The most common travel illnesses and remedies

Category: Travel Tips
Date Posted: 2016-03-30

The most common travel illnesses and remedies


Despite the claims of the media that Ebola can kill you at the beach or your dream vacation in the Bahamas (how absurd is that?) There is virtually no chance of you contracting it simply because you’re out sun enjoying your dear vacation.

What can mess up your vacation is this: the tiny microbes crawling from your arm rest to the in-flight magazine, which you will bring to the hotel room and put next to your bed.  Add this to the insects, vegetables/fruits, and water that you will come in contact with once you are out and about the area.

Before hurrying to the pharmacy and the hoarding unnecessary supply of hand sanitizer and surgical masks, you need to know what you’re really up against. Here’s a quick roundup of the most popular infection abroad as well as tips to combat and avoid them.


Traveler’s Diarrhea. This infamous travel, illness works its explosive magic on an estimated 10 million people every year. That margarita on the rocks doesn’t seem like a good idea after all, huh?

Common Places: Most developing countries, including Latin America, Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Avoiding it: The primary culprit is contaminated food and water, so avoid them as much as possible. While it’s not life-threatening, it will effectively disrupt your vacation.

Malaria. Think those mosquito nets are enough? Those flimsy barrier is all that stands between you and the pesky mosquitoes that bring this miserable disease. Malaria is generally spread by nighttime female mosquitoes that carry the bacteria.

Common Places: Most cases are in the Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, and Asia - or in tropical areas.

Avoiding it: Look at the CDC Traveler’s Health website for countries and destination-specific area guidelines. Bring mosquito bed nets and DEET-containing repellant as well as a doctor prescribed anti-malaria tablet.

Influenza. Everyone hates flu. EVERYONE. Not to be confused with the common cold, there are a couple of variations of this respiratory disease, so you can be hit multiple times a year especially when you travel a lot.

Common places: Influenza can be contracted anywhere. Flu seasons in the Northern Hemisphere typically run from October to May. The Southern Hemisphere runs from April to September. Also, tropical areas have no seasonal pattern, but it peaks during the rainy season. There’s your clue.

Avoiding it:  Get a seasonal flu shot. Bring a mask as well as some medicine such as aspirin and sore throat remedies when you do contract it (hopefully not). If you have symptoms, do your travel comrades a solid and just stay at home.


STDs and HIV. A fling in Rio might sound like a good idea, but the resulting burning pee sensation and rash certainly aren’t. An estimated 20 percent of travelers admit to having experimented with random partners in a foreign country; herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV, to name a few are diseases you’ll likely provoking.

Common places: Virtually anywhere in the world (again) where you can fornicate.

Avoiding it: This one’s easy. Just. Don’t. Have. Sex. And since you’re reading this, consider attending health class.