Unwanted Passengers – Common Travel Bugs

Passport: check. Health insurance: check. Packed bags: check. Everything is ready to embark on that business trip to start the job of your dreams or for much-deserved vacation abroad. But one can never be too careful. Among all the unforeseen events that insist on happening on every trip, it is necessary to acknowledge those journey companions no one has invited, and who decide to show up when least expected: the so-called travel diseases. Here are the most common travel bugs.

Dysentery – It is also known as “Montezuma’s revenge” and other names as horrible as its symptoms. But believe one thing: it is nothing personal. The passenger is dehydrated from the second he steps into the plane, has to deal with different air quality and humidity and face foods which would hardly be part of his everyday diet. “Foreign” bacteria, for which the body still doesn’t have natural defences, also decide to attack. What to do? Watch what you eat and drink, and hydrate at all times.

Dengue fever – It is common in South America, Africa and the South Pacific. When bit by the Aëdes aegypti mosquito, the individual has fever, strong headaches, fatigue and nausea. In this case, the best treatment is to keep on resting and drinks lots of water. Another important tip is not taking any acetylsalicylic acid-based medication.

Malaria – Also transmitted by a mosquito (Anopheles), this disease is almost a stigma in developing countries in Africa, South America and Asia. The main symptoms are fever, chills, nausea, headaches, fatigue and even haemorrhage. Treatment is done with specific medication and a substance called quinine.

Hepatitis A – This is one of the most common diseases contracted through poorly-cooked food or contaminated water, lack of hygiene and unsafe sex. In this case, prevention is the best option: take the vaccine before the trip and make sure the food and drink you consume are clean.

Yellow fever – One more disease transmitted by a mosquito in South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Its symptoms are also similar to those presented when dengue fever or malaria strike: fever, fatigue, nausea and haemorrhage, plus a yellowish hue in the skin. The best treatment is to rest and hydrate at all times.


Typhoid – This disease also strikes in developing countries, and it is transmitted through contaminated water and food. The individual suffers from fever, discomfort, loss of appetite and a dry cough. Other symptoms are the swelling of the spleen and a rash all over the body. Treatment is done through antibiotics, lots of water and rest.

In order to avoid these diseases – which when not treated may lead to more serious conditions – it is necessary to watch everything you eat and drink during your trip, and also take a traveller’s health kit with the medications you normally take. Nonetheless, when it comes to health, prevention is the best defence.

Specialists in international health insurance for both companies and individuals, Tempus will help you find the best health insurance option. You will be able to take all the necessary vaccines before the trip and rely on the best healthcare wherever you are.


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