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Travel Diseases, Tropical

The most common tropical diseases are conditions such as malaria, the typhoid fever, the yellow fever, cholera, dysentery and hepatitis-these diseases can also cause deaths if left untreated for any length of time. Typically tropical diseases can be contracted during travels through a country-most of the tropical illness will not necessarily start producing the symptoms during the period of the trip itself, they can begin to produce symptoms in the infected individual days, weeks or even after many months have passed following the trip. The type of disease contracted will play a large role in determining what kind of physical symptoms will affect the person, most physical symptoms will include a fever-which may increase the body temperature to a very high level or may cause mild temperature rise. Physical disorders such as digestive problems are also common, particularly if the disease contracted is diarrhea. These digestive disorders will not disappear within a short time and the traveler is likely to suffer from a long bout of the condition even at home.

The multiplication of germs and parasites is ideal in tropical climates due to the hot and humid environment which is the norm in most tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Insect vectors, namely the bite of the mosquitoes transmits the diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever-these three insect borne parasitic disease are very serious illnesses, often resulting in the death of the individual who is unfortunate enough to contract the disease. The most common infectious disease around the world is still the protozoan disease-malaria, transmitted by mosquitoes.

The sanitation levels in the majority of tropical countries are not adequate and poor-this increases the chance of disease and infections. Contaminated water is a very frequent agent for the spread of many communicable illnesses in such poor sanitary conditions. The main sources of transmission of disease is also drinking unclean tap water or consuming ice and eating raw foods which are not washed properly or washed using unpurified tap water-contaminated drinking water sources are a major health problem in all developing countries. Illnesses and infectious disease are also contracted when individuals swim in contaminated waters or walk barefoot on lawns and lands which are infested with protozoan parasites-this form of infection is typical since several types of tropical parasites can penetrate the skin, gaining entry into the person for a parasitic mode of existence. Sexual intercourse is also responsible for the spread of some tropical illnesses and bodily contact especially in poor hygienic conditions is also responsible for the transmission of diseases.

Compared to the indigenous inhabitants of the country, the foreign traveler is less adapted to the diseases and his or her immune system may not effectively fend off the germs and parasites in the contaminated water and food. The body is subjected to the attack of many new germs and parasites when in a new environment, so even when airplanes allow us to travel physically to a completely different environment within hours-contact with new varieties of germs and diseases is not always easy on the body. At the same time, the body is attuning itself to new germs, it must also fight off the effects of jet lag, the biological clock must struggle with the change in time, the body must adapt to different food, and to the weather and climate-all of these can severely strain the body and bring down the immune system temporarily.

While not without their particular side effects, the use of vaccines can, in some cases, afford some protection to the new traveler-vaccination is usually essential to clear the immigration channels of many countries. Some disease may not have vaccines-these include disease like malaria and a few other communicable illnesses.

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Supplements and herbs

When used as a supplemental herbal remedy on a daily basis, the seed extract of the grapefruit can act as a preventive measure against any intestinal infection-it can also be used to directly combat the infection arising from infectious germs. The tablet form or the liquid form of the seed extract of the grapefruit seed extract is available at many stores and both can be used to bring about results in an affected individual. Because of the unfavorable scent present in the vitamin B1, supplements of this compound will help prevent mosquito bites-this supplement can thus be used to ward off bites from the mosquitoes. The intestinal balance is also easily disrupted during a period of travel, as new foods and eating habits change-the body must adjust to these factors while warding off possible avenues of infection. A good supplement is also the friendly bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus in tablet or liquid form, this bacterial remedy maintains a healthy balance of the beneficial intestinal bacteria and wards off all possible agents of infection.

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Prepare for all travel abroad by consuming relevant herbal medicinal remedies several days in advance, this course of medication must also be continues during the trip as well. The following herbs and herbal remedies can be used in this regard.

To prevent vomiting during the trip, take along herbal teas made from herbs such as the peppermint, the chamomile and the fennel-drink these teas whenever necessary. Toxins in the stomach which cause illnesses can be cleaned up using the Swedish bitters-this herbs absorb toxins which have accumulated in the stomach during a trip. Dosage of this remedy can be a single tsp. of the herbal remedy with water before and following meals every day. When used on a daily basis, the intestinal infections arising during a trip can be beaten back by taking garlic or herbal remedies made using the garlic. The raw cloves of the garlic may not be desirable because of the odor and taking it in capsule form may be preferable-it is equally effective. Dosage of this herb can be three capsules taken thrice every day. Topical remedies can also be used to ward off biting insects and an application of twenty drops of the tea tree oil in a tbsp. of olive oil to the exposed areas of the body will ward off most biting or sucking insects. This application of topical remedy on the skin can be repeated as and when necessary. Ticks and leeches are also easily removed using the tea tree oil on exposed areas of the body. The parasite can be removed when it loses its grip on the skin, you can apply more oil to disinfect and soothe the wound after the leech or tick. The medicinal plant-black walnut can be used to treat malarial parasites within the body.

Additional things you may do

Avoid walking barefoot on bare ground, with the exception of sandy beaches washed by the ocean tide-this will prevent infection from parasites via the exposed feet. Whenever traveling to malaria affected countries, take along a mosquito net that can be hung over the bed from the ceiling, this net will fit loosely over the bed and leaves plenty of breathing space-it also makes it hard for mosquitoes to get at you when you are sleeping. While sleeping under a mosquito net, avoid sleeping near the sides of the netting, where the mosquitoes could get at your skin-this will negate all the positive aspects of the net. As opposed to floral designs and dark or bring colored clothing, cloth yourself in light colored clothing, the preferred colors are white or pastel-cover all areas of the body and leave no area exposed. At all times, in mosquito dense areas, you must wear socks to protect your feet from bites. Mosquitoes are also attracted to all kinds of perfumed sprays and substances, this includes hairsprays and different soaps which have a smell sweet or flowery smell-avoid the use of these kinds of personal items. The best personal toilet items are the essential oils made from citronella-these are the most effective toiletry items in mosquito affected areas.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin B1, 10 mg.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus, three capsules or one tsp.
  • Grapefruit seed extract, three capsules thrice a day.

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