medical and first aid supplies, there are other items
which are very often required by global travellers, these
Most of these items can be obtained
on-line from Nomad Travel, MASTA or from Up &
Under of Cardiff - see the links at the bottom the page.
Chemical repellents are the best
and perhaps the only suitable personal protection against
outdoor biting insects.
Repellents act by interfering
with the sense organs with which insects locate their victims.
Most of the commercially available
insect repellents contain diethyl toluamide (DEET), or dimethylphthalate
These preparations come as lotions,
sticks, gels, creams, or in aerosol cans or pump-action dispensers.
is apparently effective against all free-flying biting insects.
DEET has been used without harm
by millions of people. However, there have been occasional
reports of serious reactions in a few individuals. Anyone
who suspects an adverse reaction to DEET should stop using
it immediately and seek medical advice.
The chances of an adverse skin
reaction are reduced if DEET is impregnated into clothing
rather than applied directly to the skin.
applied to the skin, DEET remains effective for only a few
hours. However, when impregnated into cotton (not synthetic)
material it remains effective for several weeks.
When sitting down out of doors, most mosquito bites occur
on the ankles or feet. Cotton ankle bands impregnated with
DEET have been found to give up to 85% reduction in bites
by several species of mosquitos.
is a 100% natural midge and mosquito repellent and an
alternative to DEET for those who cannot tolerate it.
plant oils, MozzyOff offers you up to six hours protection
from biting insects such as midges and mosquitoes, black fly
and gnats. It's water resistant and unlike chemical based
products, MozzyOff repellent will not harm synthetic materials.
MozzyOff is also biodegradable and the packaging is recycled
and recyclable so its good news for the environment too.
is kind to your skin and its inherent soothing properties
mean that it will relieve the itch of previous bites and hopefully
stop you getting bitten again. For further information see
Another option is
to wear insect repellent, impregnated clothes. In this case
the repellent Permethrin is used and is tightly bonded
to the fibres of the garment. When insects are exposed to
this repellent their neurons are agitated, rendering them
unable to coordinate voluntary muscles, and thus unable to
attack. Unlike traditional insect repellents, Insect Repellent
Clothing puts the insect repellent on the clothes you wear,
not on your skin.
Traditional repellents usually last for several hours but
with permethrin-based insect repellent clothing, the insect
repellent is IN YOUR CLOTHING, not on your skin and keeps
working as long as youre wearing the shirt, trousers,
hat or other garment.
Permethrin has been shown to be effective the entire time
the impregnated clothing is worn and is effective in repelling
mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and no-see-ums.
use of a mosquito net is strongly recommended wherever there
is any risk of bites from mosquitoes that bite at night.
It is well worth buying a good
quality net, because any slippage of the weave would allow
mosquitoes to enter. Any tears should be repaired or blocked
with cotton wool and the net should be tucked in carefully
under the mattress.
The net should be checked after
getting into bed, using an electric torch to make sure that
no gaps are left. Care should also be taken not to sleep with
any part of the body touching the net since mosquitoes can
feed through nets.
security can be achieved by impregnating the net with permethrin
which is very effective in killing or repelling mosquitoes
which come into contact with it.
Many hotels in the tropics provide
mosquito nets. If in doubt it would be worth taking your own.
Another useful measure
is to spray your room (or tent) with an insecticide aerosol
spray after closing the doors and any windows. This will kill
any insects that entered the room earlier but not any that
enter later. For this reason all doors and windows should
be kept closed during the night.
Screens & Sun Blocks
contains Ultra Violet light which can be further categorised
as UVA and UVB.
to UVB increases the risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous
cell carcinoma, two forms of non-melanoma skin cancer. It
is also responsible for sunburn.
Exposure to UVA causes skin ageing and there's a high level
of concern that UVA increases the risk of malignant melanoma,
the most dangerous form of skin cancer. In contrast to UVB,
UVA does not cause sunburn.
sun protection factors (SPF) are measured by timing how long
skin covered with sunscreen takes to burn compared to uncovered
skin. For example, SPF 15 means it will take 15 times longer
to burn when wearing the sunscreen.
Although they found that the sunscreen lotions did protect
well against UVB rays, the UVA protection was less than satisfactory.
Because SPF factors only look at burning times, they only
apply to UVB rays.
the UK the number of cases of skin cancer are said to be rising
faster each year than for any other form of cancer. Part of
the reason is thought to be due to our changing lifestyles,
for example more people are sunbathing and taking more holidays
in sunnier climates, increasing their exposure to harmful
the Government's safe sun message advises people to use protective
sunscreen but, according to new research, while useful for
protecting against UVB rays, lotions are less protective against
harmful UVA. What's more, it's possible that people might
be staying out in the sun longer because they think their
skin is being protected, actually increasing their exposure
is hoped that future sunscreens will include better protection
there are two types of product used for sun protection:-
which work by screening out the sun's rays by a factor which
is displayed on the container. They come in various forms
e.g. lotions, oils, creams, etc.
which are creams usually white and based on zinc oxide which
totally block out the sun by forming a physical barrier.
Both forms can be purchased from a number of outlets e.g.
Pharmacies, sports shops, outdoor equipment suppliers, supermarkets,
Good sun protection methods include staying in the shade during
the peak sun strength times, covering up, wearing sunglasses
and a wide brimmed hat and using an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen.
For more information on
sun screens & sun blocks, go to the page entitled:- Exposure to the Sun
you travel abroad you should always assume that the water
is unsafe to drink unless you know otherwise. Even in European
hotels and holiday resorts it is a good policy not to drink
the local tap water.
Water for International Travelers (SWIT)
- is an independent organization that provides the best available
information about water safety around the world. Information
is gathered from the most important and trustworthy sources.
They have a web site which categorizes the state of the drinking
water in any given country.
are many diseases that can be spread by contaminated drinking
water including typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A, dysentery and
safe drinking water is available world-wide in sealed plastic
bottles but you should always make sure that the seal is in
tact when you receive a bottle. If not, do not accept it,
it could have been refilled from another source.
In very remote areas where drinking the local water is the
only option available, some form of purification may be necessary.
Water purification entails disinfection and removal of suspended
particles. There are three options available:-
Iodination & Filtration
often it is necessary to employ more than one method. When
this is the case always filter water before boiling it and
boil water before treating with iodine, but always wait for
boiled water to cool down before adding the iodine.
simplest and most effective method of water purification is
boiling for five minutes (longer at altitude). When cooled,
the water should be kept in a clean sealable container to
purification using iodine is another option but care must
be taken not to take too much. Iodine should only be used
for short periods and people with thyroid problems should
consult with their doctor before using it.
is a very effective disinfectant and Iodination is preferable
to chlorination since iodine is effective against waterborne
pathogens, Giardia and other resistant organisms like amoebic
cysts which are resistant to chlorine. It can also be used
to purify water for washing and cooking.
It is available as tablets, crystals or tincture (drops).
You should always follow the usage instructions on the container.
adding the iodine, allow the water to stand for at least thirty
minutes before drinking.
use of iodine for water purification is no longer allowed
under the EU biocide regulations! This is because none
of the current manufacturers have registered the product
under the EU biocide system. It is not due to concerns
about any adverse effects or the efficacy of iodine.
Pharmacists in the EU can continue to sell non iodine
containing water purification tablets for water sterilisation.
However, Iodine can still be sold for its other licensed
Iodine remains the best method of chemical purification
and is very safe if the guidelines to its use are followed.
This is simply another example of ridiculous EU bureaucracy
and does not affect the rest of the world where it remains
The third method is by filtration which is essential when
the water is turbid or there is a high degree of suspended
The filter will clarify the turbid water by removing silt,
algae and other suspended matter. Suspended organic particles
also interfere with the process of chemical disinfection.
Units used to filter water should be dependable, easily maintained
and give some indication of when their useful life has expired.
Filters remove impurities from the water by mechanical straining
and some form of further purification is almost always necessary.
This is because filters work by drawing water through a microporous
element such as as a ceramic filter with a pore size of 0.2
This will remove all pathogenic bacteria, cysts, protozoa
and helminths but not viruses that are much smaller than the
0.2 microns, and since hepatitis A and several forms of diarrhoea
are caused by viruses further treatment is necessary.
of extravagant claims made by manufacturers as to the effectiveness
of water filters without producing convincing evidence of
their claims. Remember, the life of a filter is greatly lowered
when used with highly turbid water and the filter should be
checked periodically for cracks and leaks.
There are several filters available commercially some of which
are quite expensive so you should seek specialist advice before
N.B. Drinking water that has been purified by filtration
alone should only be considered if you are happy about the
quality of the source but filtered water should always be
boiled or disinfected before giving to children and babies.
those who find themselves in places where the water is doubtful
or even dangerous to drink, bw technologies, the water quality
specialists have a range of safe, effective water filtration
systems; The aquapure traveller, survivor4i and inline filters
are unique, self-contained, convenient water purification
systems designed to fit into a bottle or hydration system.
holidays now make up a large proportion of the total holidays
bought in the UK. Adventure holidays do involve a certain
amount of self sufficiency, even on a totally managed holiday.
Imagine never having to worry about where your water comes
from or buying bottle water again. Some bottled waters in
less developed countries are no more than local tap water
put into branded self-sealing bottles.
pure hydration filter can save as much as 700 plastic bottles
from being dumped.
In fact, there are places on the planet that do not allow
you to use disposable plastic bottles. The Inca trail is just
one of them.
year 10 million international travellers or expatriates,
suffer severe waterborne diseases from ingestion of
contaminated water or food while travelling or staying
Worldwide, unsafe water is a major problem. One billion
people do not have access to safe water. It is estimated
that diarrhoeal diseases that result from contaminated
water kill about 2 million children and cause about
900 million episodes of illness each year.
However, international travellers should not become
hysterical about avoiding all water whilst travelling
abroad. Most of the general information sites for travellers
recommend to avoid drinking water anywhere abroad. But
to avoid water where it is safe, could be as annoying,
as it is dangerous to drink it where it is not safe.
Information is now available on the purity of drinking
water worldwide. For a list of all the countries and
the quality of their drinking water:
selection of travel sundries can be obtained on-line from
the following sources:-