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So, you booked an amazing holiday in Bali and now you need to create your pre-departure travel checklist. Often this includes creating your dream itinerary, alerting your bank of the dates you will be out of town, listing the items you’ll need to pack, and purchasing travel insurance to protect your trip.

But another incredibly important item to add to the list? Receiving all the necessary shots, medicines and vaccinations before you depart. This will not only help protect yourself from diseases and viral infections, but others you come into contact with, too.

Thanks to recent global outbreaks, it’s become more imperative to vaccinate yourself against measles if you’re travelling to affected areas like Northern Africa or Southern India. Because if you’re protected, you can stay happy and healthy both during and long after your holiday has ended.

Skip ahead to read:

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What is measles?

Measles is a viral disease that primarily affects the respiratory system. The measles virus is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air as respiratory droplets. This means it can spread through coughing or sneezing, or even though sharing a glass or utensils with someone who is infected.

Symptoms of measles

Symptoms of measles will typically appear within 10-14 days of exposure to the virus.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Red eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • White spots inside the mouth
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Occasionally diarrhoea

Measles is also generally accompanied by a red rash. All these symptoms usually last for about one week.

How to treat measles

While there isn’t any medicine that specifically treats measles once you’ve been infected, vaccination can prevent you from catching the disease. The key is to avoid contracting this very serious and potentially life threatening disease.

However, if you’ve already been diagnosed with measles, the symptoms should disappear in seven to 10 days for an uncomplicated course. Your doctor may provide you advice regarding medication to provide symptomatic relief from the fever and muscle aches. In addition, it is important to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

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Which countries are infected with measles?

Before you leave for any international trip, follow Professor Stephen Rashford, Cover-More’s Chief Medical Officer, top travel tip: “Do a deep dive into what type of medications and vaccinations are needed in the regions you’re visiting to prevent contracting a disease during your trip.”

Measles – and other viral illnesses – are most common in developing countries; this is typically attributed to poorer health care systems with incomplete immunisation programs and low-income populations with lower standard living conditions.

Historically, certain areas in Asia, Africa, India and South America have been at higher risk for spreading measles, but because of a rise in the global “anti-vax movement”, parts of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have reported cases of measles outbreaks in recent years.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides extensive information for international travellers relating to the countries, territories and areas that require vaccinations prior to arrival.

Protecting yourself from measles

The best way to prevent yourself from contracting the measles virus is to get the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Professor Stephen Rashford notes vaccinations will help ensure you’re protected: “If you are properly vaccinated and practice caution when travelling to high-risk areas, catching the illness can certainly be avoided.”

This advice not only applies to regions known for contracting measles, but also to any and all areas where certain unique ailments and diseases are present.

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Precautionary steps to take when travelling in infected areas:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
  • When soap and clean water isn’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, especially when your hands are dirty
  • When sneezing or coughing, use a tissue or your sleeve – not your hands – to cover your mouth
  • Avoid close contact – such as hugging, kissing or sharing cups and utensils – with those who are sick

As always, it’s recommended you research your upcoming destination(s) and prepare yourself accordingly. So, before you leave on your next adventure, visit your primary care physician to discuss your needs and ensure your travel insurance provider has adequate medical coverage to suit you.

Happy travels!

 

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