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Disease Prevention

Disease Prevention

Taking a journey overseas can be a very satisfying experience. No matter what the reason for your trip you will need to be aware of the health risks which can occur when you are away from home. Taking simple precautions like ensuring you have received the recommended travel vaccines, will go a long way towards keeping you healthy.

How to avoid stomach upset caused by food 

Eat freshly cooked hot food. Cold foods (either salads or cold meats) can easily be infected with a variety of organisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. 

Stay away from lettuce and undercooked shellfish. These two are the main culprits and responsible for many a spoiled trip overseas. Oysters, shrimps, prawns and mussels are frequently harvested from infected waters and then mildly steamed in preparation for human consumption. 

Choose food from the menu that you recognise, and make certain all meat is very well cooked. Try to avoid eating rare steaks while overseas.

How to avoid stomach upset caused by water 

 Everybody knows that the tap water supply overseas may be questionable. They would never dream of drinking from the taps in their bedrooms. Nevertheless, we often hear that travellers have used this same water for brushing their teeth. This is not a wise move. Water will be absorbed from your mouth very rapidly no matter whether or not you actually swallow. 

In regions where the tap water is untreated (smell for chlorine) don’t use ice in your drinks. This ice will be made from tap water and so may be contaminated. Bottled mineral water is a much safer option so long as the bottle is well sealed. 

One of the other major pitfalls from drinking overseas comes from buying ‘freshly squeezed’ juices from roadside stalls.  


  • Eat freshly cooked fresh food 
  • Avoid bivalve shellfish such as mussels, oysters and clams. 
  • Eat fruit you can peel yourself 
  • Check out the restaurant and choose a busy one with lots of people 
  • Avoid ‘rare’ or under cooked meat 
  • Smell water for chlorine 
  • Drink sealed bottled water 
  • If the water is untreated don’t use it to brush your teeth 
  • Avoid ice in your drinks 
  • Beware of those tempting roadside stalls 

How to Prevent Mosquito Bites 

Bite Avoidance 

  • Where Possible avoid going out of doors between dusk and dawn 
  • Wear long sleeves to cover your arms and long trousers 
  • Avoid dark coloured clothing 
  • If possible choose an air-conditioned room 
  • Keep doors and windows closed 
  • Avoid using perfumes and aftershaves 
  • Choose a room above the third floor. Insects don’t tend to fly to this height. Of course they do get carried. 
  • If living in the area ensure there are no open water containers. Still water is often the preferred breading ground of some insects. 

Insect Repellents and Other Items 

  • Use insect repellents with between 30 to 50% Deet (diethyltolumide) are the most effective. Higher dosages and non-Deet products are available for Children. 
  • Wash excess of your skin before going to bed. 
  • Use a Mosquito net if necessary and ensure it is correctly fitted 
  • Use Mosquito nets impregnated with permethrin to discourage insects from landing on the net. 
  • Use sprays around dawn and dusk. 
  • Mosquito coils and plug-in repellents are very effective. 
  • High pitched buzzers are not effective. 

Preventing Tick Bites 

You can try to protect yourself from tick bites by avoiding ticks when outdoors by sticking to trails, not sitting on the ground, and not walking in grassy, brushy, or heavily wooded areas. Wearing protective clothing, including light coloured clothing (so you can see ticks crawling on you) and pants that you can easily tuck into their socks, and by using an insect repellent with DEET (30% to 50%) on your skin (ankles and knees).