Tips to prevent illness in the Dominican Republic and Punta Cana (2023)

Imagine that you save for a whole year to travel and go on a well-deserved vacation, plan for a long time the activities and places you are going to visit, but when you finally arrive at the desired destination, you get sick and everything suddenly falls apart.

Getting sick while traveling is every traveler's nightmare and something they are inevitably exposed to due to multiple factors. There are risk factors for disease that are beyond our control and can be avoided by taking proper precautions.

Related to this topic, I will give you some tips to avoid getting sick during your trip to the Dominican Republic and Punta Cana.



Tips to avoid illness while traveling to the Dominican Republic and Punta Cana

Many of these tips may seem superfluous and common sense, but the truth is that there are still people who ignore them, the cause of motion sickness is almost always the stomach.

Whether it was an upset stomach or traveller's diarrhoea, I had previous experience traveling to South America where I almost ruined the experience by being careless with the food, I learned my lesson.

La Caleta Beach Dominican Republic

The most advice I can give you is a compilation of personal experiences and experiences of other tourists.

  • Avoid visiting the poor areas and neighborhoods of the capital Santo Domingo and the border areas with Haiti, and if you do, be extremely careful about your water and food consumption.
  • Do not drink water from the tap, try to keep your mouth shut while showering.
  • Wash your hands before eating every time.
  • Try to eat fruits that can be peeled and always wash fruits with bottled water before eating.
  • Do not brush your teeth with tap water.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Take an anti-anxiety medication every day, such as Pepto-Bismol.
  • Be careful about eating raw lettuce and uncooked foods.
  • Be careful with drinks containing coconut, coconut is a natural laxative.
  • Bring some of the best pills you can find locally to control diarrhea.
  • Do not trust or feed stray dogs, a bite can make you furious.
  • Avoid street food.
  • Use insect repellent and clothing that protects you from bites.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure for too long to prevent sun poisoning.

Avoid drinking sea water in the Dominican Republic

If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, you will most likely enjoy swimming at its beautiful beaches. Be careful not to drink seawater as it can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal problems.

if you come with children, also instruct them not to drink seawater.

Seawater is not purified, it is likely contaminated with germs or bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal problems.

The allowed salt content in our body is 9, which represents the amount of salt in our body fluids. For every 1000 grams of liquid there are 9 salt and 991 water. These fluids are considered isotonic, while sea water is hypertonic because it contains more salt than human blood and its salinity is 35.

The high salt concentration in seawater means that when we drink it, our kidneys are activated to filter and remove excess sodium through the urine.

This means you end up losing more water than you could drink, with the risk of dehydration that comes with it.

In addition to germs and bacteria, seawater is often contaminated with multiple compounds, such as the remains of creams and sunscreen.

Factors to consider before traveling to the Dominican Republic

Four main features of illness are common among tourists visiting tropical countries, travelers with fever, travelers with diarrhea, travelers with respiratory problems and finally travelers with skin problems.

Knowing this, you need to know exactly what your itinerary is, which city in the Dominican Republic you are going to, tropical diseases vary depending on which part of the country you are visiting.

It is also very important to know what time of year you are traveling, be it the rainy season or the dry season, in rainy periods there is an increased proliferation of mosquitoes, and thus the risk of contracting disease from mosquito bites .

What diseases are common in the Dominican Republic?

In the Dominican Republic, there are common diseases, others are less common, and others are common. It is very important that you understand all diseases and the risk of contracting them, even if it is minimal.

Vector-borne diseases in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic's insular status, including its warm climate, makes it a target for tropical diseases, especially those transmitted by mosquito bites (vector pains). This is the case withDengue, Zika-virus, Chikungunya and malaria, those are the ones with the most cases.

Cholera and lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasisare the second tropical diseases with the highest incidence in the country, for cholera the cumulative incidence for this disease in the Dominican Republic is 0.22 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Filariasisis very common in the southern part of the Dominican Republic and some districts of Santo Domingo. According to the World Health Organization (WHO/PAHO), it is a human infection caused by the transmission of parasites called filaria through mosquitoes.

Filariasisit is not an epidemic disease and does not cause an outbreak for every thousand infected people who could get the disease.

In the Dominican Republic,Dengue is endemici Occurs with greater intensity between the months of June and October, rainy season, dengue fever. It is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes vector mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti.

The infection causes flu-like syndromes and sometimes progresses to a life-threatening condition called severe dengue or dengue hemorrhage.

Malaria is endemicin the country, and the causative agent in all cases is Plasmodium falciparum, sensitive to chloroquine treatment. Cases were mainly registered in the rural population (75%) and the marginal urban population.

Chikungunyais a virus that, when infecting humans, causes a high temperature accompanied by severe pain in the joints (knuckles), especially the hands, knees, and feet. There are also backaches, headaches and muscle aches. After a few days, a rash may appear that causes severe itching.

ChikungunyaIt is not an endemic disease of the Dominican Republic, as the first cases were confirmed in the municipalities of Nigua and Haina in the province of San Cristobal, the chikungunya virus is believed to have arrived through the port of Haina, the country's main commercial port .

I remember in 2014 there was a major outbreak of Chinkungunya in the Dominican Republic, everyone I know in the city, including my family, got sick. Fortunately, I did not get sick and from that date to this day I have not seen a recurrence of this disease in the country.

Zikatransmitted by the mosquito "Aedes aegypti", which is also the vector for dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Zika is not usually a fatal disease, but its incidence in pregnant women during the first three months of pregnancy has been associated with cases of microcephaly. Symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain, malaise, and conjunctivitis.

Waterborne and Foodborne Diseases in the Dominican Republic

traveler's diarrhea,Gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection manifested by diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and is one of the main tourism diseases in the Dominican Republic, and the occurrence of gastroenteritis has two causes.

One is due to the dietary changes faced by tourists when they come to the country, a common and not exclusive evil of the country known as "traveler's diarrhea".

Another origin confirmed by the doctors is the bad manipulation of the food given from the same hotels where the visitors are staying.

Hepatitis A, is usually acquired through ingestion of contaminated food or water and usually causes epidemic "outbreaks" that can affect the entire population, including children and the elderly, who are most susceptible and whose cases are the most complex.

typhoid fever, a disease that is permanently present in the poor population in countries with medium, low and very low human development, is caused by the consumption of food or beverages contaminated with Salmonella typhi, a microbe that affects humans.

boosis an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The most common form of infection is drinking water or eating food contaminated with human feces. It is not usually passed from person to person.

The main outbreaks are usually caused by water sources contaminated with fecal waste.

Leptospirosisis a bacterial disease that varies from an asymptomatic form through a mild febrile state to a deadly fulminating form. It is transmitted by contact of the skin (particularly if peeled) or mucous membrane, with water, moist soil or vegetation contaminated by the urine of infected animals.

Other common diseases

VIH – SIDA. Well, this disease doesn't need much explaining. According to statistics from the National Council on HIV and AIDS in the Dominican Republic, recently 47.83% of new people infected with HIV Haitian immigrants, gay and transgender people account for 29.94% of new cases, while sex workers account for 10, being 69%.

Tuberculosisis caused by a bacteria that affects the lungs, which is curable, is spread through the air from person to person.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Sick in the Dominican Republic

Can you drink the water in the Dominican Republic?

Tap water is not safe to drink in the Dominican Republic, it is recommended to always drink bottled water, hotels and resorts always have bottled water in stock.

Is the Zika virus in Punta Cana?

There are currently no confirmed reports of Zika virus outbreaks in the Dominican Republic and the Punta Cana area. While there have been no Zika cases in the Dominican Republic in epidemiological reports for the past two years, the risk of infection is still present in some countries. parts of the country, but is steadily declining.

Can you brush your teeth with tap water in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, you can brush your teeth with tap water in the Dominican Republic, as long as you don't drink it, it is recommended to brush your teeth with bottled water, bottled water is very cheap and readily available in hotels, resorts and shops in the Dominican Republic .

Can you eat salad in Punta Cana?

You can eat salad in Punta Cana, in hotels, resorts and restaurants where they have kitchens operated and equipped by professional staff, where food is handled with strict food safety measures. Be careful about consuming salads in other types of establishments.

Are there venomous animals in the Dominican Republic?

There are no poisonous animals in the Dominican Republic, at least not poisonous enough to endanger human life, the only risk is getting an allergy from insect bites or skin breaks.

I have written a full and detailed article about it that you may want to read.

Are there many mosquitoes in the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic, as a tropical island with a warm and humid climate all year round, is the focus of the development of a large number of mosquitoes, although mosquitoes are more common in the summer months, in rainy and wooded areas, and not all mosquitoes are the source of disease.

What vaccinations are required to travel to the Dominican Republic?

To travel to the Dominican Republic it is not mandatory to be vaccinated, you will not be prevented from entering the country because you are not vaccinated, at certain times a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for some specific regions of Brazil and endemic areas .

What exists are vaccine recommendations in a general sense and vaccines depending on special situations according to the characteristics of the trip.

Commonly Recommended Vaccines: Hepatitis A, Tetanus Diphtheria/Tetanus Diphtheria Whooping Cough, Triple Vírica.

Vaccines recommended in special situations: hepatitis B, flu, pneumococcal infection, rabies, cholera, typhoid.

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