Treatment of yellow fever
There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. However, the symptoms of yellow fever can be treated. This will help you to feel more comfortable. If you become seriously ill with yellow fever, then you may need intensive care to help you recover.
The availability and use of different treatments may vary from country to country, Ask your doctor for advice on your treatment options.
If you need pain relief, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.
You should rest and drink enough fluids to prevent you from becoming dehydrated - usually six to eight glasses a day.
If you recover from yellow fever, you will be immune to the virus for the rest of your life.
Prevention of yellow fever
You can prevent yellow fever by being vaccinated against the disease and by protecting yourself from mosquito bites.
An effective vaccine is available for yellow fever. You need to have the vaccine at least 10 days before you travel to a country where there is yellow fever. This gives your body time to build up immunity to the disease. The vaccine can be given at the same time as any other vaccinations you may need. Some people have a fever after having the vaccine, which may be accompanied by some flu-like symptoms. However, these symptoms only last for a few days after the vaccination.
The vaccine is given as a single injection. Almost everyone who has the vaccine will become immune to yellow fever. The vaccine will give you protection for at least 10 years, possibly the rest of your life. However, if after 10 years you're still travelling or living in an area where there is yellow fever, you should have a booster vaccination.
You will be given an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) which becomes valid 10 days after your injection and will need updating every 10 years. You may be asked to show your ICVP before you're allowed to enter certain countries and when you travel from a country with yellow fever to one without it. This is to prevent yellow fever from spreading.
Protection from mosquito bites
Most mosquitoes are active between dusk and dawn, but the mosquitoes that spread the yellow fever virus are active during the daytime. This means that you may get bitten during the day. There are many things that you can do to protect yourself from mosquitoes and prevent getting bitten. Some of the main ones are listed below.
- Don't go into areas where there are a lot of mosquitoes, especially at times when they are active.
- Use an insect repellent that contains DEET and put it on any exposed areas of skin. Reapply it every few hours, particularly in hot and humid places where you’re sweating or after you have been swimming. Make sure you use insect repellent over any sunscreen. Don't spray it directly into your face, especially your lips or eyes.
- Wear loose fitting clothes (mosquitoes can bite through tight clothes).
Even if you have had the yellow fever vaccination, it's important to protect yourself against mosquito bites.