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Trip safety tips: Ebola awareness while travelling

Ebola awarenessEbola awareness
Ebola awarenessEbola awareness


Trip safety tips: Ebola awareness while travelling

Travelling can be an exciting adventure for those who decide to do it but it does come with its own set of risks. These risks include possible diseases contraction, such as Ebola or cholera. While the MSF Ebola efforts are in full swing in Masisi in DRC, it is important that you stay aware of this disease while travelling Africa and other countries that could be affected by it. Below is some useful information to keep on hand to stay safe and healthy while travelling.


Wash your hands

Ebola is a disease caused by a virus, which causes bleeding internally in almost every organ. It is not transmissible like other viruses like influenza or measles but is transferred by skin to skin contact, which is why washing your hands after coming into contact with an infected animal or person is vital.

Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, using the method prescribed by the WHO: Wet your hands completely using a coin-sized amount of soap. Rub your palms together then rub the back of each hand. Rub both of your hands with your fingers interlocked, then rub the tips and backs of your fingers. Rub your thumbs and the ends of your wrists, then rinse both hands. You can use the same method while using alcohol-based hand sanitiser too, but using soap is more hygienic.


Do not touch bats, chimpanzees, gorillas or monkeys

While it is unlikely that you will get close enough to a gorilla to touch it, there are some petting zoos in some countries where you are able to touch monkeys and chimpanzees. If you are travelling to the DRC or countries such as Sudan, be sure to avoid all zoos with monkeys or chimpanzees in them.

It is also important to avoid touching or feeding wild chimpanzees or monkeys, as they could become aggressive and bite or scratch you. It might seem innocuous but touching these animals can be dangerous to your health. Rather take photographs to remember your trip by. Wild animals can carry any number of diseases which can be debilitating to your health.


Treat injuries as soon as possible

If you find yourself injured while travelling, it is imperative that you treat it immediately or as soon as possible. The Ebola virus can enter the body through open wounds, so be sure to treat any bleeding wounds quickly.

You will need to ensure that you are treated in a sterilised, professional space and that a qualified doctor or nurse treats your wounds. If you are travelling to a hospital with an open wound, be sure to keep it covered as much as possible and keep it clean. Be sure not to wash your wound with untreated water, as this can exacerbate infection, making the chances of contracting Ebola even higher. Rather wash your wound with bottled water and make your way to a hospital.


Know the symptoms

It is important to know the symptoms of Ebola so that you can tell whether or not you are experiencing them. The symptoms of Ebola include the following:

  • Fever
  • A headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Lack of appetite

Some people might experience other symptoms, which include:

  • A Rash
  • Red Eyes
  • Hiccups
  • A cough
  • A sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bleeding inside and outside of the body


Disinfect regularly

An effective way to ward off any possible viral infections is to disinfect regularly, starting with washing your hands and face and moving on to washing all of your clothes that you have been wearing on your trip.

If you are staying in a hotel that has a laundry room or that is close to one, then you can use this opportunity to have your clothes laundered on a daily basis. Ensure that they are tumble dried in order for the heat to further kill off any bacteria. If you do not have easy access to a laundromat then you can wash your clothes by hand in the sink and hang them to dry over chairs or open windows. Be sure to ask your hotel to change your sheets as regularly as possible, depending on how long you are staying for.


Know what to do

If you suspect that someone you are travelling with has contracted Ebola or if you feel any of the symptoms, then you need to isolate them or yourself and call for help immediately. Ensure that you do not come into contact with their skin, saliva or blood and ensure that they are hydrated and vice versa if you believe you may have it. It is vital that you go to a hospital as soon as possible and alert them to your symptoms and if you have been travelling in or around any countries which have recently had an Ebola outbreak.

Ebola awareness