Wednesday, November 06, 2019

How to stay healthy while traveling in South America

Staying healthy when you travel can be a challenge. It does not matter where you are traveling. It’s easy to be exposed to bugs or parasites, which can either leave you with a mildly upset stomach or send you to the hospital. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to stay healthy.
Fight off Mosquitoes

There are number of countries in South America that are known for infected mosquitoes. Serious diseases such as dengue, malaria, and chikungunya have been reported throughout South America. You can protect yourself from bites by wearing lightweight long-sleeve shirts and pants. Purchase strong repellent from a neighborhood pharmacy.

At night, use a mosquito net. They serve as a mechanical barrier to keep mosquitoes away from you. If you are in a climate controlled area, keep the doors closed, keep the windows closed, and keep the mosquitoes out.

Stay Healthy by Being Careful with the Water

The most common reason why travelers in South America get sick is because they are exposed to contaminated water. Contaminated local tap water in South America allows bacteria and parasites into your body. Residents of the country where you are visiting have developed immunity to many of these parasites and bacteria. You have not. Nothing can ruin your trip more than having terrible stomach cramps and diarrhea.

When traveling through Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, it’s recommended that you buy bottled water or that you carry a portable water purifier with you. There are a number of high quality water purifiers that can get rid of contaminants, making it safe to drink.

Another word of caution is to avoid ice cubes and vegetables that have been washed with tap water. The contaminants in the ice or in the water used to wash the vegetables can get you sick.

Argentina is one of the more developed countries in South America, so the drinking water is safe. It might have a strong chlorine taste, but that’s not going to harm you.

Bolivia, on the other hand, has contaminated drinking water, even if you are in major cities. You should not even use it to brush your teeth. Thankfully, bottled water is available and you can easily purchase it.

Columbia has safe water in large cities. However, if you are going to rural areas or tourist areas outside of the city, we recommend that you purchase bottled water.

If you do find yourself seriously ill because of contaminated water, there are a number of private hospitals in countries such as Colombia that may be able to provide you with a good level of care. Private hospitals will require you to pay out-of-pocket. If you did not bring enough money with you on the trip, you may need to look into effective ways to send money to Colombia from the US to cover your hospital stay. It is usually better to avoid these circumstances and just be careful with the drinking water.

Protect Yourself from Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can either be simple and annoying or can be a life-threatening illness. Altitude sickness is commonly seen at 8,200 feet or more above sea level. You are more prone to get altitude sickness if you ascend quickly, like if you step off of a plane that lands in a high altitude area, if you hike quickly, or if you travel by car. The best way to protect yourself from altitude sickness is to ascend slowly. If you get altitude sickness, the best cure is to slowly descend the elevated area.

South America has a number of beautiful countries that include vibrant people, delicious food, and energetic cultures. There is a reason why millions of people visit South America every single year. If you go, taking a few precautions can help keep you healthy so that you can enjoy your trip.

This is a guest blog entry

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