Top 10 Medical Tips for Travelling to the 2010 World Cup

The South African Government has assured the millions of fans who will be coming to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup that they will be safe in South Africa where a dedicated force of 41,000 police and security officers will be deployed.

But before travelers go to the World Cup, there are some medical tips they should pay attention to:

1.Visit your doctor
Visit your local doctor one month prior to your intended trip departure date. To discuss your travel plans, accommodation and potential health concerns or risks at your destination country

2. Get your immunizations up to date
Discuss with your doctor or a Travellers Medical and Vaccination Centre (TMVC) about the current immunisation recommendations for South Africa. Currently these include consideration for immunisation against the following diseases Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR Vaccine), Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus (DPT, Bostrix), Polio, Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid may be advisable.

If you intend to travel and a lot of your time will be in rural South Africa involving camping or hiking then you should discuss the option of a rabies immunization with your health care professional.

Malaria is also present in Mpumalanga Province, Limpopo (Northern) Province, and northeastern KwaZulu-Natal as far south as the Tugela River and is present in Kruger National Park; if you are traveling to these areas you may which to consider obtaining anti-malarial medication from your doctor or International Travel Vaccination Centre.

3. Consider a Flu Vaccination
Consider having your seasonal flu & H1N1 immunization prior to your travel. Discuss this with your Healthcare provider. There will be people coming from around the world to South Africa, it may no longer be the flu season in your home country but other travellers could carry the flu virus. Take a small bottle of an alcohol based hand rub or hand hygiene on the go and regularly wash your hands with soap and fresh water. Remember cough etiquette, use a tissue and dispose of it appropriately.

4. Pack insect repellent
Take DEET insect repellent to keep away the flying insects which may carry dengue fever and malaria. Ensure you wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn which is the time most flying insects are out and about.

5. Pack a first aid kit
Pack a first aid kit or Travel Emergency Medical Kit which includes sterile dressings, gloves and with medication for diarrhea (Over the counter) which you can obtain at your local pharmacy.

6. Carry your medications in your hand luggage
Carry enough of your medications for the duration of your trip and another two weeks supply in case of unexpected circumstances. Keep your medication in the original packaging. Be sure to follow security guidelines at all airports. Always take a letter from your local doctor listing the medication you are carrying and that they have been prescribed for your use. Some medications may be prohibited in some countries so it is recommended that you contact the South African consulate or embassy for further information.

Carry your medication in your carry on board bag. Do not place it in your suit case in the hold of the aircraft. Suitcases’ frequently go missing and your medication may not be available at your destination which can cause you a lot of undue stress and concern.

7. If you get sick, see a health care professional

If you develop a fever and diarrhoea you should see a health care professional as soon as possible, and call your World Nomads Emergency Assistance Phone number for advice. Cholera does occur in South Africa, usually in rural areas, however there have been periodical outbreaks in other locations.

8. Drink bottled water
Take care with your food and water; always wash your hands before eating. Drink only bottled or boiled water. Don’t drink from fountains or tap water and avoid ice cubes. Remember it is safe to eat if you can cook it, peel it or boil the food before you eat it.

9. If it's not on it's not on!

Always observe safe sex practices, this means always use a condom and/or dental dam. HIV infection rates are known to be very high in South Africa, not to mention other sexually transmitted diseases. You don’t want to bring home an unwanted surprise disease.

10. Take out travel insurance
Don’t forget to take out Travel insurance before you go as you never know when you may need it and medical costs overseas can be expensive. If you feel unwell contact your travel insurance medical assistance company as soon as possible. Make sure you keep a copy of your policy on you at all times. World Nomads Travel Insurance medical assistance companies have a toll free number and can also receive collect call. Remember they are open 24-hours a day. They can provide you with emergency information and help in obtaining emergency medical assistance.

Important Phone Numbers for South Africa
Contact details for emergencies:
Emergency telephone numbers are for exactly that - emergencies - so don't clog up these vital lines with general or non-emergency calls.

10111 - Nationwide Emergency Response

* Dial the telephone number 10111 from anywhere in South Africa.
* A call centre operator will answer the incoming call, take all necessary particulars and assign the complaint to a Flying Squad patrol vehicle, or the local police station, to attend the incident.

011 37 55 911 - City of Johannesburg Emergency Connect

* 24-hour emergency services relating to all-life threatening situations, including ambulances, fire engines and metro police.
* Appropriately qualified

Government numbers:
086001-0111 - Report a crime
080011-2040 - Report unfair conduct by a government official
080060-0933 - Report corruption in or out of government
(012) 320-0431 - Report unfair conduct by police
080001-2322 - HIV/AIDS support
0800 002587 (toll free) - Joburg Anti-Corruption Unit

Press Release: Courtesy of World Nomads

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