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Health Risks of Traveling to Punta Cana: Know Before You Go

Doctor instruments

As with any travel outside of the United States, travelers should plan far enough in advance to do proper research on what vaccinations or health risks they should be aware of prior to leaving the country.

When traveling to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republican, there are prevalent health risks that a traveler should take steps to prevent prior to leaving the country. Some of these actions include working with a provider to update vaccines or taking malaria tablets while staying in Punta Cana.

Suggested Common Vaccinations

Prior to leaving, travelers should be up to date on all of the routine vaccinations that are required in their country of origin. In addition to this, there are some vaccines that should be considered based on the purpose of the trip.

For most visitors, it is recommended that they receive the Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations. As there can be the risk of contaminated food and water in the region, these vaccinations will help mitigate some of the commonly found diseases that result from contamination.

It is essential to consult with a medical provider prior to travel regarding what vaccinations are most appropriate.

Other Suggested Vaccinations

Vaccination papers

In addition to Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations, there are a few other vaccinations that should be discussed with a provider. Hepatitis B is a vaccination typically given to children shortly after birth, however as it was not available prior to the 1980s, some travelers may not have received this vaccine.

If planning on spending a lot of time outdoors, a provider may also discuss the possibility of applying the rabies vaccine.

Dogs in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic, as in any part of the world, can be carriers of rabies, and the vaccine for prevention can help mitigate some of the risks if encountering stray dogs.

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

In the tropics, mosquitoes are a common vector of disease. One of the most common diseases they transfer to humans is malaria (although not common in the Dominican Republic). It is suggested that depending on the amount of time spent outdoors, travelers should consider taking malaria tablets to prevent infection before, during, and after their trip to Punta Cana.

There may be side effects with the tablets, so again a thorough discussion about the risks and advantages of taking prescription malaria medication should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Mosquito

Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Yellow Fever may also be present in Punta Cana at the time of travel, and not all of these diseases are preventable through a vaccine or medication. Yellow Fever has a current vaccine available, however, Zika has no known vaccine at this time.

Protective steps should be taken to prevent mosquito bites while visiting Punta Cana, such as limiting time outside during their peak activity and wearing personal protective equipment.

As with anything, it is best to discuss the most appropriate vaccines and precautions to take with a medical provider. They will be able to provide the most up to date information regarding vaccines and medical risks while traveling.

In addition, the Department of State and C.D.C  websites offer travelers a great resource of information on what to know before traveling outside of the country. These departments both provide a wealth of information regarding health and safety that should be reviewed prior to traveling.

Taking preventative measures can save on medical bills and discomfort.

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