Exotic holidays may bring unpronounceable surprises

Many people dream of going somewhere far away from their native land for holidays. Some may often book extreme tours to godforsaken tropical countries to explore the jungle and enjoy solace and isolation from civilization. This is a very exciting experience indeed, but it may lead to absolutely non-exciting consequences healthwise.

There is a whole section in modern medicine called tropical medicine. Many diseases originating from tropical regions differ a lot from the diseases common in America or Europe. Some of those illnesses may appear six months after the trip ends, so it may not even occur to people to find a connection between their ailment and their holiday.

A trip to South Africa, America or Asia may result with bilharzia disease also known as snail fever. This is a parasite, a worm, that inhabits regional rivers. The larva of the worm penetrates underneath the skin on the legs or other parts of the body. The place of the penetration becomes itchy, but many simply take it for a mosquito bite. The symptoms develop a month or two later, when a tourist returns home. The symptoms are identical to fever: high temperature that lasts for two weeks, strong cough, rash on the skin, the liver and the spleen get swollen, the level of leukocytes in blood increases. The disease can be cured with specific medicines.

The countries of North Africa, Israel, Egypt, Corsica, India and Indonesia can give a tourist the disease known as West Nile fever. This is an insect-borne disease of viral nature that has not been studied thoroughly yet. Symptoms appear in three or six days after infection. Patients complain of strong headaches and aching muscles. There is no appetite, a person suffers from recurring vomiting and pains in the chest. Some may even develop meningitis, which can be extremely dangerous.

Malaria is another lethal danger of tropical countries. It is a mosquito-borne disease, but it can be cured easily today.

The list may continue with tsetse-fly disease, leishmaniasis, TB, Chagas disease, filariasis, onchocercosis, yellow fever, Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, St. Hubert's disease, tick-borne encephalitis, meningococcal disease.

In addition to diseases, tropical holidays can result in other unpleasant surprises. The most common one of them is injuries and wounds. Open wounds in sweltering heat and anti-sanitary conditions is a perfect environment for billions of microbes. An open wound received in a tropical country may lead to blood poisoning. It can be impossible to find antiseptic bondage materials and antibiotics in the jungle. The level of medical development in Asia and Africa leaves much to be desired.

Burns and skin irritations is another problem. The hotter the climate, the more the skin suffers from ultraviolet radiation. When going to a tropical country, never forget to buy strongest sun creams available.

Local food and water can also be dangerous. Even high-quality food eaten in an exotic state may result in an intestinal infection. Local residents may eat all of that and drink poor quality water, but they have been training their immune system with that for many years. However, an exotic dish can become lethal to a stranger.

Alyona Paretskaya

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov