Just curious what "shots" North Americans travelling to Costa Rica and/or Osa region get/don't get
After 10 years of traveling to CR, several times a year for the last few years, my doctor advised a Hep A. I got one even though we (husband, kids, friends) drink the water straight out of the tap, and ask for ice, even in the smallest towns and most casual sodas/cafes, and have never been sick. We always eat ceviche, and since sushi has become more available, we've been eating that too.
You should do what you need to feel comfortable and protect yourself and your family as you see fit, but Costa Rica doesn't have water problems like Mexico and certain other Central American countries.
One thing you should be careful about, depending on where and the time of the year you are visiting, is that dengue has been a problem in some areas... again, not in the numbers reported in Mexico or Venezuela, but you should be aware and consider using repellent when the dengue mosquitos are out (daytime/rainy season).
What is dengue and what are the best repellants to use? Thanks,Foss
Dengue fever was a real problem last year on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, and if I remember correctly from the news reports, also in Paraguay, Brazil and Puerto Rico. In Costa Rica during the last rainy season (Oct and Nov 07) there were cases of dengue in the Guanacaste and Limon areas. In Tamarindo and surrounds, a strong program was put in place to get rid of standing water and mosquitos, so I think there ended up being only one or two cases of dengue in that town. So again, worrying about it depends on where you are traveling and when.
Dengue is contracted by daytime mosquitos. It flares up in the wet season because standing water promotes breeding. It is called "break-bone" fever because of the achiness that accompanies a fever. The first time you get it, it is a fever and such, but second time, very dangerous. Anyway, I know very little about all this - you can get information on the internet (www.cdc.gov/travel, for example).
The way to prevent it personally is to keep daytime mosquitos away, being especially careful at dawn and dusk. I find that we get the most bites after swimming, so we use a sunscreen with insect repellent in it, and have reduced the number of bites significantly. During the dry season, mosquitos are not really a problem in most areas (and we've found that the mosquito situation overall is more like Hawaii than Mexico -- not so bad).
We are travelling in the end of March 2008 to CR as a University of Washington patient we were sent to their tropical diseease department and given the following shots:
Hepititas A and B
We were told maleria was not an issue unless we were going to the southern carribean area or the far northern Pacific area, we are not.
Recommended bug spray
Thats it !
Before traveling to Peru back in 2004 I went ahead and had the Hep A and B series of shots. Also I had typhoid, polio and tetnus boosters as well. According to the doctor at my clinic, many children from my era (born in the early 70s) only received one polio vaccination however two are needed to give you lifetime immunity.
Anyway, the polio vaccination is free in the state of Tennessee along with tetnus at state run health care facilities so I went ahead and got them.
Regarding ceviche, I eat the hell out of it every time I am in Peru; it is one of my all time favorite dishes...can't get enough. I have never had any problems from it however YMMV.
I've had dengue. It's spread by a certain type of mosquito. The risk is higher in densely-populated areas since the mosquito has to come in contact with a sick person to spread it.
I caught it in the Caribbean islands and started feeling sick the last day of my visit. By the time I got home, I was running a really high fever. I was in bed for almost two weeks. It was basically like a really, really bad flu.
I subsequently lived in the islands for almost a decade and never got it again. It's a risk but it's still quite rare, especially among tourists (because of minimal contact with local residents who have a higher potential for exposure.)
The only precaution you can take is to use good mosquito repellent.
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