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Punta Cana Health Concerns

If you pay attention to a few of the common Punta Cana health concerns, there is no reason to get sick on your vacation to Punta Cana! With a few common sense strategies you can avoid ruining your trip.

Travelers' diarrhea

The number one Punta Cana health concern is definitely traveler's diarrhea. This common vacation health problem has less to do with Punta Cana than it does with over-indulging at all-inclusive resorts. Traveler's systems tend to be fatigued from traveling and changes to sleep schedules - combine this with too much alcohol and different foods than you're used to and whammo - you're sick!

Usually this common ailment can be cured with a couple days of taking it easy and drinking lots of water. if it does persist, see the doctor at the resort. Bringing "immodium" with you on your trip is always a good idea, nothing cures funny bum faster. TIP: if you don't use the immodium, leaving it with someone there is a good idea as it tends to raise some flags with the occasional Customs Official (apparently drug swallowers use it so that they won't go to the bathroom before getting home).

Drinking water in Punta Cana

Drinking water: Do not drink the tap water in Punta Cana, it's not treated and can make you sick. Most resorts fill your room with bottled water every day. If they don't, buy a few bottles and carry them around with you. Contrary to what many people will tell you, the ice machines and water from the fountain machines at the bars is filtered and is perfectly safe.

Malaria in Punta Cana: Punta Cana health concerns and mosquitoes

There have been a few outbreaks of malaria in Punta Cana over the past few years, with 21 cases reported in 2005. The risk of malaria in the Dominican Republic is low; the highest risk areas being along the border with Haiti. The risk of contracting malaria in Punta Cana has always been extremely low and the sporadic cases have probably been due to migrant workers coming from other parts of the country. While 2005 saw 21 cases, there were hundreds of thousands of visitors to Punta Cana that year - the chances of contracting malaria in Punta Cana are very slim.

The World Health Organization claims that the risk is not high enough to warrant taking anti-malarial drugs before or during your stay to Punta Cana. However, if you do get a fever within a couple months after your visit to Punta Cana - see your doctor immediately. If you do have malaria, a dose of chloroquine should clear it up within a few days.

The Public Health Agency of Canada does suggest taking anti-malaria prophylaxis before and after your trip to Punta Cana. There are definitely some conflicting opinions, so you'll have to make up your own mind. We've never taken any anti-malaria medication and probably won't in the future.

No matter what you decide, you should definitely bring mosquito repellent (with DEET) for the evenings and try to get as few bites as possible. We've never had a problem with kids and mosquitos in Punta Cana, there are never any on the beach because of the constant onshore breeze - you'll really only notice them at night (if at all).

Swimming in Punta Cana

Swimming in fresh water ponds or lakes is not a good idea anywhere in the Caribbean because of schistosomiasis causing parasites. Most Punta Cana health concerns can be somehow linked to parasites growing in warm Caribbean water - if you can't drink it don't swim in it!

Medical attention in Punta Cana

Make sure you have medical insurance as doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment. While the private health care is generally quite good, prescription drugs are EXTREMELY expensive. If there is any medicine that you take regularly, bring it with you.

There is a 911 service in Punta Cana for medical emergencies, so if you're in trouble pick up the phone.

Most hotels have a doctor on call so you can enquire at the front desk about appointments or other Punta Cana health concerns.

There is a hospital in Punta Cana that is about 20 minutes from most hotels.

Sun: surprising Punta Cana health concerns

People who are not used to being in the sun all day can develop a rash - a type of allergy to the sun. Get in the shade for awhile and wear lots of sunscreen and it should go away. If the rash persists for more than a day or so you should see the doctor at the resort.

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