Healthy Travel Tips For South America

September 4, 2018

The massive continent of South America is not only huge and diverse, but is also considered to be a hotspot as far as potential health hazards are concerned. From accidents on roads to upset stomachs it pays to be cautious and prepared while traveling to Latin America, hence these health tips will come in handy:

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever outbreaks in South America are unpredictable and the Government reacts instantly by ordering mass vaccinations to prevent an outbreak. It is, therefore, advisable to check about the status of this health hazard at your proposed destination and obtain a certificate before hand to avoid any inconvenience. Deaths have been reported in Peru and Brazil in the recent past.


This is again just one of the many diseases caused by insect bites prevailing in South America so adequate precautions need to be taken to avoid any contacts. This problem is more of an issue in the Central and Southern parts, hence a destination check will be of great help. Carry ample quantities of malaria pills, especially when visiting the rural areas.


This is the bane of nearly all visitors traveling to the tropical parts of South America, with the highest hits being recorded in Peru and Mexico. Mainly due to unhygienic food, this nasty type of gastroenteritis can be extremely troublesome, even though the infection burns itself within 48 hours.

These days,  for over the counter treatment, Travelan, is of immense help as it reduces the risk of catching bacteria that cause travelers’ diarrhea, such as ETEC (a nasty form of E.Coli), Shigella, Campylobacter, and Salmonella. The bad news is that a person can get infected even after reaching home. That is why using a natural product like Travelan reduces the risk of catching travelers’ diarrhea, simply by taking one caplet prior to each meal while traveling. Extra caplets may be taken where more protection is deemed necessary. Rather than taking antibiotics once you become infected, Travelan reduces the risk of becoming infected at all.

Environmental Issues

There are several environmental factors one should keep in mind when traveling to South America, like humidity, intense sunlight, or certain allergies which can have an impact on the health of the visitor. As the seasons are opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, the body should be given time to adjust to the changes. Destinations are at different altitudes, so one should initially stay at a place of medium elevation to acclimatize.

Medical Emergencies

Most of the prescription medicines are available across the counter and easily across South America. The public health system too is very sound, both for foreigners and locals, and at a reasonable cost as well. You will need to pay for consultations at all times even if you are having travel insurance, so remember to get receipts or invoices for reimbursement when you return home. Contact your consulate in case of any emergency.

Though South America presents many unique challenges as far as health is concerned, a large number of people travel here without any major problem. Accurate information and planning will help you stay healthy and safe during the trip.

This post is written in collaboration with Travelan.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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