Diseases that occur when microorganisms, which can be counted as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and rickettsiae, enter the human body in different ways are called infectious diseases (1).
The body protects itself against these infections that coexist with the immune system and no infection occurs. However, weakening or non-fulfillment of defense mechanisms may lead to the onset of infection. Among these defense mechanisms, there are conditions such as climate, inadequacy of physical barriers, nutritional disorders, inadequate hygiene conditions, and immune system deficiencies. These infections can choose many ways to be transmitted. These paths may include air, contact, intermediate, or vector paths. Let’s take a look at the infections that can be encountered while traveling and the ways of protection.
Pre-trip risk assessment
It is very important to make a risk assessment before traveling. In this regard, the things to know are as follows:
- Knowing the special activities to be done (Contact with animals, contact with local people, etc.)
- Length of stay
- Purpose and mode of travel
- Seasonal diseases, epidemic situation and common infections in the region
- Destination country and region
- Travel start date
In addition, the conditions to be considered in the medical history are as follows:
- pregnancy status
- Personal immunization history
- Previous travel place and time
- Drugs used
- allergic condition
- Adequate information about underlying diseases
What are the ways to protect against infections that can be encountered during travel?
We can list the ways of protection against infections that can be encountered during travel as follows:
Travel Precautions: If you are going to travel abroad, in order to protect yourself from communicable diseases in the country of destination, it is very important to apply to travel health centers at least 15 days in advance to get the necessary vaccinations, start preventive medicines, and receive consultancy services, which should be done individually (1).
Mask Usage: It is of great importance to use masks against infectious diseases such as colds, diphtheria and flu. The mask prevents the spread of infection. There are many types of these masks. Special masks that provide more comfortable breathing, T masks that kill germs and normal protective masks are varieties of these masks.
Hygiene: A simple application with just soap and water is sufficient for this job. Following the cleaning rules keeps the skin slippery and moist, and protects it from skin cracks. This prevents the passage of microbes through the skin. (1) Not paying enough attention to one’s hygiene causes the skin to be neglected, cracked, and micro-organisms to reside and multiply. In addition, attention should be paid to open food and non-chlorinated tap water.
Environmental Factors: The environments in the place of travel are of great importance. That’s why you should stay away from unsanitary, unhealthy and dirty environments.
Nutrition: Our body is protected against bacteria by our immune system. Therefore, it is very important that we make the necessary investment in our immune system. For example, with protein consumption, antibodies are produced. Insufficient protein intake means insufficient fight against spreading microorganisms. Accordingly, adequate, varied and balanced nutrition should be given.
Medication: It is very important to use medication consciously, under control and with the approval of a doctor, before diseases occur. For example, the use of antibiotics is recommended for people who are likely to encounter dangerous infections. But antibiotics should never be used arbitrarily. In this regard, doctoral approval is very important. Incorrect use of antibiotics can lead to the development of infections that are difficult to treat.
Comprehensive Immunization: It is of great importance to vaccinate those who travel to or immigrate from regions with infectious diseases, and to carry out full and regular childhood and adult vaccinations (1).