Zambia Health Care and Vaccinations
Health care in Zambia is not free. Adequate health care cannot be assured outside main towns. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies as they are limited in Zambia. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage if you are spending time in remote parts of the country.
Malaria is present throughout Zambia. The risk is highest in densely populated areas, especially near wetlands, in the rainy season. Not all mosquitoes carry malaria but it can take just one bite of an infected insect to transmit the disease, so it’s important to follow your GP’s advice about taking anti-malarials. Avoid bites by wearing a strong mosquito repellent, covering up with full-length clothing from sunset to dawn, spraying your bedroom with insecticide and sleeping under a mosquito net.
Food and Drink
Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. The filtered drinking water supplied by hotels and safari lodges is safe to drink. Bottled water is also available. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are generally safe for consumption. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
The Zambian sun is extremely strong, so it's wise to wear sunscreen and stay in the shade as much as possible, especially at midday, even if it's cloudy. Daytime temperatures in Zambia can be very high, particularly at the end of the rainy season in October and November. There's a danger of dehydration and heatstroke at this time, particularly when exposed to the full force of the sun on bushwalks or when travelling in an open-topped vehicle. To guard against this, drink plenty of water – little and often is best. If you start to feel faint or nauseous, stay in the shade and take rehydration salts. The start of the rainy season in November and December brings high humidity which can cause fatigue. Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water; swimming pools that are well chlorinated and maintained are safe.
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