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Posts Tagged 'health'

Yellow Fever: Vaccinations, symptoms, precautions and more…

Monday, February 27th, 2012
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What is Yellow Fever?

Yellow Fever, also known as “Yellow Jack" in slang, is a mosquito-borne viral disease, spread by the bite of female mosquitoes. Just in case there are any doctors in the house, in technical terms, Yellow Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease that is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family. Check out the funny educational YouTube video below to better understand Yellow Fever, it's symptoms and how it can be prevented.


When is Yellow Fever Prevalent?

The majority of the little suckers are fussy with the conditions they live in. Therefore Yellow Fever is most common at the end of the rainy season in West and Central Africa which is July to October.


How Can I Get Yellow Fever?

Seeing as the disease is passed on from infected mosquito to human, the infection happens when someone is actually bitten by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito.


How Can I Avoid It?

If you’re planning to travel to a country affected by Yellow Fever, you will need to get a Yellow Fever vaccination and the subsequent Yellow Fever vaccination certificate which verifies that you have received the immunisation. A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is valid for 10 years. When entering an affected area you will need to present your vaccination certificate. Officials will not let you into a country without it. Kapeesh? As a further safety precaution (because getting bitten by any mosquito isn't fun) it's advised that you wear long sleeves and long pants and use an insect repellent containing DEET when out in the evenings. Sleeping under a mosquito net decreases chances of getting bitten by mosquitoes, also, staying in rooms with air-conditioning or a fan helps. At night you will find that burning a mosquito coil proves to be very effective at deterring mosquitoes.


Above: mosquito by Zoran Ozetsky

Where is Yellow Fever Prevalent?

The Yellow Fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa, but not in Asia. As far as white coats know, the only hosts of the virus are primates and several species of mosquito. What countries require you to have a yellow fever certificate? Check out the World Health Organisation's country list of yellow fever vaccination requirements and recommendations.

Symptoms of Yellow Fever:

If you only have a mild infection your symptoms will be one, or a few, of the following: fever, headache, chills, back pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Mild infection often only lasts for three to four days. Fifteen percent of these cases lead to a toxic phase with recurring fever, this time accompanied by jaundice due to liver damage, as well as abdominal pain. Other symptoms include bleeding in the mouth, the eyes and in the gastrointestinal tract which causes blood to appear in up-heaved vomit. Not fun.  Only about 20% of cases where infection has led to the toxic phase prove to be fatal. If you survive a Yellow Fever infection you will have life-long immunity to the disease. Luckily there usually isn’t any permanent organ damage from getting Yellow Fever.

Treatment of Yellow Fever:

In the case of Yellow Fever, prevention is better than cure, seeing as there isn’t an effective treatment against the Yellow Fever virus. The flu-like symptoms you get after first contracting the virus is treatable with acetaminophen. Serious infections need medical attention as soon as possible, making hospitalisation one’s best bet. With a simple Yellow Fever vaccination, you will be happily protected against Yellow Fever and are free to travel in affected areas without hassle.

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Tags: health, yellow-fever, yellow-fever-certificate

Top 10 tips to staying healthy when you travel to africa

Friday, January 27th, 2012
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There are all kinds of motivations for going to a third world country, or even just a highly rural area. Whether it’s a service-based mission trip or a study abroad experience, there are additional precautions everyone must take when they travel to Africa, to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are a few quick tips to keep that holiday in Africa, a holiday in Africa.


Image by Aleksandra P


Before you travel to Africa


1. Insurance

Call your health insurance companies. Besides the simple tips in this post, they have dealt with enough cases and are concerned enough about your health to offer anything you’d ever want to know about travelling to Africa.

2. Drug Mule

Get prescriptions from doctors for your prescription drugs. No one wants to be convicted of dealing drugs on their holiday!

3. Medical travel kit

Load up a travel kit full of over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, antibiotic ointment, band-aids and antacids.  They’ll be a huge help, and I would think anyone would be at a greater peace of mind knowing they already have these things on hand.

4. Vaccinations

Get your vaccinations! The four necessary ones are Hepatitis A & B, yellow fever, and typhoid, but you also should consider other recommended vaccinations as well when you're planning to travel to Africa.


During travel in Africa


5.  Use sun protection!

Wear sunscreen - anything over 30 SPF is recommended to avoid sun burn and blisters. Besides neck protection, a wide-brimmed safari hats plus polarized sunglasses protects the eyes too.

6. Stay hydrated

It’s been noted that physical and mental capabilities decrease drastically as you become more dehydrated. Keeping that water level up will have you feeling lively and give you the strength to outrun those lions and gazelles - that's a joke.

7. Watch what you drink

Staying hydrated is important, but equally important is how you stay hyrdrated. According to a Blue Planet study, contaminated water accounts for 80% of diseases in developing worlds. If you don’t like the 4/5 chance of getting sick, boil your water, use purifying tablets, and stick to bottled water when travelling in Africa.

8. Don't shower with your mouth open

Keep your mouth closed in the shower (think Sex and the City: The Movie) and brush your teeth with purified water. It’s not always easy, but try to confirm if your food was washed with purified water.

9. Be fussy

Be aware of street vendors and strive for food cooked in front of you. Otherwise, there’s no telling how long your meal had been sitting under a heat lamp baking in bacteria. Otherwise, go vegan for a safer bet.

10. Sanitise

Bring hand sanitizer and work it into your hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure all the doorknobs, handrails, and market items you’ve touched stay where they came from. You only want to bring the good things home with you! Now that you're clued up on what you need to stay healthy when you travel to Africa, it's time to book that safari in Africa!


About the author


Nate Schrader, writer for Travel Products enjoys learning anything about the world to help the confused traveler. When he’s not writing, he’s planning his next trip and one day strives to take a mission trip to those in need. Happy travels!

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Tags: africa-vaccinations, health, medical, precautions, vaccinations

Vaccinations for Travel in Africa

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
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A trip to Africa can be the experience of a lifetime. Whether you're exploring the architecture and giant bazaars of Morocco, the pyramids in Egypt, or going on a safari in Sub-Sahara Africa, you are bound to have an unforgettable journey. Before you set out on your adventure, however, you should pay careful attention to which vaccinations are required. Some are mandatory and others are highly advisable, but the below breakdown tells you everything you need to know, when it comes to vaccinations for travel in Africa:


Photo by Kurhan


Routine Shots

Most adults try to keep up to date on their standard vaccinations, including things like measles, chicken pox and influenza. While there are no laws (either in Africa or abroad) that require you to be up to date on these shots, it is a great idea to have them done before you travel. These diseases which are not considered relevant or life threatening in a Westernised country can become more dangerous when you travel to Africa.

Required Vaccinations for Travel in Africa

There is only one vaccination which is mandatory at selected border crossings in Africa, and that is a Yellow Fever vaccination. You can either get this injection vaccine before you go, or when at the border. However, if you wait until you get to the border, be prepared to pay over double what you would've paid at home. Other than Yellow Fever, there are no vaccinations you HAVE to take. Even malaria tablets are optional, however highly recommended. The most common optional, but important, vaccinations needed when travelling in Africa include immunisation against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Tetnis. The Center for Disease Control also has an additional list which contains recommended or required vaccines for specific countries. Be sure to check this list and comply with the requirements well before visiting your intended African destination.

Is a Yellow Fever shot painful?

No. Yellow Fever shots are not painful. I heard horror stories about how the injection needed to be administered through the spine and was bone chillingly painful. I can safely tell you that this is absolute rubbish. I recently had the Yellow Fever and Typhoid injections in one arm, and the Hepatitis and Tetnis injections in the other.  There was a tiny prick of the needle and it was all over. The next day however there was a small bump where the needle went in, but this is completely normal and the lump eventually goes away, as does the slightly bruised feeling.

Plan in Advance

It is important not to leave your required vaccinations until the last minute. Many shots can be quickly administered, but take a week or longer to work effectively against a disease. Whenever possible, speak with your physician a few months in advance, and make an appointment to receive vaccinations 4-6 weeks prior to departing. Remember that if you require a series of shots, as is required for vaccines like those protecting against Hepatitis, you might need to have several shots, each a few days or weeks apart.

Bring Paperwork

Don't assume that since you have had vaccinations that you can forget about it during your vacation. Bring along medical documentation of the various diseases you are protected against, in case any government authorities or border patrols need to see it before allowing you entry. In particular, you will certainly need documentation of yellow fever vaccinations if you enter most Sub-Saharan countries, including South Africa.


While not technically a vaccine, it is wise to consider which preventative measures you can take against Malaria when visiting Africa. Understand what precautions you can take while there to avoid the disease, and take anti-malarial tablets before you depart, during your trip and possibly even after your return. Watch this YouTube video for more guidelines for how to survive in African Wilderness and what vaccinations you will need to travel to Africa:


By following these guidelines, you will be ready for your safari in Africa! Remember that many vaccinations for travel in Africa are required, so be sure to plan for them during your vacation preparations.

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Tags: health, malaria, vaccinations

Latest Yellow Fever Vaccination Recommendations

Friday, June 3rd, 2011
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Yellow Fever in Africa

At the beginning of the year the World Health Organisation published their vaccination recommendations for 2011. Since then the South African Department of Health have recently altered their regulations. Zambia is a region whose regulations have specifically undergone adjustment.

Previously, no proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination was required for those travelling between South Africa and Zambia, but this has now changed: Yellow Fever vaccination proof is now needed. Bordering country Tanzania’s requirements are unchanged, which means that those travelling between Tanzania and South Africa will still require proof of Yellow Fever vaccination.

Passengers, between the two destinations, will also be required to provide proof of Yellow Fever vaccination regardless of how long they have been in-transit for. If you’re leaving for your journey tomorrow, not to worry, the regulation requirements are only expected to be enforced from July 1, 2011. However, for obvious safety reasons its best to get a Yellow Fever vaccination as soon as possible before departure. Any questions? Contact the team at OverlandingAfrica.com

LATEST UPDATE: In July 2011, South African Department of Health (SADH) would like to make it clear that travellers DO NOT require a yellow fever certificate for travel between South Africa and Zambia.

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Tags: africa-overland-trips, africa-vaccinations, health, requirements, vaccination, world-health-organisation, yellow-fever, zambia