Playing Safe with the Animal Kingdom

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Seeing a kangaroo bound away in the outback of Australia, a lion on Safari in Africa or even a squirrel run up a tree in London can be a highlight of a trip. Whether checking out wildlife is high on your travel agenda or not, it’s important to be aware of some of the risks involved with coming close to even the smallest members of the animal kingdom. A bite or scratch can lead to serious infection, and some animals can be much more harmful if we aren’t careful and considerate of their environment. To keep you safe we’ve put together some key points to consider on your next journey.

Understanding rabies

Rabies is a virus that can be found in many warm-blooded animals and has been reported in over 150 countries and territories. The virus is most often spread through the saliva of an infected animal, so the best prevention technique is to simply avoid coming too close. If you are exposed to the saliva or are bitten by an animal you believe could be infected, you should seek immediate medical attention. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is the immediate treatment after rabies exposure which prevents the virus entering into the central nervous system. If you are travelling to a place where the risk of rabies infection is present, you must speak to a medical professional about possible pre-exposure immunisations as fast as possible. This is because Rabies has a high likelihood of being fatal if contracted.

Small is not always cute

While insects, such as mosquitoes might seem harmless or simply an annoyance, a bite from an infected mosquito is one of the most common ways infectious diseases are spread around the world. Some of these include:

  • Yellow Fever: A viral disease the can lead to serious illness and even death.
  • Malaria: An infection that causes a fever, shivering, chills, and in serious cases death.
  • Dengue Fever: A viral disease that can lead to a sudden fever, intense headaches, muscle and joint pain and in serious cases death.

There are however, a number of precautions you can take to prevent or reduce the risk of catching any mosquito-borne diseases or infections. While travelling wear mosquito repellent containing DEET or picaridin, opt for light coloured and long-sleeved clothes, use a mosquito net at night-time and avoid outdoor activity, if possible, during peak mosquito feeding times such as dawn and dusk.

Be considerate, think of the animal too

Unfortunately, we live in a world where not all countries treat animals with the respect and kindness that we would like. Many Zoo’s, animal sanctuaries and parks offer their animals a safe and well-cared for environment, however it’s important to do your research in places where laws around animal welfare are not as strictly enforced. Engaging in ethical tourism is a key way we can not only keep ourselves safe, but also the animals we wish to observe. After all some of the most enjoyable experiences are when animals just get to be themselves.

While it might be very tempting to pet that adorable puppy on the street, it’s important we all take the right precautions and are aware of our surroundings while travelling. When it comes to animals do your research and be prepared for the risks so that you stay happy and healthy.

For more tips from Steve head to his blog home page here. To keep up to date with all our health, wellbeing and travel tips make sure to subscribe!