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HEALTH & CARE

PREPARATIONS BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
If sensible precautions are taken by the visitor to Peru, there is no reason why you shouldn't remain as healthy as at home. 

  • Before you travel make sure that you take out good medical insurance. If you plan to under take 'adventures activities' such as rafting, horse riding or paragliding, make sure that your policy covers you. You may have to pay a small surcharge for this.
  • For advice on what immunizations / inoculations that you require we recommend that you try ringing a specialist travel clinic (at least 6 weeks prior to travel). Your own doctor is probably unfamiliar with health in Latin America.

No inoculations are currently required for Peru. However you should consider immunization against the following:- 

  • Typhoid
  • Polio
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis A

If you plan on going into the Peruvian jungle (Iquitos, Manu, Tambopata) then a yellow fever vaccination is recommended. There are still the occasional outbreaks and it is frequently obligatory to show a vaccination certificate when entering the jungle regions. If you don't have a certificate then you will be inoculated on the spot as you get off the plane!
Malaria tablets are also recommended for the jungle, although nearly all of the jungle lodges in the Madre de Dios/Tambopata areas and Manu National Park state that there have been no reported cases of malaria, and that taking anti-malaria tablets are optional.

TIPS ON STAYING HEALTHY WHILST TRAVELLING
The most common problem encountered by the traveller in Peru is diarrhoea (between 30% and 40% of travellers in a 2 week stay experience this to some extent) but the majority of these upsets will be relatively minor. Don't become paranoid; trying the local food is part of the experience of travel.

Tap water in Peru is unsafe to drink. Always purify the water first by boiling it or adding purification tablets such as Micropure which can be easily bought in most pharmacies throughout Peru (make sure that you read the instructions before using them). Bottled mineral water is readily available everywhere.

In most good restaurants, purified water is used to wash fruit, vegetables and salads.

There are good doctors and reasonable hospitals in the major cities, but little in the way of good facilities away from the major centres.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS (SOROCHE)
Some people experience some discomfort at this altitude. We recommend at least a couple of hours of rest prior to the commencement of classes (or any other activity). The symptoms of altitude sickness or soroche are headaches, dizziness, stomach upset and tiredness. These symptoms can be managed by reducing the alcohol intake; drinking lots of fluids (coca tea!); eating light meals and getting plenty of rest.