Staying healthy in Tanzania


Diarrhoea in Tanzania is often symptomatic of nothing more than a change of diet rather than any malignant bacteria, so if you get a vicious dose of the runs and your sphincter feels like a cat flap in the Aswan Dam, don’t panic and assume you’ve got food poisoning.

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That said, there are problems with hygiene in Tanzania, so it’s wise to take certain precautions. Take heed of that old adage about patronizing only places that are popular – so food doesn’t have a chance to sit around for long – as well as that other one about eating only food that has been cooked, boiled or peeled. Stick to bottled, purified or filtered water and avoid ice unless you’re certain it has been made from treated water. Washing fruit, vegetables and your hands and ensuring food is thoroughly cooked can all help to prevent food poisoning. Shellfish, ice cream from street vendors and under-cooked meat should all be avoided like the plague, or you could end up feeling like you’ve got it. Slathering yourself in an insect repellent to prevent you from being eaten alive by the smaller members of Tanzania’s animal kingdom is a good idea too.

Other health problems in Tanzania

We could go into a detailed examination here of all the possible diseases you could catch in Tanzania. But the truth is that for most of the worst ones you should have already had an inoculation or be taking some sort of prophylactic; see our webpage on inoculations for Tanzania for details of these. Besides, it’s unlikely that you’ll suffer anything more in Tanzania than a dose of the runs, some altitude sickness or, if you’re careless, a touch of sunstroke. If you’ve got the former, just rest up and take plenty of fluids until you recover; to protect against the latter wear a high-factor sun lotion and a hat, and drink a lot of fluids – maintaining a reasonable salt intake will also help to prevent dehydration.

As for altitude sickness, which the majority of trekkers on Kili suffer from to some extent, as well as other ailments that you may contract on the trail, read the detailed discussion on our Altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro webpages.

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