What are common parasites travelers may encounter abroad?
Parasites and travel are unfortunately integral components of many people’s lives. And while it may seem small, many infections and parasitic diseases can travel home with people, causing serious health issues. By taking some necessary precautions abroad, travelers can prevent the spread of parasites and reduce the risk of infection.
Understanding Parasites and Infectious Diseases
Parasites and infectious diseases can be spread through food, water, and other forms of contact, including mosquito bites. Symptoms of infection can vary widely, but may include headaches, stomach upset, fever, fatigue, and more. Unfortunately, most parasites and infectious diseases can cause long-term health problems if left untreated.
Prevention Tips for Travelers
There are several steps travelers can take to avoid being infected by parasites while abroad.
- Ensure all vaccinations are up to date
- Visit a travel clinic prior to departure
- Research the common health risks in the area
- Pack necessary medications and supplies
- Always wash hands thoroughly before eating
- Drink only clean water and avoid (uncooked) food or beverages from street vendors
- Avoid touching animals
- Wear insect repellant and protective clothing outdoors
- Carry a first aid kit and antiseptic wipes
- Look out for symptoms of infection
- Keep a travel diary of locations and activities to share with doctors
- Visit a doctor if any symptoms are present
Health: How to Treat an Infection
If a traveler experiences any symptoms of infection upon returning home, it is important to seek medical help right away. Even if the traveler cannot recall all of the places they visited during travel, most doctors should be able to diagnose the issue. In some cases, antibiotics, anti-parasitic treatments, or other medications may be necessary. Depending on the type of infection, treatment may vary.
It is always important to practice precautionary methods before, during, and after travel to ensure good health. Remember, parasites and infectious diseases can be avoided with proper prevention techniques. However, if a traveler finds themselves infected, it is equally important that they seek medical help quickly.