OTHER than culture and food, another thing that Southeast Asia is abundant with are, unfortunately, communicable/ infectious and tropical diseases.
So, before packing up and fulfilling that persistent wanderlust for the wonders of Southeast Asia, here are some diseases that all travelers must look out for:
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease common in tropical countries, including the Philippines and Malaysia.
Classic manifestations of dengue are sudden, high-grade fever, the sudden appearance of rashes two to five days after onset of fever, muscle pain, bleeding gums, and many more.
As a traveler, the best way to prevent acquiring the disease is by avoiding the bites of infected mosquitoes. This can be done with the use of mosquito repellent sprays and lotions.
Another mosquito-borne disease, however, instead of a viral pathogen, malaria is actually caused by a parasite that has five species, two of which are uncommon.
Just like Dengue, Malaria is acquired when an infected mosquito, specifically a female, takes a blood meal.
Malaria is suspected when there is a sudden onset of shivering by the patient, followed by a spike in temperature and, lastly, profuse sweating—chills, fever, sweat.
Still, the best way to avoid contraction of the disease is through mosquito repellents and wearing clothes that minimize skin exposure
Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases
Gastrointestinal problems, such as traveler’s diarrhea, can be caused by a myriad of pathogens including enteroviruses which can be found in improperly handled and served street food which is very common in Southeast Asia. Needless to say, it is begrudgingly advised that travelers should venture into these uncanny cuisines with caution. Being a picky eater in this situation is actually a good thing. Thorough hand washing before and after a meal is also an important practice.
Sexually transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and their complications are disturbingly common in Southeast Asia. Earlier this year, the New Your Post released an article of the rise of a “super gonorrhea”, a strain of STD acquired by a man who traveled from Southeast Asia, that is apparently resistant to all antibiotic treatments. HIV/AIDS cases have also skyrocketed in a particular Southeast Asian country.
Travelers who practice sex tourism are, of course, of high risk. The blame is commonly pinned on sex workers; however, the bigger liability lies on unhealthy sexual practice, such as having multiple partners and unprotected sex.
This article was not written to scare all the travelers away from Southeast Asia; however, does serve as a reminder. Countless mishaps can happen out there in the big, wide world, most of which you cannot control. So, isn’t it better to take hold of those minute things that you can control?
There’s no such thing as too much security when traveling, especially if it’s in another country or continent. Investing in travel insurance, specifically one that covers Health, is always wise, especially if you’re one who takes long trips. Just always keep in mind, thorough preparation and planning is key to safe travels.
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