For many people, an African Safari to Kenya sounds like a dream come true. Some people bring home more than just souvenirs. They bring home illnesses like malaria, typhoid fever or yellow fever. The good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure that the only thing you bring home are safari souvenirs like plenty of rolls of film to be developed.
Safari Health Pre-Planning
The most important thing you can do in all of your safari pre-planning is visit your doctor about two months before you leave. Your primary care doctor will help you determine what health steps must be taken so that you will be protected as much as possible from tropical diseases and other foreign maladies.
Your primary care doctor can give bring you up to date on the typical immunizations like hepatitis, influenza, measles, mumps, diphtheria and the other typically vaccinations that are common in the United States. However, to protect yourself from tropical disease, it is best that you visit with a doctor whose specialty is tropical or travel medicine.
A doctor who specializes in travel medicine will be able to tell you what additional vaccinations and other drug treatments you will need to protect yourself against many of the tropical diseases that are prevalent in Kenya. For instance, malaria is a major concern so you need to start taking anti-malarial drugs so they have time to take effect.
Yellow fever is also common in African countries like Kenya and if you plan a safari that means you will be in rural areas where this disease could be prevalent. Therefore, you will also need a yellow fever vaccination which must be receive no later than ten days before you leave for your trip. Be sure to bring certified paperwork showing proof of all of your vaccinations.
There are other vaccinations that your doctor will strongly suggest to you. Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, meningitis and polio shots are smart to get as these conditions all occur in Kenya as well as other African nations.
Important Information about Anti-Malarial Drugs
Your doctor will likely prescribe one of these anti-malarial drugs for your trip to Kenya: doxycycline, mefloquine, proguanil, primaquine or atovaquone. If the doctor prescribes choloroquine, question them on it as it is not an effective malaria preventive for the Kenya, Africa region.
Be sure that you buy your anti-malarial drugs in the United States before you leave as prescribed by your doctor. Purchases of drugs for malaria overseas may not be as effective and in fact, could be counterfeit or be contaminated. Other malaria drugs used overseas have been known to show serious side effects and damage internal organs.
Of course, all the preparation in the world like anti-malarial drugs and vaccinations should be backed up by preventative measures like using mosquito netting for covering your sleep areas, using insect repellent with DEET and wearing long-sleeved clothing to cut down on exposed skin areas. Also, don’t drink the water unless it has been filtered and treated to kill any parasites that cause tropical diseases. Being cognizant of all the possible dangers to your health is paramount to you bringing home nothing but fond memories and great stories to tell.