Take medication while travelling: Medics

Oman Monday 21/May/2018 21:13 PM
By: Times News Service
Take medication while travelling: Medics

Muscat: Doctors in Oman have asked people to take precautions against communicable diseases if they are travelling overseas this summer.
With most schools in Oman shut during June and July, Dr Mahmood Al Rahbi of the Ministry of Health has asked people to stay cautious to avoid contracting diseases while abroad.
“These are called travel diseases, and most of them are endemic,” he explained. “Diseases such as malaria, which are found in Africa and India, for example, are contagious, so you need to take medication if you are visiting these areas. Take prophylactics for hepatitis, and eat clean food. Hepatitis A and B are oro-faecal diseases, which means any contamination of the food could cause this disease.”
“Medication should be carried with you for communicable diseases, and practice self-hygiene to restrict the entry of these diseases,” added Al Rahbi. “We do have many patients like this, but we are not linking this to simply coming back from overseas, because there may be people in the country who have this disease as well.”
Dr A Basheer, a senior internist at Badr Al Sama’a Hospital, added: “When people go on holiday during the summer, it is likely that there will be mass movements of expats, and they often go to areas which could have a high probability of communicable diseases such as malaria or dengue. So, they need to find out the prevalence of these diseases in that area before they go so they can be prepared accordingly.”
“If they do fall sick during their vacation or see any symptoms developing, they should get treated while they are there instead of coming back and then getting treated,” he added.
Al Rahbi also had advice for those who were travelling within Oman during the summer months.
“If you go up into the mountains, there could be animals and insects such as snakes and scorpions, which could cause harm, so you need to be prepared for that as well,” he said. “Bites and stings, even from small insects, are sometimes very dangerous. They can cause hypotension and a cascade of allergies and angioedema, which can cause death very quickly. If you are sensitive to stings from wasps and bees, for example, you die with just one sting. People who normally have angioedema will carry an epi pen with them, and inject themselves with it, but it is better for people to avoid places where bees and wasps are found, because it does cause pain, even if it’s not fatal to people.”
“You need to take a first aid kit to treat wounds or burns, because, sometimes, you may take things for cooking, such as coal, and injuries could happen,” he added. “Take precautions for children and adults who cannot swim, especially if you are near the beach.”
Snakebites and scorpion stings were especially dangerous to people, Al Rahbi warned.
“If you have a snakebite, that can be resolved with an anti-histamine, but it will take some time to heal,” he said. “Snakes, when there is heat, start to come to cool areas such as houses and farms and can bite people. They don’t want to harm people, but they are doing it as a defence. Most of the toxins in snakes are hemotoxic, which means they make the blood more liquid. So, if no anti-venom is given, patients will start to bleed into the brain and internally. Take the victim to the nearest hospital, and clean the wound because secondary infection can cause other harm.”
“Some people put ropes around the areas affected by the poison, because they believe this will stop it from reaching the heart and other vital organs,” revealed Al Rahbi. “This is okay until you reach the hospital, but it should only be for a short time. Sometimes, you will not reach a hospital in three or four hours, so you must release the rope every hour. I saw a patient who had to have his leg amputated because they had left the rope on for six hours, and this had cut off the supply of blood to his leg.”
“But the most dangerous sting comes from scorpions, because their poison can disrupt vital organs and cause kidney failure,” he said. “We have poisonous scorpions in Oman. We will need to investigate the state of kidneys and keep patients under observation after scorpion stings.”