Travel health advice

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DURING THE TRIP

Food and personal hygiene

  • Always wash hands before eating and after going to toilet.
  • Ensure food is thoroughly cooked before eating during a hot pot or barbecue meal.
  • Avoid eating raw or partially cooked seafood, including shellfish.
  • Be a discerning consumer in choosing cold dishes, including sashimi, sushi and raw oysters, at a buffet.
  • Drink boiled water or bottled drinks by reputable companies, and pasteurised milk or dairy products.
  • Avoid drinks prepared by ice of unknown origin.
  • Avoid peeled fruits and vegetables not thoroughly washed.
  • Patronise only reliable and licensed restaurants.
  • Do not patronise street-side unlicensed food hawkers.
  • Do not try to use salt, vinegar, wine and wasabi to kill bacteria as they are not effective.
  • Handle raw and cooked foods carefully and separate them completely during the cooking process.
  • Use two sets of chopsticks and eating utensils to handle raw and cooked food.

Avoiding mosquito-borne diseases

Mosquito can transmit several lethal diseases such as yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria. Personal protection measures are paramount at all times. Always carry out the following measures to prevent insect bite:

  • Avoid being outdoors during mosquito feeding times (between dusk and dawn for Malaria; daytime for Dengue Fever).

  • Rest in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms.

  • Use aerosol insecticide indoor and use bed nets if sleeping areas are not air-conditioned or screened.

  • Use insect repellents containing DEET on exposed skin and clothings. For details about the use of insect repellents, please refer to Frequently Asked Questions.

  • If travelling in endemic rural areas, carry a portable bed net and apply permethrin on it as well as to clothes.

Animals

  • In areas of endemic Rabies, even domestic dogs and cats should not be petted. Avoid contact with wild animals, especially bats, jackals and monkeys.

  • When bitten by an animal abroad, seek local competent opinion as to the possibility of Rabies in the area. There is a vaccine available for those who have chances to catch the disease.

  • Avoid areas of rodent infestation. Do not touch sick rodents like squirrels, prairie dogs.

Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Beware of the dangers of casual sex while you are abroad.

  • A single exposure is sufficient to transmit the HIV virus (which causes AIDS) or other sexually transmitted diseases if your sexual partner happens to be a carrier.

  • Using condoms correctly provides some protection from getting those sexually transmitted diseases but the golden rule is to refrain from promiscuity and never have sex with strangers.

Accidents

  • Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among travellers.

  • Those hiring vehicles should check carefully the insurance coverage, as well as the state of the tyres, safety belts, lights, brakes, etc.

  • Avoid night driving.

  • Do not drive for long distance on the road without intermittent rest.

  • Be careful in high-risk activities like sky diving, shooting rapids, high altitude trekking, diving etc.

Swimming

  • Avoid bathing in fresh water rivers and lakes in the tropics which may be infested with parasites (schistosomiasis) that can penetrate the skin and cause illness.

  • Do not swim in polluted waters which are linked to eye, ear and intestinal infections.

  • Swimming in sea does not in principle involve any risk of communicable diseases. Beware of jellyfish stings, which may cause severe pain and skin irritation. Also watch out for current.

  • Do not walk barefoot in watery rice paddies, or muddy land.

  • Footwear should be worn to protect against parasites and when exploring coral waters.

Temperature change

  • Exposure to extreme high temperature or low temperature may cause illnesses.

  • In high temperature and humid environment, excessive exercise can lead to loss of body fluid and salt, causing the person to become exhausted. Travellers should prepare enough drinking water for replenishment, in order to avoid heat-stroke.

  • Senior citizens perspire less and are more susceptible to suffer from heat-stroke in hot weather. They should avoid sun exposure at noon, remain in shady and cool place (may wear wide-brimmed hats), and take more rest.

  • Children and overweight people may develop hot rash easily. Fungal skin infections such as tinea tend to get worse in hot and humid environment.

  • Shower every day, put on loose cotton cloths and apply talcum powder will help alleviate the condition.

  • Excessively cold will lead to the frostbite, chilblains, and even hypothermia.
    Preventive measures include :
    • Put on enough winter clothes (avoid excessively tight-fitting clothing).
    • Cover the head, neck and four limbs.
    • Remove wet clothes as soon as possible
    • Do not smoke and drink.
    • Do not touch metals with bare hands
 

Last revision date: 13 December 2013