Health Information for Travelers to Central America
This article will detail some of the health concerns that travelers to Central America and Argentina should be aware of, and prepared for in advance.
Depending on your age, sex, health history, and exactly where you plan on going, your doctor may decide that you, and any children that you are traveling with to Central America should have the following vaccinations:
Make sure to contact your physician well before leaving your home country (say, a couple of months), because other immunizations (such as tetanus or diphtheria) may need to be updated as well.
Visitors to Central America complain more about travelers' diarrhea than any other medical issue. Make sure that you have packed ample anti-diarrhea tablets (such as diphenoxylate) for everyone in your Central America traveling party. Since this ailment is caused by strains of bacteria contaminating food and water, you should avoid drinking tap water, unsealed beverages, and unpasturized milk, and do not eat raw vegetables, ice, or undercooked meat or poultry. If you do succumb to travelers diahrrea and are suffering for more than 2-3 days, visit a Central American doctor immediately.
Malaria is contracted by being bitten by an infected mosquito. If you plan on traveling to a Central American resort, these measures probably aren't necessary. However, for all other travelers to Central America, you'll want to have anti-malarial drugs on hand at all times, and try to reduce the amount of contact you have with mosquitoes, by wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, dark colored clothing, and staying out of high risk rural areas.
If you are taking prescription drugs before your travels to Central America, make sure to pack enough for the entire trip, plus some extra just in case. Label all medications well, and wear a medical alert bracelet with a list of the medications inside (in both English and any other languages used in the area you are traveling to within Central America), just in case something does happen, and you are unable to tell someone.
Check before leaving your home country if your medical insurance will cover any expenses incurred while traveling to Central America. If not, purchasing some extra insurance is a wise decision.
Even if you have recently had a tetanus shot, or have been immunized against rabies, if you are bitten by an animal while traveling to Central America, visit a doctor immediately.
If you are traveling within Central America where insects are a known problem, make sure to carry insect repellant with you at all times. Apply it to both your clothing and skin, and make sure everyone in your party has done the same.
The sun can be extremely brutal for travelers to Central America who aren't used to the heat. Make sure to bring lots of sunscreen, and apply it regularly and well before venturing outside. Also, a hat is recommended to deflect some of the sun's rays.