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Staying Safe During Spain’s Listeria Outbreak

Bacteria

If you’ll be traveling to Spain in the near future, this is what you need to know about the country’s biggest-ever listeria outbreak.

Spain is currently in the throes of its biggest listeria outbreak to date and holidaymakers are being warned to stay safe and keep an eye out for symptoms.

Over 150 people have already been affected by the outbreak and over 500 patients are currently being tested for the infection. Andalusia currently has the largest number of listeria patients but there have been other reported cases in regions such as Madrid, Catalonia and Extremadura.

What is Listeria?

Listeria is an infection that is caught from eating foods that contain a specific type of bacteria (Listeria monocytogenes). Deli meats and unpasteurized cheeses are the most common carriers of the bacteria.

Listeria is an infection that is caught from eating foods that contain a specific type of bacteria

 In most instances, the infection only results in mild illness but it can be much more dangerous to those with compromised immune systems, including pregnant women and patients over the age of 65. Well over a thousand people contract listeriosis every year, a hundred of which succumb to their symptoms.

Listeria is a food-borne disease. The only exception is in the case of pregnant women, who can transfer the infection to their baby. Listeria is not contagious.

If you’ll be traveling to Spain in the near future, this is what you need to know about the country’s biggest-ever listeria outbreak.
Listeria

Keep an Eye Out for These Symptoms

Symptoms of listeria last for several days and include a lot of flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea.

In some severe cases, the bacteria can cause brain-related conditions such as abscesses and meningitis.

Symptoms will generally show up a few days after you’ve eaten contaminated food but in some cases, symptoms only show up a month after infection.

Listeria infections can last anywhere from one to six weeks, depending on how severe each case is.

Protecting Yourself from Listeriosis While on Vacation in Spain

Here are a few tips that can reduce your risks of contracting listeria.

  • If you will be purchasing and eating any fresh produce, make sure that you run it underwater for at least a minute and dry it before consuming it.
  • Thoroughly cook any raw meat
  • Think twice about eating soft cheeses, sprouts, deli meats and hot dogs
  • Ensure your hands are clean before handling any food
  • Since listeria can still grow in a refrigerator, it’s best to clean the shelves and walls with soap and water before storing any food in it
  • Avoid restaurants with buffets, salad bars and unclean surfaces
  • Always place food in a closed plastic bag before throwing it away
  • Keep all cooking surfaces clean before and after food preparation

Listeria is not necessarily a serious infection but it’s not something you want to deal with while you’re on vacation, which is why it’s best to know what to look out for. If you notice any symptoms, contact a doctor in your area using the Air Doctor app.

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Galapagos Islands – pictures of a heavenly destination

Galapagos Islands – pictures of a heavenly destination

The Galapagos Islands is a top travel destination for good reason. This is why you should plan a trip of your own.

The Galapagos Islands is a destination unlike any other. Many travelers say that it has a unique aura and once you arrive, you soon forget about the rest of the world.

If you have an interest in Charles Darwin, evolution, history and adventure, you’re going to love this travel destination even more.

The Galapagos Islands are located just over 900km west of Ecuador and are a mecca for those who want to spend time in nature amongst unique wildlife. It’s also one of the few places in the world where the animals don’t have a problem being around humans, which means you can get up close to a lot of beautiful wildlife.

The Galapagos isn’t the most affordable destination though, purely because it’s not easily accessible but there are ways to plan a vacation that won’t break the bank. There is a limit on how many people are allowed to arrive on the islands, which is why the landscape still looks so pristine.  

Credit: Hurtigruten

Why the Galapagos Islands Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

If you like the idea of going a little off the beaten track for your next vacation, here’s why you should consider the Galapagos Islands.

  • Beautiful white-sand beaches. While the wildlife is one of the main attractions, travelers can also look forward to spending quiet time on the beaches filled with fine, white sand. Simply walking along the beaches is an experience all its own.
  • See what Darwin saw. In 1835, Charles Darwin sailed to the Galapagos Islands for the volcanoes but ended up collecting several Galapagos species for use in his research and to illustrate his controversial theories, which now have a place in natural history.
  • Take a small cruise. The island destination is well known for its small cruises, which can take you to see most of the archipelago’s 18 islands. The best hiking routes are also only accessible by boat.
  • Unique wildlife. The wildlife on the Galapagos Islands is just spectacular. In fact, the islands are home to species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. From 200-year old tortoises and an abundance of fish to huge iguanas and sea lions, travelers can look forward to a unique wildlife experience.
Sea lion underwater San Cristobal Island
  • Stunning views. If photography is your thing, you’re going to love this destination. The stunning views are enough of a reason to visit the Galapagos. The views from the top of the volcanic cone are something else.
  • Snorkeling and diving. Explore some of the most untouched reefs in the world and get up close and personal with the marine life that calls the waters home, including sharks and manta rays.
  • Scenic hikes. Take a hike through a unique landscape that’s filled with beautiful fauna and flora. While you can’t walk on your own, it’s easy to arrange a guided hike with a local.

Galapagos Islands: Quick Travel Tips

Here are a few tips that will help you plan your trip to the Galapagos Islands:

  • Avoid the busy seasons. Summer and the winter holidays are the busiest and most expensive times to travel to the islands.
  • Resources are limited. You are heading to a remote destination so be prepared for certain types of food to run out and for there to be little to no internet access.
  • Do some reading. To really appreciate the wildlife, fauna and flora, do a bit of research on your way to the islands or while you’re there. Otherwise, hire a tour guide if you can.
  • Don’t touch the wildlife. The primary rule in Galapagos is to leave everything as you found it. You also can’t touch the animals.
  • Take a cruise. If your budget allows for it, take a cruise as this is the best way to see as much of the islands as possible during your trip. Some of the best activities are also only accessible via boat.
  • Choose your season. The islands only have two seasons: hot/wet and dry. Hot/wet is from December to May and is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The Dry season is from June to December, is slightly cooler and the marine life is bountiful.
  • Pack strategically. Some of the must-pack items for travelers heading to the islands are reef-safe sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, appropriate clothing for warm/wet weather and an underwater camera.
Christmas Iguana on Espanola Island in Galapagos Islands. Male Marine Iguana with Sally Lightfoot Crabs in background. Amazing animals wildlife and nature on Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, South America.
Animal wildlife nature photographer tourist on Galapagos looking at Galapagos Sea Lion taking photos on Galapagos cruise ship adventure travel holidays vacation, Espanola Island, Ecuador South America
Galapagos prickly pear on Rabida Island in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador. It is endemic to the Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos Islands are spectacular and everyone should experience it at least once in their lives. With a little planning and maybe some extra budgeting, this will definitely be one of your most memorable vacations.