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Before You Go: Traveler Healthcare in Belize

Travel health insurance recommended

Belize‘s medical facilities range from fairly basic in Belize City, to limited or nonexistent in rural areas. Check that you have a travel insurance policy that covers medical evacuation in case you may need specialized or prolonged treatment.

Malaria: If you’re traveling outside of Belize City, be sure to consult with a doctor about anti-malarials before you leave. You should also pack mosquito netting, full-coverage clothing and footwear, as well as mosquito repellent that contains at least 35% DEET. You may also want to stay indoors during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

Malaria is a parasitic infection caused by mosquito bites. Symptoms of malaria include fever, vomiting, headaches and fatigue. Malaria is not contagious.

Most anti-malarials must be taken at least 1-2 days before you depart. No anti-malarial drug is 100% effective, so you should still protect yourself from mosquitoes.

Zika Virus: If you‘ll be visiting a region at risk for the Zika virus, you should limit your risk of Zika virus-causing mosquito bites by packing mosquito netting, full-coverage clothing and footwear, as well as mosquito repellent that contains at least 35% DEET. You should also practice safe sex if having sex with a new partner.

The Zika virus is a mild form of Dengue fever, and though the Zika virus doesn’t typically cause any symptoms, it can cause birth defects. At the time of posting, there is no commercially available vaccination for the Zika virus. The Zika virus is caused by mosquito bites and can be spread through sex.

Dengue Fever & Chikungunya: If you‘re traveling during the wet season of April to November, take precautions against bites by packing mosquito netting, full-coverage clothing and footwear, as well as mosquito repellent that contains at least 35% DEET.

Dengue fever and chikungunya are viral infections. Symptoms of Dengue fever include headaches, fever, a skin rash, vomiting, and joint and muscle pain.

Common symptoms of chikungunya include fever and joint pain, as well as headaches, muscle pain and a rash.

At the time of posting, there’s no commercially available vaccination against either Dengue fever or chikungunya. Neither Dengue fever nor chikungunya are contagious.

Chagas‘ Disease: You are unlikely to contract Chagas disease, particularly if you stay in urban areas and rural accommodations with satisfactory sanitation conditions. Chagas disease is a parasitic infection caused by triatomine bugs, or kissing bugs.

Most people don’t develop immediate symptoms, but those who do may experience a fever, fatigue, headaches, body and muscle aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Sand Fly Fever: Sand Fly Fever, or leishmaniasis, is prevalent in Morocco. Sand Fly Fever is a parasitic infection transmitted by sand fly bites. Symptoms include sores and a fever.

You can help to protect yourself by staying in well-screened or air conditioned rooms from dusk until dawn, when the sand flies are most active. You can also wear long pants, shirts and socks, and use an insect repellent containing DEET.

If you’re bringing prescription medications:
  1. Check to see if there are restrictions on your medication in your destination country, especially if the medication contains narcotics, amphetamines or other often controlled substances
  2. Bring medications in their original, labeled container. Never carry loose medication
  3. Include your dated prescription signed by your doctor, certifying the condition the medications are prescribed for, dosages and their generic drug names. Ensure the name on the prescription, container and your passport all match.
  4. If you need syringes or needles, your doctor includes their need on the prescription.
  5. Before you leave, find out how you can legally access medications in the case of loss, theft or emergency – even OTC medication may require documentation from your doctor. Never have controlled substances mailed to you
  6. If legal, consider bring a second container of any essential medications, in case one is lost or stolen. Pack the primary bottle in your carry on, and the second one in another location. Personal-use quantity restrictions may limit you to 30-or 90-day supplies
Travel Health Insurance Checklist:
  1. Investigate travel health insurance options
  2. Be sure the plan includes any pre-existing conditions you have, and be sure to declare them before you go
  3. See if you need an “Extreme Sports” add-on policy if you’re planning activities like scuba diving or spelunking
  4. Find out the payment or reimbursement process and 24-hour emergency coverage contact