Managing Health Risks for your Trip to Zambia

Looking forward to your next trip to Zambia? Same here- but not before taking the proper precautions before traveling! There are many health risks that must be taken into account before traveling to Africa. Adventurers will be required to undergo a series of routine treatments and checks in order to be properly protected from disease. Below is a series of instructions directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The Basics:

  1. Discuss your upcoming trip with your doctor AT LEAST 4-6 weeks before your trip. Provide the specific dates of your trip so the doctor can prescribe medication at the proper time.
  2. Be up to date on all of your routine vaccines, including: Measels-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.


Zambia-Specific Vaccinations (required for all travelers):

  1. Hepatitis A. Regardless of what you eat or drink, Hepatitis A is a risk.
  2. Malaria. This is the big one you’ve probably heard of before. You will be required to take pills before, during, and after your trip. Discuss with your doctor the best treatment and how to avoid vulnerable situations during your stay.
  3. Typhoid. Again, you can get typhoid through contaminated food and drink.
  4. Cholera. Avoiding unsafe drinking water and food can lower your risk for being infected with Cholera, but take the vaccine and avoid the risk. Cholera can have a severe impact on your body.
  5. Hepatitis B. The chance of being affect is low, unless you have sex with a new partner or plan on getting a tattoo. Otherwise this vaccination is insurance in case you need a medical procedure during the trip, during which you could contract Hepatitis B.
  6. Rabies. Wild animals in Zambia are known to be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals.


Optional Zambia-Specific Vaccinations:

  1. Yellow Fever. If you plan on staying in Africa was an extended period of time or will be exposed to an excess of mosquito, take this precaution.

Be sure to discuss all of these options with your doctor during your visit (4-6 weeks in advance of your trip). If you have other pre-exisiting conditions, make sure to ask about how this may be affected by your travel.

Check out the CDC approved packing list here. 

After Your Trip:

If you aren’t feeling well after the trip or have digestive issues, be sure to contact your doctor IMMEDIATELY up to ONE YEAR after your trip. If you have been prescribed antimalarial pills, be sure to take them as instructed.

See a full list of instructions here. 

Have a safe trip and enjoy!

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