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TIP: Recommended Health and Vaccine Precautions

My Magazine 2023/11
2 min
Planning a holiday is always exciting, but in the case of certain countries, a few precautionary steps need to be taken to ensure that your holiday goes smoothly. One of such countries is The Gambia. Filled with rich cultural experiences and breathtaking landscapes, it is also a country where malaria is quite common. For this purpose, it is crucial to understand The Gambia's health and vaccination requirements to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Before travelling to The Gambia, you should visit your healthcare provider at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to discuss any specific health concerns. If you are travelling with children or are pregnant, you or your children may require certain vaccinations. Before travelling, ensure you are up-to-date on your country's routine vaccines and boosters, such as polio, tetanus, diphtheria and MMR.

Certain vaccinations are required to protect travellers from common diseases in The Gambia. The primary vaccine recommended for all visitors is the yellow fever vaccine. Other recommended immunizations include Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus, and polio. These preventable diseases can be contracted through contaminated food, water, or contact with infected individuals.

Malaria is an ongoing threat in Gambia, particularly during the rainy season. It is essential to take precautionary measures to prevent contracting this mosquito-borne disease. Consult your healthcare provider regarding appropriate anti-malarial medications based on your medical history and the duration of your stay. In addition, wear long sleeves, use mosquito repellents, and sleep under mosquito nets, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for travel to all foreign and domestic regions.

The Gambia is in the 'meningitis belt', a section of Africa known for meningitis transmission. Meningitis vaccination is recommended for individuals travelling from December to June.

Apart from vaccinations and malaria prevention, drinking bottled water, consuming well-cooked food, and avoiding street food stalls are advisable to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal issues. Applying sunscreen, wearing hats, and using insect repellents will help protect you from sunburn and insect bites.

Remember to take along some essential items such as aspirin or paracetamol, antihistamine for insect bites and stings, sunscreen to protect against sunburn, anti-diarrhoeal drugs, insect repellent, etc. Many of these items are available in The Gambia but may differ from the specific brand you're used to.

If during your stay or after your return home you develop a flu-like illness or any symptoms such as fever, nausea, stomach pain, shivering, sweating, headache, discolouration of urine, jaundice or any health problems, then you should immediately go and see your doctor. Some disease symptoms can occur within a few days after infection, while others show up after several weeks or longer.

Good health and vaccinations are fundamental when travelling to The Gambia. By ensuring you have followed all the necessary guidelines, you can confidently embark on your journey, knowing you have taken the necessary precautions to protect your health. Remember, proper planning allows you to fully enjoy The Gambia's rich culture and stunning landscapes and create memories that last a lifetime.

Bon voyage!


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