Egypt is pleasantly free of many of the diseases that are found further south of it. Travelers don’t have to worry about taking malaria prophylactics or dealing with many other tropical diseases, such as dengue fever. There are a few things you should be on the lookout for, however, and we will use this post to go over them.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that this is no substitute for a visit to a doctor at a travel health clinic. This will help you to get thinking about how to prepare for your trip to Egypt, but it is by no means definitive.
There are no required vaccinations for entering Egypt unless you have traveled (within the past year) to a country where yellow fever is endemic, in which case you would need to present a vaccination certificate for yellow fever. There are, however, a number of recommended vaccinations, including:
– Hepatitis A + B
– Routine vaccinations like Tetanus and Measles, Mumps, Rubella
For detailed information on travel immunizations, please see our article on the topic here.
This is by far the most common threat to a traveler’s health in Egypt. Thankfully, this is a disease that is non-fatal and avoidable. At worst, it will send you to a pharmacy for some antibiotics, but in many cases it can be treated with just a few days of rest, hydration and bland foods. It can be avoided by sticking to bottled or purified water and by eating foods that are prepared in hygienic conditions and served immediately. For a detailed post on prevention and treatment of traveler’s diarrhea, click here.
In certain parts of the Nile Valley, Schistosomiasis can be found. Also known as Bilharzia, Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by a parasitic worm. Infection is caused not by consumption, but rather by skin contact. That is why it is important to make sure any place you may be swimming is free of the disease. If you are in doubt, ask several locals or your tour operator, if you are traveling with one. We have written extensively on this disease here.
The sun – Pack adequate sun protection in the form of both clothing and sunscreen. Sunglasses and a broad brimmed hat are also incredibly helpful. Steer clear of direct sunlight during the peak hours of the day and read our article on picking a sunscreen and avoiding sunburn for additional advice.
Hydration – If you are traveling in desert areas, you will become dehydrated very easily. Plan on doubling your water intake and be careful not to overexert yourself. For more advice on staying hydrated, please see our article on the subject here
Travel health insurance – It goes without saying that you should have travel health insurance. Egypt is not an exceptionally dangerous place, but you never know when an accident or an illness can happen. You can see our thoughts on travel insurance over here.
If you have any thoughts of your own on traveling Egpyt, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Photo credit: flickr user enggul