Heading to foreign countries can pose a threat to your health. Whether it be through airborne illnesses or dangerous circumstances, you always need to stay vigilant for different kinds of risks to your safety – here are six of the most common problems, and how to avoid them.

Malaria

It’s perhaps one of the most commonly known illnesses in the world, which means it’s the one you need to be vigilant for. Malaria is infamously spread by mosquitoes, through their bite. Symptoms can appear as soon as 10 days after, with chills, a high fever, nausea and, in some extreme cases, a coma.

There still isn’t a vaccination against malaria that can prevent you from contracting it, but there are many precautions you can take. Take the tablets, use repellent, stay vigilant and sleep behind a net at night. If you do find a bite, head to the doctor as soon as possible.

Dengue fever

It’s another disease that is spread by mosquitoes, and is just as nasty – and common. As many as 390 million dengue fever infections occur every year according to WebMD, and the symptoms aren’t pretty. Those infected usually experience extreme muscle pain and severe headaches – among some other nasty conditions.

Again, there is no vaccination to prevent you from contracting dengue fever – but, if you do, it’s not all bad. Often people only experience very mild symptoms if any at all, which last for no longer than a week. Just take the same precautions as you would for malaria and you’ll be fine.

Sunburn/sun poisoning

Although you may not think of it as a health risk, sunburn can lead to some particularly nasty consequences. Not only is your skin red, sore and peeling – making for some uncomfortable situations – it can become sun poisoning, bringing with it a fever, nausea and severe dehydration.

Whether you’re wearing clothes, staying inside or trying to avoid the sun, it’s wise to lather yourself up with a sufficient amount of sunblock in order to prevent any unfortunate (and rather silly) illnesses that can hamper your holiday. Try to avoid direct sunlight in the hottest hours of the day, too.

Road accidents

Be careful when hopping on a motorbike to navigate the frantic streets of Vietnam or Thailand – the latter has gained the unfortunate statistic of being the second most dangerous place to drive in the world. It’s not easy to drive alongside the locals and, when exposed to the elements on a bike, the risk is even greater.

And the potential of grave injury isn’t the only reason you’ll want to avoid an accident. Landing in hospital in Vietnam after a motorbike crash will set you back over $5,000. Have your wits about you and only get on one if you’re definitely confident enough.

Dangerous activities

In a similar vein to riding on motorbikes, you’ll need to be very careful when partaking in any potentially dangerous activities. Anything from rock climbing to bungee jumping can pose a threat to your safety if not undertaken correctly, so ensure your own safety by only doing these activities with registered guides.

White water rafting is one of the most popular activities with travelers, many clamoring to sail down a particularly turbulent stretch of river. It is, however, one of the most dangerous activities to take part in. Ensure you have a life jacket, and that the site is certified as safe enough to raft within.

Rabies

No, it’s not a fictional disease. Rabies is very much a real thing – but thankfully it can be vaccinated against. Contracted after a bite or scratch from an infected animal, usually a dog, the disease initially brings a headache and high fever, before potentially evolving into hallucinations, muscle spasms and frothing at the mouth.

If you’ve been vaccinated you won’t have much to worry about when travelling to affected areas – mostly in Asia and Africa. If you’re exposed to the disease without a vaccination, make sure to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent it evolving into a nastier illness.

*This is a collaborative post

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