Medical tourism is a fast trending industry which is flocked by millions of people every year. Medical tourists travel to receive cheap and quality treatment abroad. Patients who undergo treatment abroad usually opt for packages which include the operation, stay, pre-operation procedures and also the post-operative care.
Travelling to a new country might lead to some problems for the patient as they might face communication barriers, infections, etc. Patients are more likely to catch certain diseases and infections in the foreign country since they are in the state of recovery after their procedure. The outbreak of the disease may happen either preoperatively or postoperatively as the patient’s body is weak and less immune to the new environment that s/he is in.
Following are the diseases a patient needs to be aware about, when travelling abroad for medical treatment.
Traveler’s Diarrhea is a stomach and intestinal infection. It can also be termed as digestive disorder that causes loose stools and abdominal cramps. Contaminated food and water are the culprits behind the spread of this disease. The possible symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramps, loss of appetite etc. Developing countries are high-risk destinations where travelers are likely to get traveler’s diarrhea. Australia, Europe, Israel, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, etc. are the zones where one might catch this disease.
The risk of this disease can be minimised by avoiding raw fruits and vegetables, tap water and dairy products in the foreign country. A person suffering from this disease can take ORS solutions which replaces the loss of salts from the body.
This disease is spread by female mosquitoes carrying a parasite called plasmodium. The mosquito bite induces the parasites into the person’s blood which travels to the liver where they mature and reproduce. The main symptoms of this disease are fever, chills, headaches, and vomiting.
In 2012 , there were about 207 million malaria cases and an estimated 6,27,000 deaths, mostly in the regions of Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, and especially tropical regions in Africa.
Medical tourists recovering from kidney failure and other disorders that have affected the red blood cell count in the body make a person more prone to malaria.
Patients are advised to carry mosquito repellent creams to keep themselves from this disease and wear long clothing. Also, care should be taken to sleep in an air-conditioned room to avoid contact with mosquitoes. The treatment for malaria includes a combination of antimalarial medications which includes an artemisinin.
Typhoid fever is a disease that is spread from contaminated food and water. Symptoms include long lasting high fevers, weakness, stomach ache, loss of appetite. Some patients might experience constipation and rashes too. Travelers who fly to Mexico, Chile, India, Pakistan, Peru have high risks of getting affected by this type of disease. Millions of cases of the typhoid fever are reported each year.
People who are recovering from a chronic lung disease, kidney or liver disorders are particularly at risk of developing the disease.
It is advisable for the patients to get vaccinated before they travel abroad for medical treatments and eat safe and cooked fruits and vegetables during their travel. Patients can consult their doctors about the do’s and don’ts of consuming food to avoid the risks of catching typhoid fever. Antibiotic treatment is the only effective treatment for typhoid fever.
Dengue is usually an illness that is caused by mosquito bites and the symptoms include nausea, vomiting, rashes and pain in the eyes, joints, muscles, etc. Patients travelling to tropical and subtropical regions are at the risk of getting the disease. The at-risk areas include the Caribbean, Central and South America, Western Pacific Islands, Australia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Till now there has been no vaccine or medicine to prevent dengue. Medical travelers have to take precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites by fully covering their body, applying insect repellent, avoiding scratching the mosquito bites and consulting a doctor if the symptoms get serious, to avoid future risks.
Cholera is an infectious disease, a severe form of diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration if not treated. The disease is most commonly found in the areas with poor sanitation and those with highly contaminated water. Common locations include parts of Africa, south Asia, and Latin America. Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, is usually found in food or water contaminated. Low blood pressure, muscle cramps, rapid heart rates, vomiting etc are the common symptoms. Vaccinations help in preventing the diseases from going out of control. Medical travelers are advised to only eat food given at the hospitals. They should avoid drinking unsafe water and food post recovery, which might again result in the development of the disease.