. Bring Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications Access to pharmaceuticals, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, is much different in Africa than in the United States. Be sure to pack a sufficient amount of your medications in your carry-on bag. Keep a written list of your medications as well as your physician and home pharmacy’s contact information with you. 3. Malaria Awareness Your travel health specialist may prescribe anti-malarial medication for you to bring on your trip. It is of utmost importance that you take the medication as recommended. Bring a mosquito net if your travels will have you staying in open-air accommodations. Use insect repellents, and pack pants and long sleeved pajamas to further protect yourself from insect bites. 4. Sunscreen Africa’s equatorial location means intense exposure to the sun. Without adequate protection, you could experience painful sunburn. Bring plenty of sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. 5. Water Borne Illness The safety of the water supply in Africa is different from what you may be used to at home. Intestinal infections are a common result of drinking contaminated water or eating foods that have been exposed to contaminated water. Be sure to drink only bottled, distilled, or treated water during your travels. Pack anti-diarrheal medication as well as oral rehydration packets should you develop an intestinal illness. 6. HIV and AIDS HIV and AIDS are serious public health concerns in many Africa countries. Be smart, and avoid risky activities. 7. Protect Your Feet Bring sandals to wear in the shower to protect yourself from fungal infections and parasitic infections. A pair of inexpensive flip flops will do the job. If you are planning on hiking and trekking, pack comfortable, sturdy walking shoes so sore feet do not cut your explorations short. 8. Protect Your Safety Scams and pickpockets are not uncommon experiences in Africa. Take steps to protect yourself from credit card fraud and theft. Take care with how much cash you carry on your person at any time. If staying in a hotel, leave valuables in the hotel safe, or, better yet, do not bring them at all. Keep a low profile so as to not attract an undue amount of attention to yourself. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid unsavory parts of cities, and travel with a companion whenever possible. 9. Be Prepared for Jet Lag After hours on the plane and arriving to a different time zone, you are likely to experience jet lag. Leave time in your travel schedule to allow your body to rest and adjust to your new surroundings. 10. Pack a First Aid Kit Bring first aid essentials that may not be available in your destination such as a digital thermometer, latex gloves, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, hydrocortisone, lip balm, tweezers, and iodine wipes or alcohol swabs. You will be prepared for any situation! For more Africa-specific travel tips and news, please visit the Africa Travel Association’s website, and be sure to sign up for their newsletter! Passport Health is proud to be the digital marketing partner of choice for the ATA.