During the time volunteers are working abroad, they could fall sick. There are various diseases that can affect many of the volunteers.
The diseases that affect them depend on the place, season and climate, unhygienic places, environment, and susceptibility to them. Fortunately most of the diseases can be prevented through vaccinations and other measures. Diseases which can be vaccinated against are Malaria, Yellow fever, typhoid and Hepatitis A and B can be vaccinated against.
In some cases the volunteers will be working in areas where they will not have access to medication to cure the diseases. Or they could have medicines which could have adverse side effects. Although some diseases are preventable there are others which aren’t. As a result, the volunteer should carry some medicinal pills before you leave for your volunteer abroad trip.
Here are things volunteers should have with them while they are abroad:
Not many volunteers plan on carrying condoms and other contraceptives. After staying in the host country for a period of time, the volunteers could involve in a romantic relationship with either one of the local people or a fellow volunteer. Some of the volunteers get involved in sexual relations. By doing so, they are exposing themselves to a host of diseases for example HIV/AIDS, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and others. The volunteers should be prepared and always have condoms in hand so as to avoid these diseases. Condoms are not 100% safe or effective but they reduce the risk of infection by 70%. Condoms prevent sexually diseases and pregnancies. Condoms are normally available in most parts of the world. They are accessible from local hospitals and can be found in most retail centres. Although there are certain communities in parts of the world who are conservative and in such places it will not be easy to get condoms.
Most of the diseases abroad and at home are caused by insects. The insects carry parasites or pathogens that cause the diseases. The insects that are more likely to give the volunteers problems are ticks, mosquitoes, certain types of flies, ticks, mites, fleas, lice, bedbugs and ants. These insects aide in the transmission of malaria, Nile virus, yellow fever, river blindness, sleeping sickness and Lyme disease. While doing the volunteer abroad work, the volunteers could be exposed to these pests. There are various insect repellents that are available for example Repel, Muskol, Cutter Advanced, and Cutter Tick Defense. These repellents are available as liquids, wipes, sprays and lotions. Using these repellents has some side effects like skin irritation. Many of the insect repellents that are sold are not registered or regulated and caution should be taken when choosing which one to use. Also the volunteers should note that these repellents are not 100% and they only work for a number of hours.
Water is very important and it’s what every traveler and volunteer should be having. International volunteers should buy water whenever they get the opportunity. Most of the places where the volunteers would be working won’t have access to clean water. Untreated water carries host of parasites with it. Untreated water has water borne disease like Botulism, Cholera, E. Coli infection, Dysentery, Typhoid, and Gastroenteritis. Water is contaminated by a number of ways e.g. infested animal feaces, some type of flies and sewage. The volunteer can get sick if s/he consumes the water or eats food prepared by contaminated water. If the volunteer will be working in rural areas and cant access treated water s/he should buy water treatment tablets like iodine crystals, and chlorines based halazone. Water purification could be done through boiling, filtration, solar distillation and prevention of water contamination. Other solutions to this problem are the volunteers should drink tea, coffee, wine or beer. If the volunteer is afraid of getting amoebic dysentery, s/he should eat strong dosage of garlic for 15 days
Written and contributed by Zablon