Medical Information – South American Region
Be sure to discuss your upcoming travels with your physician to make sure you are physically fit and to receive medical advice specific to your health concerns. Below is some information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding vaccinations and malaria prevention.
To find a travel clinic for inoculations, go to http://www.cdc.gov/travel/contentTravelClinics.aspx. See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.
If you plan to travel to the rainforest, a Yellow Fever vaccination is strongly recommended. No specific vaccinations are required for visiting Peru or Ecuador (unless you are coming from an endemic area for Yellow Fever). However, we strongly encourage you to consult with your physician, travel clinic and the CDC website www.cdc.gov/travel/tropsam.htm#vaccines for recommendations on health issues in each region.
The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Tropical South America. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
- Hepatitis B
- Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals or if you might have extensive outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling.
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults.
- Yellow Fever
Most likely your itinerary will not include visits to high-risk areas in these countries but for more information from the CDC, check out http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/
We recommend you to drink only bottled or previously boiled water and to bring a water bottle, especially if you will be traveling outside of the larger cities. To prevent dehydration, especially in the mountains, it is recommended to drink three liters of liquids daily – water, tea or sodas.
Altitude Sickness (soroche)
Travelers with heart conditions or high blood pressure should check with their doctors before traveling to high altitudes. Altitude sickness begins affecting people who quickly ascend to altitudes over 2,500m / 8,100 ft. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and loss of appetite. Risk of altitude sickness increases with higher altitudes, faster ascents more physical exertion and severe cases include fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) or swelling of the brain (high-altitude cerebral edema) and can only be treated by descending immediately. Being physically fit does not necessarily mean you are free from risk of altitude sickness. To help prevent altitude sickness the best measure is to acclimatize for at least two days with limited activity, eat light meals, drink lots of water and abstain from alcohol.
Please review the CDC’s information about other health related issues for traveling to this region at: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationList.aspx and http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentVaccinations.aspx
Information obtained from www.cdc.gov. See website for more details.