The coronavirus pandemic brought all travel plans to a halt, however, with vaccination rollouts and easing of restrictions, international travel is taking off again.
If you are planning to go abroad, you should keep in mind that there are other illnesses and health risks that can also put your holiday in jeopardy – let alone your life.
Sunburn, diarrhea and mosquito bites are way more common than the coronavirus, and travelers would do well in preparing for them, says German doctor Tomas Jelinek, who specializes in tropical diseases.
Jelinek's advice: Always bring good sunscreen, mosquito repellent and a remedy against traveler's diarrhea anytime you're setting off.
Holidaymakers going to the Mediterranean should make sure to get a vaccination against hepatitis A, which causes liver inflammation. According to Jelinek, the risk of contracting the virus in southern Italy is much higher than in northern Europe, for example.
A vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) can also make sense for many destinations. In southern Germany, for example, cases of TBE have recently surged to unprecedented levels, Jelinek says.
Mosquitoes are common transmitters of diseases.
"Depending on the country, this can be more or less relevant," Jelinek explains. While this is a real issue in regions affected by outbreaks of dengue, for example, it's not really a problem in the Mediterranean, the medical expert says.
It's often said that repellents sold at the destination itself are more effective against local mosquitoes.
This is a myth, says Jelinek.
In lower-income countries in particular, there is no market for effective mosquito repellents, the expert says, while "very effective mosquito repellents" are readily available in higher-income nations.
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