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A traveller’s guide to avoiding typhoid fever
Typhoid fever is an extremely serious illness, and travellers are most at risk. However, there are ways to avoid infection. With communication and travel technologies making exotic holidays and travel experiences more achievable than ever, more and more people are keen to explore as much of the world around them as possible. This is a great goal to have, as travel can really enrich both your experiences and your view of the world. However, there are also potential risks involved when it comes to travel, and one such risk is typhoid fever. Typhoid fever is common in developing countries and areas with poor sanitation. The widespread nature of the diseases means that it’s necessary to take precautions in order to travel safe. But don’t worry, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know. An introduction to typhoid fever According to the World Health Organisation, typhoid affects as many as 21.5 million people around the world every single year. Typhoid is caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. This bacterium passes from person to person, via the consumption of contaminated food or water, and causes potentially severe illness in the host. The bacterium makes its home in the intestinal tracts and bloodstreams of the humans it infects, and it is spread by particles of faeces belonging to carriers of the bacterium or people who are ill with the disease. It is often spread when sewage contaminates local drinking water, or the water used for washing food or crockery. Because of this, typhoid fever is especially common in areas with poor levels of sanitation. The typhoid infection usually develops over time, with symptoms arising around three weeks after the initial exposure to the bacterium. These symptoms can include high fever, stomach pains, headaches, weakness, loss of appetite, constipation and diarrhoea. Patients can also develop a red rash. If left untreated, typhoid can unfortunately be fatal. How to avoid typhoid fever when travelling The first and most vital step to avoiding typhoid infection is the receive the typhoid vaccination before you travel. If you are travelling to an area with a potential risk of typhoid (which can include most parts of the world except in industrialised regions like the US, Canada, western Europe, Japan and Australia), then it is absolutely vital that you seek out the typhoid vaccination before you leave. This vaccination is available from Express Travel Clinic. Outside of the vaccination, there are further measures you can take to protect yourself against typhoid. These include: Exclusively drink sealed, bottled water from brands you recognise. If you cannot avoid consuming local water, be sure to boil it first. Purification tablets and filters are also available from many health clinics in high risk areas. Only use ice made from bottled or purified water. Avoid flavoured ice or ice lollies. Ensure all food is cooked thoroughly and served piping hot. Avoid food which has been left out for a while. Avoid fruit and vegetables which you have not washed and peeled yourself. Don’t consume food and drink bought from street vendors. Ensure that all crockery and cutlery has been thoroughly washed before use. Get into the habit of frequent hand-washing as an extra precautionary measure. Key facts on typhoid to take away More than 21.5 million people a year suffer from typhoid fever around the world. Typhoid fever is spread through the consumption of contaminated food or water. Typhoid is most common in areas with poor sanitation levels. The Typhoid vaccination is a vital precautionary measure for travellers. Food and drink precautions can also help you avoid infection. If you’re planning a trip abroad, play it safe and get in touch with Express Travel Clinic. We can help you with the vaccinations you need to stay healthy when travelling. Call us on 0208 993 58 89 or click here
What effect does encephalitis have on your brain?
If left untreated, encephalitis can be an extremely serious condition For many people, travelling is an exciting and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity full of adventure and possibility. However, there are also risks involved in travelling to exotic locations. If you fail to look after your health abroad, it could negatively impact not just your holiday, but also your health in the long term. One such risk to health is encephalitis which, if left untreated, can be severe or even fatal. It can impact your central nervous system, with potentially disastrous consequences. Encephalitis affects approximately 4,000 people in the UK each year, so make sure you understand the risks involved with this condition before you travel. What is encephalitis? Encephalitis is defined by a swelling on the brain, usually caused by an infection or virus. In the case of tick-borne and Japanese encephalitis, this virus is spread via a bite from an infected tick or mosquito. It can also be caused via the herpes simplex virus, the measles virus, the varicella virus and the rubella virus among other. Certain viruses have the capability to access the central nervous system (i.e. the brain and spine) by passing the blood barrier that usually filters the blood and fights harmful particles. In some cases, becoming infected with one of these viruses leads to encephalitis. What effect does it have on your brain? The symptoms of encephalitis will usually begin as flu-like signs, such as a headache, a fever and generally just feeling unwell. These symptoms tend to develop over a few hours or a day. This can then develop into nausea, vomiting and a lack of mobility due to stiffness in the neck. However, over time the condition can become more serious, having a more significant impact on the brain. Certain strains of encephalitis can affect the frontal lobes, which are responsible for controlling emotions and behaviour. The condition can cause symptoms such as memory problems, drowsiness and confusion, and as such patients of the infection may experience blackouts. Encephalitis can also impact the brain in other ways, causing speech problems, a lack of co-ordination, uncharacteristic behaviour and even personality changes. It may also lead to epilepsy and, in severe cases, can cause comas. Where are the risk areas for encephalitis? The range of different viruses which can cause encephalitis means that it can be contracted in many different areas. In the case of some viruses — such as herpes simplex — this includes the UK. Travellers should primarily be aware of two kinds of encephalitis: tick-borne encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis. These are most common in areas outside the UK. Tick-borne encephalitis is most often found in ticks located across much of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe, including Austria, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Switzerland, Serbia, Poland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Anyone planning on travelling to these areas should be wary of the condition. Japanese encephalitis is, as the name suggests, commonly found in the Far East. Risk areas include China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Laos, Philippines, India, Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Indonesia. It is most common after monsoon season. How to prevent encephalitis Taking precautionary steps against tick and mosquito bites will help to lower your chances of contracting encephalitis. These include wearing loose-fitting long sleeves, avoiding being outside during the cooler hours of the day, checking for bites and ticks regularly and making use of insect repellents and mosquito nets. The best way to significantly lower your risk of encephalitis is to get vaccinated before you travel. The vaccinations for both tick-borne encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis are available from Express Travel Clinic. If you’re planning on travelling further afield in 2019, make sure you receive the necessary vaccinations in order to stay happy and healthy while abroad. Book an appointment with Express Travel Clinic today by clicking here, or by calling 0208 993 5889.