Common Skin Conditions in Travellers and What to Do About Them

With the loosening of restrictions in many countries and areas across the globe, travel is starting to increase again for both business and pleasure, and along with it a likely increase in some of the common skin conditions associated with this travel. The CDC rates skin conditions as the third most common ailment affecting travellers, behind only gastrointestinal illnesses and fevers.

Depending on where you’re travelling to, your chances of picking up a skin condition that is unique to travelling. Let’s have a look at some of the common skin conditions you might pick up and what to do about them.

Lyme Disease


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by a bite from an infected tick. The first signs of infection are a small, red bump that looks very much like a mosquito bite, which is indicative of the tick bite itself. The actual Lyme disease symptoms appear after a few days and include an expanding red rash area that is clear in the centre. It can grow as big as 30cm in size. While not everyone experiences the rash, some experience it in more than one place on their body. The symptoms of Lyme disease can last for years and include joint pain and even some neurological disorders. Some celebrities like Justin Bieber are famous sufferers of prolonged Lyme disease.

If you suspect you may have Lyme disease, it is vital to see a medical professional as treatment included antibiotics and in some severe cases, these might be delivered intravenously.


Another insect-related infection is scabies, which is caused by a mite, which can live on your skin and even burrow into it to lay eggs, which is what causes the itchy, red rash we associate with scabies. Patient can provide a lot of good information on scabies that has been scientifically verified, along with many other medical and health-related information that you might need. Scabies is highly contagious, and you can catch them through direct skin contact, or by sharing bedding or clothing.

Scabies is treated with prescription ointments and creams, as well as some oral medications. If you suspect you have scabies, you should visit a medical professional who can confirm it and prescribe these medications.

Dengue Fever

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Mosquitos, particularly in third world nations, are responsible for a lot of medical conditions, and dengue fever is one of these. While there is a vaccine available and recommended to those who have previously had dengue fever, it’s not suitable as a preventative measure for travel.

Most people who catch dengue fever are asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms like a headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. Recovery takes about a week but severe cases do happen and can become life-threatening.

There isn’t much treatment available for dengue fever, and the treatment that is undertaken is supportive and addresses symptoms. Medical assistance is strongly recommended.

These are just three of many skin conditions that you might experience while travelling and familiarising yourself with these and other conditions that are prevalent in the area you are travelling to before you leave is a good idea.

Simone Ribeiro
Hi! I'm Simone, a citizen of Britain, where I live for over a decade, and of Brazil, where I was born. Midlands Traveller is where I combine my passion for travelling, business and an Eco-friendly lifestyle.