If you’re a wise traveller, you already know the importance of getting your “jab” before heading out to some far-off location. But think about it, what exactly are the type of diseases we’re getting protected against? Are these diseases too horrific that it’ll lead to death or just some mild irritation that makes a good story back home?

First things first. What’s the one thing you shouldn’t leave without when travelling abroad? That’s right – travel insurance.

Image credit: Flickr user Sean McGrath

Here are some of the most common and worst diseases overseas travellers get.

Cholera: This nasty disease can be picked up in many parts of Asia and Africa, but it can also occur in areas with poor sanitation. Cholera causes diarrhoea, fever and vomiting, and it can also be fatal, causing you to be admitted to a medical facility as soon as possible for treatment. During this kind of case your travel insurance can be of great help and relief. It’ll assist with your hospital bill payment and other medical assistance too.

Jabs for cholera is disputed and experts agree that its effectiveness is only at 50% at best. Since you can get cholera bacteria from contaminated food and water, try to avoid uncooked food or unbottled water.

Dengue: Also known as bonecrusher and break-bone disease, this disease matches its sinister name with its lethality. The fever associated with dengue is made worse by a debilitating headache, joint and muscle pains as well as a really unattractive rash. This disease is very common in tropical areas and parts of Asia and Africa and is scarier since it can also be found in developed parts of the tropics, like Taiwan and Singapore.

Mosquitos spread it and there’s no commercial vaccine yet, so remember to use repellents and nets to avoid getting bitten and infected.

Typhoid: Typhoid, This dark and tragic-sounding disease can be contracted if you consume water or food that’s been contaminated by the faeces of an infected person. Yeah, it’s nasty. It’s also commonly contracted in India and part of Asia, South America and Africa.

Hepatitis: What’s with hepatitis and its names running through the alphabets huh? Regardless, you need to worry most about types A and B. Hepatitis type A is a nasty infection of the liver which can be found in developing countries including Mexico, India, Latin America and some parts of Africa.

Hepatitis type B is found in similar regions, plus the Pacific Islands and the Middle East, and it can also lead to a whole heap of liver damage, including liver cirrhosis and cancer. It may be harder to catch, but it hits harder too.

Tetanus: This disease can definitely happen anywhere, but the highest reported incidences are in places like India as well as some countries in central Africa. This disease is also known as lockjaw because it affects your nervous system and makes your muscles seize up and spasm. In any case, tetanus injections are perfect, as long as you get your booster every ten years. It’s worth getting it even if you’re not planning to travel.

End Note
In many cases, a medical travel insurance will help alleviate the financial burden of being sick when abroad, so it’s something you really shouldn’t miss before going. Keep safe out there!