Travelers are more likely to be harmed through accidental injury or violence than by infectious disease. See our Accident Prevention and Personal Safety pages for information on how to reduce risks.
Food and Water Precautions
- Travelers may be exposed to the organisms that can cause travelers’ diarrhea. These organisms are all spread by human/animal fecal contamination of food, and water or hand to mouth contact after touching contaminated surfaces.
- The risk of travelers’ diarrhea can be reduced by practicing good food, water and hand hygiene.
- See our Food and Water Precautions page for information on how to reduce risks.
Respiratory tract infections, including flu, are common during travel and often associated with crowded areas such as busy hotels, cruise ships and tour groups.
You can reduce your risk of acquiring and spreading respiratory infections by practising good respiratory hygiene, such as:
- avoiding direct hand contact with your eyes, nose and mouth
- maintaining good hand hygiene;
- washing hands with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser, after coughing or sneezing, after going to the toilet, and prior to eating and drinking
- wherever possible avoid direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness and avoid using their personal items such as their mobile phone
- when coughing or sneezing cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissues and disposing of them in nearest waste bin after use
Insect Bite Avoidance
Insects and ticks can transmit infectious diseases between humans or from animals to humans. When feeding on human blood, vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies, fleas, blackflies, tsetse flies and reduviid bugs can transmit dangerous disease causing parasites, viruses and bacteria.
- Insect and tick bite avoidance should always be considered as the first line of defence against these vector-borne diseases.
- See our Insect Bite Avoidance page for information on how to reduce risks.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur as a result of unprotected sexual intercourse.
- Exercise caution with alcohol and recreational drugs: these can impair judgement and can increase the chance of unprotected sex.
- Condoms should be used for all forms of sexual activity with new/casual partners, they provide good protection against most STIs, including HIV and Hepatitis B/C if used correctly.
- Sex during travel is often unplanned, so take UK kite-marked condoms on your trip.
- See our Sexual Health Risks page for information on how to reduce risks.
Blood Borne Virus Infections
- Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV are the 3 main blood borne viruses. They are transmitted through exposure of broken skin, mucous membranes and blood to infected blood and body fluids, for example during treatment with reused medical/dental/surgical equipment, body piercings and tattoos performed with non-sterile equipment or sharing of drug injecting equipment. They are also transmitted sexually.
- See our Blood Borne Virus Infections page for information on how to reduce risks.
- Sun exposure below the level that leads to sunburn can be beneficial, helping our bodies create vitamin D and promoting feelings of general well being. However, sun exposure can lead to skin cancers, this is usually when exposure is long term, or after short periods of intense exposure and burning.
- The safest way to enjoy the sun and protect skin from sunburn is to use a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen.
- See our Sun Exposure page for information on how to reduce risks.