Health issues and the quality of medical facilities vary depending on where and how you travel in the region. The major cities are now well developed, but travel to rural areas can expose you to a variety of health risks and inadequate medical care. Travellers tend to worry about contracting infectious diseases when in the tropics, but infections rarely cause serious illness or death in travellers. Preexisting medical conditions, such as heart disease, and accidental injury (especially traffic accidents) account for most life-threatening situations. Becoming ill in some way, however, is relatively common. Fortunately most common illnesses can either be prevented with some common-sense behaviour or be treated easily with a well-stocked traveller's medical kit.
The following advice is a general guide only and does not replace the advice of a doctor trained in travel medicine.
Recommended items for a personal medical kit:
For diarrhoea consider an oral rehydration solution (eg Gastrolyte), diarrhoea 'stopper' (eg Loperamide) and anti-nausea medication (eg Prochlorperazine) Antibiotics for diarrhoea - Norfloxacin
Antiseptic, eg Betadine Antibacterial cream, eg Muciprocin Steroid cream for allergic/itchy rashes, eg 1% to 2% hydrocortisone Antifungal cream, eg Clotrimazole For skin infections, antibiotics such as Amoxicillin/Clavulanate or Cephalexin Contraceptive method Thrush (vaginal yeast infection) treatment, eg Clotrimazole pessaries or Dif-lucan tablet
Ural, or equivalent, if prone to urinary-tract infections DEET-based insect repellent Mosquito net impregnated with a substance like permethrin : Permethrin to impregnate clothing Iodine tablets (unless you are pregnant or have a thyroid problem) to purify water Basic first-aid items such as scissors, sticking plasters, bandages, gauze, ther-mometer (but not mercury), sterile needles and syringes, safety pins, tweezers.
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