Any travel to countries that have reported yellow fever cases is considered a risk for contracting yellow fever. There are, however, other factors that could increase your risk of getting bit by a yellow fever mosquito.
Travelers over 60 are more likely to have severe yellow fever illness. There is no cure for yellow fever, so symptoms are treated to make the patient comfortable. Treatment is mostly for pain control and dehydration.
More mature travelers are also at increased risk of developing adverse effects from the yellow fever vaccine, so they should discuss their medical history with a travel health specialist. The yellow fever shot is a live vaccine similar to MMR and chickenpox vaccines, so travelers cannot be taking certain medications prior to receiving the yellow fever vaccine.
Travelers sleeping without a bed net
Sleeping in accommodations that provide screened windows and a bed net is best because it will keep mosquitoes away from you. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, so sleeping with netting helps prevent mosquito bites.
Bed nets are relatively inexpensive at around $15-20 to purchase. If your bed net gets a hole, it should be patched or disposed of because it becomes ineffective. There are also bug nets for use over hats if you venture into areas densely populated with insects.
Wearing clothing that does not cover the arms and legs
The more loose, long-sleeve clothing you wear, the less surface area that mosquitoes have to bite. Mosquitoes can bite through some tight clothing, so leave muscle shirts and leggings at home.
Tucking the end of pant legs into your socks and your shirt into your pants can also help prevent rogue mosquitoes from biting. Pretreating clothes with permethrin is similar to a long-lasting mosquito repellent for clothing.
Being outside at dusk and dawn
The times that the sun rises and sets are higher risk times to get mosquito bites. Although it may be the best time to watch for animals, be sure to cover up and wear mosquito repellent.
Yellow fever mosquitoes are usually located in forested, or jungle areas. More urban cities are safer, but not completely free of yellow fever.
Staying near standing water/traveling during the wet season
Moving water is safer for drinking, swimming, and more. Standing water is not very safe for any of that, and it allows mosquitoes to breed. The wet season makes this even more riskier as mosquito populations are able to grow and transmit more diseases.
Avoiding areas where water has sat for a long time, emptying open buckets, and traveling during the dry season can help prevent yellow fever. Many countries have two wet seasons, so scheduling travel in between seasons can be difficult.
Participating in lots of outdoor activities
Excursions and tours are part of the experience of any destination, but being outdoors also increases your chances of being bit by mosquitoes and developing yellow fever. Wearing insect repellent, long-sleeve clothing, and treating clothing with permethrin can help decrease your risk.
You want to be able to enjoy your trip without worrying about the long-lasting consequences of any travel-related illness. Various immunizations or medications may be recommended for your destination. Talk to a travel health advisor at any of our Away Clinic locations to determine which travel vaccinations are necessary for your destinations.