Health is one of our most invaluable goods. Also, one should not take risks on this level! Beyond the traditional advises (check up regular at your doctor, prevention of the diseases, etc.) it is also important to prepare more specifically for a trip in South America. Have an appointment with your attending practitionar and if he is not informed on the subject, do not hesitate to contact a specialist in the infectious diseases and tropical.
As for any travel far from home, ensure that your teeth do not have a weakness and is not likely to betray you ...There is nothing worse than to have to be made tear off a tooth in a foreign country!
Lastly, do not forget to subscribe to a specific insurance which will deal with you in case of problem! It is when a problem occures that one is quite glad to have thought about it!
The yellow fever
The vaccine against the yellow fever is highly advised (regarded as obligatory in certain countries) and must be made in an approved center at least 10 days before the departure. However, there is systematic checking of the vaccination book at the entry in the country only if you come from an infected zone. If you expect to go in the jungle and to live under precarious conditions of hygiene, it is completely essential!
This vaccine cannot be managed with the children below 9 months or the people allergic to eggs. Immunity is 10 years (in theory, but in practices it is in general longer). An international certificate will be given to you during vaccination, it is essential to carry it!
Diphteria, tetanus, polio
These vaccines are not obligatory but are highly advised. Think of making a recall (every 10 years) or of making you vaccinate. Attention, a complete vaccination for tetanus requires three injections (at six weeks and six months) and must thus be made well in time!
The disease is contracted by contaminated food absorbtion. In general food treated under failing conditions of hygiene. CLe vaccine is advised for the prolonged stays. Elementary rules of hygiene will thus enable you to carry out a very good prevention of the disease.
There are several shapes of vaccines against the typhoid, of which oral vaccines for those that the injections reject!
The transmission of the disease is done by oral way, mainly by the contaminated food ingestion. The best prevention is done while being attentive with food, with the quality of water and hygiene in the toilets. The vaccine is recommended for the people not having a natural immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B is a more serious form of the disease. The transmission of the disease is made by sexual or blood way, or upon the use of badly sterilized medical material. The vaccine is also recommended.
A vaccine united against hepatitis A and B currently exists.
The vaccine against cholera is not obligatory and is disadvised because of the side effects it produces and its low effectiveness.
Malaria and paludism
Malaria prevails in Peru. Nevertheless, there is no risk of contamination above 2.000 m of altitude, in the large cities and during the day! The most significant zone is Amazonia. There it is advisable to respect the following precautions:
Food and water
Standard rules apply to the country whose hygiene can be lacking: not to drink not controlled drinks (water out of bottle with sealed capsule), not of ice floes, to avoid the badly cooked crudenesses, meats, etc.
Always envisage a toilet paper reserve, the toilets are not always equipped with it, especially in the public toilets and distant places.
If you have sexual intercourse with foreigners (no import their nationality), use condoms! They will secure you against AIDS, but also against other sexually transmitted diseases.
Most of the Peruvian territory is in high altitude. While travelling, you can be brought to cross areas culminating to more than 4.000 m! It is thus necessary to be careful!
The acute mountain disease (soroche) can appear in various forms, since a simple headache to a pulmonary oedema (fortunately very rare). Some advises thus:
You can also test the local remedies: the sheet of Coke is used since centuries by the inhabitants of the Andean high plateaus!
In case of emergency
Do not wait until it is too late to call a doctor! It is better to lose a day of your travel to take care of yourself than to urgently have to be repatriated because of a health problem.
Envisage an insurance and do not hesitate to use it! The insurances (Europ-Assistance, etc.) have contacts in Peru and can redirect you quickly to a specialist who will help you.
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