Microsoft word - health information for guatemala travelers (2)
Health Information for Travelers in Guatemala
I recommend that pertinent portions of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website be reviewed. See http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/guatemala. This is excellent material. The following represents my capsule summary of that material.
a. Be sure you are in good health; see your personal physician prior to the
trip if you have significant medical problems, or if you have concerns.
b. Take all your prescription medications with you. c. Fill out the forms for PWNC, including health information. Someone on
the trip will have this information for all team members in case it is needed in Guatemala.
d. Carry your health insurance card or a copy with you.
a. Be sure you are up to date with tetanus, measles, and polio immunizations.
It is advisable to be immunized against Hepatitis A and B.
a. Typhoid immunization is recommended, although few take advantage of it
in my experience. Injectable vaccine should be available in your local health departments. Oral vaccine is more expensive, but has less frequent side effects, and can be prescribed by your physician.
a. Preventive medicine for malaria is very important; chloroquine is the most
commonly used. You’ll need a prescription for malaria medicine from your physician. Take 500 mg weekly, starting a week before the trip and continuing until you’ve been home for 4 weeks. Other medicines are available, are more expensive, and have no benefits in Guatemala unless you are unable to take chloroquine.
b. Mosquito repellant (30-50% DEET – see CDC site) and use of protective
clothing is important, especially in certain parts of the country at certain times of the year. Chloroquine is not 100% effective for malaria prevention, and mosquitoes cause other diseases besides malaria. (See below “Prevent Bug Bites”)
c. Use caution when drinking liquids, and eating certain foods (See below
“Eat and Drink Safely”.) Traveler’s diarrhea is common, and typically responds to Imodium (for symptom relief) and Cipro 500 mg twice daily for 3 days (for control of the infection.) The team will have a medical kit on the trip which will include these medicines.
d. Safety and injury prevention is important. Conditions are unfamiliar, and
we are prone in Guatemala to any injury or illness that we could encounter here in the US.
5. If you have other questions, contact your personal physician, check the CDC site,
Doug Michael, MD 828-465-0335 (home) [email protected]
The following information is edited from the CDC (Center for
Eat and drink safely
Unclean food and water can cause travelers' diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits.
• Food that is cooked and served hot • Hard-cooked eggs • Fruits and vegetables you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself • Pasteurized dairy products
• Food served at room temperature • Food from street vendors • Raw or soft-cooked (runny) eggs • Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish • Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables • Unpasteurized dairy products • ”Bushmeat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)
• Bottled water that is sealed • Water that has been disinfected • Ice made with bottled or disinfected water • Carbonated drinks • Hot coffee or tea • Pasteurized milk
• Tap or well water • Ice made with tap or well water • Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice) • Unpasteurized milk
Talk with your doctor about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs with you on your trip in case you get sick.
Prevent bug bites
Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Guatemala. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.
What can I do to prevent bug bites?
• Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats. • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below). • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents).
use permethrin directly on skin.
• Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms. • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
What type of insect repellent should I use?
• FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES:
repellent that contains 20% or more DEET
for protection that lasts up to several
• FOR PROTECTION AGAINST MOSQUITOES ONLY:
Products with one
of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
(also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
• Always use insect repellent as directed.
What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?
• Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to
• Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks
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