IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Country Health Advice Kenya

What is travel health?

Travel health is about prevention and common sense: Being aware of health issues that may arise and taking the appropriate measures to prevent illnesses and injuries when you are travelling not only for your own well-being, but for the people and communities you encounter during your trip.

Pre-trip planning: Type of travel, health status, vaccinations, and more

When you’re planning a trip, the last thing on your mind is getting sick away from home.

To ensure a healthy trip, you'll need to determine the type of travel, geographic location, climatic and environmental conditions, itinerary, and duration of your trip, as well as your health status. This will help you determine how far in advance you need to prepare, what immunizations and medications you will need, and what precautions you should take during your trip.

Travel health literacy

  • Find out about local health risks, current outbreaks, and advisories at your destination and learn how to prevent injuries and the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Country Travel Health Advice

  • Research travel health insurance plans, especially if you are concerned about emergency surgery, extended hospital stays, or medical evacuation. Read the fine print to ensure that all your health needs will be covered.
  • Guide to Travel Health Insurance

  • Enroll in a basic / advanced first aid or wilderness survival course.
  • Find a reputable doctor and / or mental health practitioner at your destination. Don’t leave this until you need emergency help abroad. Knowing how to contact and locate a trusted doctor will save you time and reduce your stress.
  • Access IAMAT's Medical Directory

Vaccinations and medications

  • Make sure your routine immunizations are up-to-date – they’re not only for children and young adults.
  • Depending on your destination, you may need travel-related vaccinations. Visit your doctor or travel health clinic to set up an appointment since many vaccines come in a series. We recommend getting immunized at least 6 weeks before departure to build-up your immunity. Note that some countries require proof of vaccination against some vaccine-preventable diseases such as Yellow Fever.
  • Prepare a travel health kit with self-medicating items for common travel-related illnesses.
  • Guide to Healthy Travel

Medical exams and special needs

  • Proof of a physical exam, lab tests, x-rays, and other medical consultations may be required to enter some countries for extended stays, work / study permits, and climbing trips.
  • Make arrangements at your destination for special needs such as oxygen equipment, lab tests, dialysis, or any other medical devices.
  • Travel Health Useful Links

Mental health

  • Consider how travel stress including culture shock and unmet expectations can affect your trip.
  • If you have a history of depression, anxiety, substance dependence, or bipolar disorder, find a mental health professional at your destination that speaks your language in case of an emergency.
  • My Peace of Mind... Travel and Mental Health Series

Fitness training

  • Exercise and endurance train if you plan for strenuous activities during your trip. Take your level of fitness into account when planning your trip.

Cultural awareness

  • Learn about the people, cultures, regional geography of the places you will visit, including some basic phrases to help you get around.

Staying Healthy During Your Trip

First and foremost, enjoy your trip! Don't let all the travel health precautions discourage you. Using common sense with prevention in mind is key to a healthy and safe trip.

Did you know?

  • Influenza is present year-round in the tropics. Your health practitioner may recommend antiviral protection for your trip.
  • Gastrointestinal infections due to improperly treated water and poor food handling are common illnesses among travellers and can be contracted abroad and at home.
  • Traffic-related accidents are the primary cause of injury and death among travellers.

Do

  • Drink boiled or disinfected water (treated with a filter and halogens, or ultraviolet light). Carbonated drinks and bottled water from a trusted source are also safe. Watch for tampered seals or bottled tap water.
  • Water disinfection basics

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with water and soap, especially before handling food. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before handling food.
  • Eat well cooked foods while they’re hot and thick skinned fruit that you can peel yourself, such as oranges and bananas. Use the mantra: Boil It, Cook It, Peel It or Forget It!
  • Protect yourself from the sun using sunscreen, wear UV-protecting sunglasses and a hat, and stay in shaded areas as much as possible.
  • When wearing sunscreen and insect repellent at the same time, apply sunscreen first then apply repellent on top. Products that combine sunscreen and repellent are not as effective. Be aware that repellents containing DEET can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen so you may have to reapply both products more often.
  • Use anti-mosquito measures, including repellents containing 20%-30% DEET or 20% Picardin. If you’re going to an area with malaria, don’t forget to use a mosquito bed net.
  • Wear seat belts in vehicles and a helmet when riding a bicycle, moped, or motorcycle.
  • Stay fit and well rested.
  • Practice safe sex at all times.

Don’t

  • Use ice cubes in drinks unless you are sure that the water has been disinfected.
  • Consume unpasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Eat raw seafood or large fish.
  • Eat food from street vendors whose stalls seem dirty or that don’t practice proper food handling and good hand hygiene. If you are going to eat street food, make sure it’s well cooked and hot.
  • Feed, pet, or approach animals, especially monkeys, feral dogs, or cats.
  • Swim in fresh water where Schistosomiasis or Leptospirosis is a risk.

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience the following:

  • High fever (greater than 38.9°C / 102°F) lasting more than 2-3 days accompanied by shaking chills, headaches, stiff neck, abdominal pain, muscle and joint pain, skin rash, yellow skin or eyes, or bloody diarrhea.
  • Breathing difficulties and / or numbness and tingling in the extremities and around the mouth.
  • Animal bites from dogs, monkeys, bats, and other potentially rabid animals. Thoroughly clean with water and soap, rinse with disinfectant, and seek immediate medical attention.
  • Injuries from motor vehicle accidents and trauma such as falling, tripping, slipping, and near-drowning.

After Your Trip

Post-trip follow-up is overlooked by many travellers, but it could prevent future health complications and even save your life.

Seek medical attention if you experience the following symptoms upon your return. Don’t forget to tell your health practitioner that you’ve travelled abroad.

  • High fever (greater than 38.9°C / 102°F) - up to 3 months after coming home - accompanied by shaking chills, headaches, stiff neck, abdominal pain, muscle and joint pain, skin rash, yellow skin or eyes, or bloody diarrhea.
  • Diarrhea and digestive problems that last more than 1 week.
  • Persistent cough and shortness of breath.
  • Swollen glands or skin lesions that expand and are painful.
  • If you were bitten by an animal, report it to your health care provider even if you received treatment abroad in case further medical attention is recommended.

Last reviewed and updated: November 23, 2016

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