It is said that good health is the best asset a human being has.This therefore means every measure and precaution must be put in place to ensure ones well being is protected and enhanced. For tourists and travellers, this factor becomes even more important.While South Africa has made great strides in building modern and equipped health institutions, the risk to contract an ailment is always there.
For adult travelers from the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America, it is recommended that you take required inoculations four to six weeks before you travel. For children up to the age of 12, Hepatitis B inoculations are recommended especially for those who didn’t complete injections as infants.Tetanus and measles doses can also be administered as a precaution.
Many of the tourist areas are malaria free except the Kruger National Park, the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo and the northern part of Kwazulu-Natal.Transmission of Malaria is seasonal with peak infection seasons being April and declining towards June. Malaria prophylaxis can be obtained from a specialist travel clinic just to make sure you are safe. Apart from the prophylaxis, you are always safer by avoiding being outside at night as malaria carrying mosquitos operate at night, always use repellent, wear light coloured long pants, long sleeved shirts, wear closed shoes and sleep under a mosquito net in endemic areas.
Visiting South Africa allows one to enjoy the warm sunny climate in the country. Excessive exposure to the sun however can raise health complications.You can therefore protect yourself against the harsh sun with sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.Water supply in South Africa is of very high standard with quality tap water available in most urban areas. For adventure seekers, you are advised to avoid drinking water straight from rivers and streams as this puts you at risk of waterborne diseases.
With all preventive measures taken and precautions observed, there is always a chance that you may need some medical attention in one way or the other. South Africa has some of the best medical facilities on the continent with highly skilled professionals. Provincially run emergency services are supplemented by privately operated services, which attend to roadside and other emergencies, transporting patients in well equipped ambulances and emergency vehicles to appropriate hospitals.
Over and above, its always a good idea to take out comprehensive medical insurance before travelling as private medical care can be very expensive.