Before you travel to any part of the world, you must pack all of the necessary items, including clothing, electronics, and documents. Maybe you put in some medication to help you get rid of a headache or a cold. You don’t really require a lot of medication, do you? Traveling is about having fun, not taking pills. However, while packing medication may sound tedious, it is a necessary precaution. It is far better to keep some remedies on hand in case you become ill. With that said, here are some medications to help ensure safe travels in African countries like South Africa, Kenya, or any other country . (Once you’ve mastered that, read this guide to budgeting and planning your next trip.)
8 Medication to pack while travelling in Africa
Malaria is a potentially fatal blood disease caused by a parasite that Anopheles mosquitos transmit to humans. Every year, the disease claims the lives of over 655, 000 people worldwide. 90% of malaria fatalities occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, where a child dies from the disease every minute. Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and north-eastern KwaZulu Natal are areas in South Africa with a high malaria risk.
With these statistics in mind, you might want to bring antimalarials with you when travelling across the continent. Antimalarials are medications that are prescribed to treat or prevent malaria from entering the bloodstream.
Vibramycin-D (Doxycycline), Lariam (mefloquine), and Aralen are the most commonly used antimalarials ( chloroquine). You may be required to start taking the medication two weeks before your trip to a malaria-infested area.
Who knows what aches and pains you’ll experience while travelling? Pain, from an old knee injury to a splitting headache, is one of the simplest ways to put a stop to fun. To avoid such incidents, keep some aspirin, paracetamol, or ibuprofen on hand at all times.
Anti-motion sickness medication
Motion sickness (kinetosis) is caused by repeated movement to the inner ear, which controls equilibrium and balance. The most common types of motion sickness are car sickness, sea sickness, and air sickness.
When travelling in Africa, it is critical to bring motion sickness medication with you. Distances in Africa are formidable, and you must frequently ride for long hours to get from point A to point B. The roads are rough and bumpy, the airline medical assistance is inadequate, and getting sick on a boat off the coast of Mozambique is the last thing you need.
Over-the-counter motion sickness medications include codeine (Promethazine), marezine (Cyclizine), and Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate). Pregnant women should seek medical advice before taking motion sickness medication.
Anti-allergy medications (antihistamines)
You’re in Tanzania, and you’re eating a plate of ‘karanga’ (peanuts in Swahili). This immediately activates your severe peanut allergy. You’re now spending your vacation swollen and itchy, or seriously ill. However, if you take antihistamines (allergy medications), you may be able to enjoy your vacation. If you want to fully experience Africa, you must be prepared for any allergic reaction. Over-the-counter antihistamines include Allegra, Allegra Zyrtec, and Claritin. Ginger and vinegar can also aid in the treatment of mild allergic reactions.
When travelling anywhere in the world, antiseptics such as Betadine, Dettol, or Savlon are essential. Traveling without antiseptic in Africa, on the other hand, could pose a serious health risk. With overcrowding, poor hygiene, and bacteria in the air, an unclean wound or cut is the last thing you need. Because there aren’t enough healthcare facilities on the continent, it’s much better to be able to help yourself if you end up waiting for help.
Rehydration salts orally
The African continent has seen an increase in cholera and diarrhoea due to poor sanitation, a lack of clean water, and poor hygiene. In 2011, 58 countries from all continents reported 589 854 cases of cholera to the World Health Organization, with Africa reporting 32% of them. Last year, a cholera outbreak killed 62 people in Sierra Leone in less than a month.
Diarrhoea, on the other hand, is responsible for 2.2 million deaths worldwide, with Africa accounting for 7.78% of them. Dehydration kills the majority of people who die from these conditions. (For more information, go to the World Health Organization’s website.)
According to statistics, it is highly recommended to bring oral rehydration salts. These rehydration salts aid in the replacement of electrolytes, sodium, glucose, and potassium lost during cholera or diarrhoea. Oral rehydration salts sachets or tablets are available without a prescription or over the counter. (Learn how to avoid traveler’s diarrhoea here.)
While travelling through Africa, you may want to try new foods or simply eat on the go. Some of the foods may cause constipation or stomach irritation. Laxatives can help with this by cleansing your system. Yes, it’s not glamorous, but it’s certainly preferable to needing them and not having anything, right? Most laxatives, whether in liquid, capsules, or pills, are available over the counter.
Sleeping problems in Africa are caused by tsetse flies, mosquitos, and high temperatures. Mild sedatives should be packed to help ensure uninterrupted sleeping patterns. Although sedatives such as Melatonin are available without a prescription, it is important to consult a doctor before using them. (Learn how to avoid jet lag here.)