Afghanistan is a land-locked country of 18 milion people in south-western Asia covering 653,000 sq. kms of which 75% is mountainous. The largest area is occupied by the sparsely populated central highlands and the volcano-prone northeast. The south-western plateau is arid and virtually uninhabited. The fertile northeast and east are the most densely populated.

The climate is generally semi-arid steppe, with wide regional variations. The summers are warm everywhere, except on the highest peaks. Rain falls mostly during spring and autumn, and winters are generally cold with snow at higher altitudes. Kabul varies between minus 3C in January to 25C in July.

Pre-travel Preparation Will Help Protect Your Health While You Are Away

With varying landscapes and conditions, Afghanistan can place well-meaning travellers at risk of exposure to disease and illness. Consult a travel doctor prior to departure to assess your risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.

Altitude Sickness

Altitude illness affects many travellers visiting mountainous regions or undertaking high altitude treks, in some cases with very serious consequences. Medication can be used to facilitate the process of acclimatisation to the rarefied atmosphere at high altitudes. Before your departure, it is important to discuss your specific risk with a doctor that understands the effects of high altitude travel.

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Safe Eating and Drinking Practices

One of the great pleasures of travel is sampling the local cuisine. However, contaminated food and beverages are a common cause of traveller’s diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal illnesses. Safe eating and drinking practices are essential in minimising your risk of contracting traveller’s diarrhoea.

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Rabies Prevention

Avoid physical contact with all domestic or wild animals in any setting unless you are absolutely certain the animal has been well vaccinated. The need for vigilance, particularly when travelling with children, cannot be understated. If bitten, wash the wound gently but thoroughly with soap and water for at least fifteen minutes.

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